Rep. James Smith proposes court to monitor, rehab veterans - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Rep. James Smith proposes court to monitor, rehab veterans

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Rep. James Smith (Source: SCStatehouse.gov) Rep. James Smith (Source: SCStatehouse.gov)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As the country continues to deal with the growing problem of PTSD among service men and women, a South Carolina lawmaker has an idea of how to deal with veterans' legal issues.

"It affects their ability to work, to return to civilian life," said Rep. James Smith.

Smith has proposed a solution to deal with non-violent offenders: a Veterans court that would focus on monitoring and veteran-specific rehabilitation.

"It's not to escape responsibility for what they've done," said Smith. "It's to make sure they're not continually thrown into a system that will keep seeing them there."

Smith has spent a year crafting a bill that would put a volunteer judge in every judicial circuit in the state. The other costs associated Smith says would be offset by keeping non-violent vets out of the mainstream criminal justice system while helping them work their way back into society.

"These are our fellow citizens who've given a great deal of themselves and who have real, manifested, and lingering impacts of what we've asked them to go do on our behalf, and by doing this I think we're responding in a way that acknowledges that, and accepts responsibility," said Smith.

The Fifth Judicial Circuit already has a similar program in place. Smith's bill would make it the state standard.

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