Illinois to require veterans courts across the state in 2018

Oct 30, 2017

Daniel Kind stands before Judge Robert Russell during the Veterans Court session in Buffalo, N.Y. on June 3, 2008.
Credit Don Heupel / AP Photo

CHICAGO (AP) - A law passed last year requires every judicial circuit in Illinois to have a veterans treatment court starting Jan. 1.

The courts allow veterans who were honorably discharged to plead guilty to a crime in exchange for a probation sentence. The sentence requires frequent court visits and mental health or substance abuse treatments. 

Veterans can also apply to have their records expunged upon completing the sentence, and those using the court typically face lower level felonies.

Supporters say such programs help those who risked their lives for their country.

Some wonder if every community has the resources or the need for a court dedicated to veterans.

 An ACLU of Illinois spokesman says the overall court system should be improved, instead of offering one group more options.