Connecticut veterans accused of less serious crimes could get a break from the state’s judicial system under a program aimed at treating them instead of prosecuting them.
Under the initiative, state veterans arrested on charges like driving under the influence or breach of peace will be allowed to use the Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR) program twice when they are accused of less serious crimes. Under AR low-risk criminal defendants can avoid prosecution one time by enrolling in treatment.
Allowing state veterans to use it twice is an effort to recognize that many suffer from disorders that could have resulted from their war service, including multiple deployments to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, state officials say.
“Given the high incidence of …. stress that our veterans are experiencing, we’re concerned that their first introduction to the mental health system should come before incarceration, where possible,” Margaret Middleton, director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, told the Hartford Courant. The center worked with Yale Law School on the new initiative.