Veterans who commit less-serious criminal offenses due to a service-related condition will have probation and receive social services instead of jail time, under the Restorative Justice Act that Governor Tim Walz highlighted today (Tues) in a ceremonial signing at Veterans Memorial Park in Saint Paul.  The governor responds to those call it an easy way out:

“This is much harder work, this is much more intensive and, because of that, it’s much more effective of getting the results we want — which is a healing of that warrior, which is a return to their families, a return to their communities, a return to productivity.”

Republican Senator Roger Chamberlain from Lino Lakes, who authored the bill, says “It is our duty to help these veterans receive treatment rather than incarceration when they commit low-level crimes due to struggles they are facing due to their service.”  Backers say veterans who commit crimes are not exempted from punishment — but courts can now consider service-related issues such as chemical exposure, physical injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and military sexual trauma to help veterans navigate a path to recovery and restitution.