Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
July 26
01:30 2018

City council members call for funding for treatment court

To the Editor:

We were among the local leaders attending the first graduation ceremony of the Forsyth County Veterans Treatment Court [last week].  We were shocked to learn  that the current dysfunction in Washington has threatened this outstanding program. 

Diversion of people from standard prosecution routes into treatment and counseling is exactly the kind of approach we need to expand, and no one deserves this opportunity more than the men and women who have served our country. 

After hearing the moving stories of the graduates, and seeing the obvious effectiveness of this approach, we agreed that this program is worthy of stop-gap funding from the City to ensure that the first Forsyth graduation ceremony is not the last. 

We are reaching out to our colleagues on the city council and other local leaders.  When federal or state leaders have forgotten how to cooperate, it’s time for local leaders to step up and ensure that the job gets done.

According to Justice for Vets, “One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment. One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance use issue.

“Research continues to draw a link between substance use and combat-related mental illness. Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system. The Veterans Treatment Court provides an opportunity for defendants who have served in the military to get treatment for a mental illness or a substance-abuse problem over a period of time. If they comply with treatment recommendations, prosecutors can voluntarily dismiss their criminal charges.”

Dan Besse, Winston-Salem City Council Member

Denise “DD” Adams, Winston-Salem City Council Member

Note: On Friday, July 20, Besse and Adams issued the above statement regarding the financial struggle of the Forsyth County Veterans Treatment Court. Besse and Adams said that they would seek to have consideration of this matter placed on the August agendas for the Winston-Salem City Council’s Public Safety and Finance committee meetings.  They will also contact other Forsyth County leaders about joint cooperation in this effort.

Dan Besse is the Democratic nominee for N.C. House District 75; Denise “DD” Adams is the Democratic nominee for N.C. U.S. Congressional District 5.

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