To the Editor:
If Gov. Tim Walz calls a special session, I am urging him to include the Veterans Restorative Justice Act, on the list of priority bills to be addressed. Some veterans re-integrating back into their communities and family life after deployment often have difficulties adjusting. Many work through the problems on their own, while some need a little help. A few, unfortunately, will find themselves in trouble with the law. The act is an alternative sentencing option for veterans facing legal charges who have service-connected trauma, substance abuse or mental health conditions. It is not a free pass for their crimes, but a comprehensive program for alternative justice focusing on rehabilitation.
Many of the service members we send to conflict zones overseas to defend our freedoms come home changed in ways that make their lives more challenging. Those changes happen as a result of their service on our behalf and we all must accept our shared responsibility to help them heal. On top of saving money for the state the VRJA provides an option to the court to deliver compassionate rehabilitation rather than the usual rigid punishment guidelines.
Martin F. Adams
Martin Adams is the commander of the George R. Wolff VFW Post 425 in Hopkins.