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For Immediate Release
Baltimore City District Court Expands Veterans Treatment Docket
(BALTIMORE, Md. – November 10, 2015) –The District Court in Baltimore City is expanding its docket in order to increase the number of veterans served by the court. On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the District Court Veterans Treatment Docket will begin offering two full-day dockets a month. Originally offering two afternoon dockets a month, the full-day expansion will accommodate the growing interest in veteran-specific rehabilitation.
The Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Docket is a court supervised, comprehensive, and voluntary treatment-based program for former military service members charged with misdemeanors or certain felonies in the District Court. The docket emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration, similar to a drug court or a mental health court.
“Since the soft launch in September, we have had 42 veterans scheduled on the Veterans Docket for screenings and assessments,” said Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Docket Presiding Judge Halee F. Weinstein. “The success and expansion of the program would not be possible without the collaboration and support of all of our justice partners, including the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, the Veterans Administration Maryland Health Care System, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.”
“When we launched in September we had just one veteran participant,” said Judge John P. Morrissey, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. “A month later, we have already exceeded our expectations. This response is a testament to the continued need for this Veterans Treatment Docket, and I commend Judge Weinstein for her dedication to our veteran Marylanders.”
District Public Defender for Baltimore City Elizabeth L. Julian added, “The Office of the Public Defender is pleased to be participating in the Veterans Treatment Docket. This docket provides important diversion opportunities without a collateral consequence of a conviction for our clients who have served their country.”
Veterans who participate in the docket are partnered with a mentor who also is a veteran through the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA). Mentors receive training from the University of Baltimore School of Law and work to encourage their fellow veterans to meet goals and take full advantage of the range of local, state, and federal services.
"A key component of the Veterans Treatment docket is the participation of mentors, and we are continuing to recruit more mentors to support the growing number of veterans the court serves,” said Deb Schubert, immediate past president of the MSBA. “These volunteers are veterans that serve as a support person or “battle buddy" to those that are charged with offenses.”
Last July, the MSBA sponsored several mentors who attended the Veteran Mentor Corps Boot Camp at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
Located at the District Court in Baltimore City, Eastside Building, the Veterans Treatment Docket will begin its expanded docket on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at 9 a.m.
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Note: A free training program for veterans interested in serving as mentors will be held on Monday, November 23, 2015, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Anyone interested in participating can register by emailing VAClinic@ubalt.edu or calling Melanie Hanson at 410-837-5706. Veterans who would like to serve as mentors must have an honorable discharge and be willing to commit to at least one afternoon per month.