BUTTE - A courtroom in Butte is pretty much like any other courtroom, except for one major difference: This is where they host the Veterans Treatment Court. When veterans get in trouble and need help changing their lives, it helps to have specialized treatment.
“It goes through what we have been through, and our counselors gear our counseling to the issues that we had and so I completed a PTSD program through this program,” said recent veterans court graduate and Helena resident Bob Shearer.
The court recently recognized two veterans who successfully completed the nearly two-year-long program that allows veterans convicted of a crime to avoid prison time if they undergo treatment for addiction and counseling.
“Today they’re going out into the world employed, they’re going out in the world with their driver’s licenses, they’re going out into the world knowing they have to tools to succeed,” said Butte County Attorney Mike Clague.
David Coleman is a combat veteran who was wounded in Iraq and who graduated from the program. He went on to become a mentor in the drug court helping veterans who, like him, found themselves in trouble with the law. He wants to help because he knows how challenging the program is.
“There are days when you want to quit, you just want to go down to the bar and drink yourself stupid and say, ‘you know what, I’d rather do the jail time.’ But then you understand you’re gaining so much more by giving up your habit, you gain your family back, you gain a lot of that trust back, you heal,” said Coleman.
Seven people have graduated from the veteran’s treatment court since it started in 2021.
“Anybody that goes through the treatment court has amazing courage and that’s what it takes: courage. The military asks you to have courage and we ask you to have courage and trust in the process and you did that,” said Clague.