Home > News > Special Court in Madison County Helps Veterans Avoid Jail

Special Court in Madison County Helps Veterans Avoid Jail

July 23, 2016

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) – A special court in Madison County has been helping veterans avoid jail since 2009.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Circuit Judge Charles Romani Jr., an Army sergeant during the Vietnam War, began the Madison County veterans court in 2009.

Its goal is to help veterans who face charges because of alcohol and drug problems related to their military serviceget back on track through intensive Department of Veterans Affairs counseling and aftercare programs.

Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli says it costs about $6,500 to get a veteran through the program, versus $25,000 to $30,000 per year to lock them in prison.

The VA says there are more than 351 veterans courts in at least 32 states. Nearly 80 such courts were launched in 2014 alone.

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