Veteran's Court: Serving those who served our country

7:35 PM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- For those who serve returning to civilian life can be hard. Sometimes the reintegration process is harder for some than others causing some veterans to fall onto hard times and in some rare cases in prison. In Maine, a special Veteran's Court has been created to help those veterans. Unfortunately, it lacks funding and the staff to keep it going. 

A bill going through legislature would provide additional funding and staffing to keep the court going. 

Sheriff Randall Liberty of Kennebec County helped get the program off the ground. A veteran himself, he knows the struggles of returning from war. 

Sheriff Liberty said, "It's heartbreaking really because I saw those marines and soldiers serve and I saw the things they did for our nation and it's very difficulty for an 18 or 19 year old to be sent into that environment."

The court's first graduate was Marine Travis Bentley, at the time he was addicted to drugs. This addiction led him to robbing a pharmacy and eventually behind bars. 

Travis Bentley said, "You go from having this military structure all day long everyday and then you get out and you're free to do whatever you want."

Participants are made to attend school, work or volunteer. They are given the help and tools they need to get back on the right path. 

"In the beginning it was really strict. It got less strict as it went on. At the end I was like, alright. I'm pretty confident I can do it on my own," said Bentley.

Now he attends school and spends more time with his growing family. 

"I saw both sides of the fence. You know? The drug addict side and the sober side. Everything was way more fun after I got sober. I had fun doing everything and anything. So there's no going back," explained Bentley. 

A bill to expand and add extra funding to the veteran's court passed unanimously through the judiciary committee. It would fund a part time District Attorney to the court and appoint a judge to the court. It still faces further votes in the legislature.

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