Veterans may have another option in the courts

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HOUSTON, TX - The court system can be daunting for anyone, but for military veterans, maybe even more so.

"They`ve been in combat and now they have issues, and those issues have led them to criminal conduct." explained Mike Holley with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

So in Harris and Montgomery Counties, special Veterans' Courts exist.

"That criminal conduct has to be addressed, but we want to do it in a way that we can help them, restore them back to being good citizens." added Holley.

Veterans have to be eligible for the program.

"They`re cases appropriate for probation, and there is some disorder that can be treated. In other words, mental health or substance abuse." according to Judge Marc Carter of the 228th District Criminal Court.

Jason Frey fit the bill since he served as an Army Medic in Afghanistan and he says, "Our Air Force actually did a mission and hit a wedding party, so there were 5 children that came into our hospital as soon as we opened up. And they were wrecked up pretty bad, and you know what...I wasn`t expecting to have kids."

His experiences tormented his civilian life.

"Flashbacks...can`t sleep to the nightmares." Frey described.

According to Frey, in May 2011, disoriented, and highly intoxicated, he assaulted a security guard and two Montgomery County Sherrif`s Deputies, fracturing one of the deputies hands.
Rather than going through the regular court system, Frey was referred to Veterans Court. His sentence included treatment and counseling.

Loretta Coonan, a Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist at DeBakey VA Medical Center explained, "You don`t treat people effectively by leaving them in jail and not providing them with any type of specialized mental health or substance abuse treatment."

As a result of his experience in Veterans Court, Frey says he's a new man. "It`s really given my life back to me. My kids are much happier to see dad come home from work now. Sobriety has been awesome and my marriage has been phenomenal."

"They had to bear a high price to serve us, and now we get a chance to serve them." said Holley

If you 're in trouble and need Veteran's Court, you may have options.  For more info, click here.