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Traumatized Vets Could Get Alternative Sentences (Jan 18, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Representative John Bennett plans to file legislation that would allow veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury to receive treatment in an alternative sentencing program if they’re convicted of a crime.

The Sallisaw Republican said his measure would allow a judge to send a military veteran to the Department of Veterans Affairs for treatment if diagnosed, service-related PTSD or TBI was a contributing factor in the crime.

“In most cases it leads to some sort of criminal activity,” Bennett said. “They self medicate with drugs or alcohol to get rid of the dreams or to help themselves sleep, or there’s so many other issues and diagnosis they get with these things. We’re just trying to help tem out and get back upon their feet.”

Bennett served as a Marine in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and in 2008 established a veteran’s court for service members accused of misdemeanors stemming from P-T-S-D-related drug or alcohol addiction.

The legislation he plans to file January 20th would extend the alternative sentencing program to include certain felony crimes.

-from Staff Reports

 



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