Letter to the editor: Another missed opportunity
To the editor of TheStatehouseFile.com:
John Krull does an excellent job painting the total cost of crime in Indiana in “Lost chances and destroyed lives.” His guests are no doubt, top in their experiences and expertise. That being said, there is one significant “missed opportunity” not mentioned in the story and unfortunately The Indianapolis Star along with many other press outlets missed the opportunity when it happened. I am talking about the recent summit on veterans treatment courts (VTCs) held at the Indiana War Memorial. Over 300 judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and legal scholars spent over 4 hours learning about VTC expansion in Indiana. Current Indiana law allows all 92 counties to have VTCs; only 17 exist. Thousands of veterans are discriminated in that they do not get the opportunity as a first time offender to use this outstanding judicial tool and avoid the “missed opportunity” of their life, their families life and they cost me (a state taxpayer) thousands of dollars that I would rather see spent on education, highways, and even veterans!
The Military / Veterans Coalition of Indiana encouraged Sen. Joes Zakas, R-Granger, and Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, to fix legislation and allow vets to expand VTC use throughout the state and across county boundrys as some counties are too poor to afford to establish a VTC. A law change and a million-dollar budget addition enables Indiana to expand VTCs resulting in progress to end the discrimination—and eliminate the missing opportunities. The Star reported on Judge David Certo and Marion County earlier this year as a new VTC starting in October. The Judicial Center and Supreme Court Judge Steven David championed this summit and education that will save billions of our tax dollars as VTCs bloom up soon across the state. Krull did not mention that the offenders that avoid crime through the programs often times get jobs and make money—AND pay Indiana taxes! They are not a drain on society – they are adding to society!
It is rewarding to see the fruits of this joint effort start to bloom! I hope everyone will NOT miss this opportunity for great Hoosier Veterans that have drifted off the path to get a chance to save their live, the suffering of their love ones and at the same time save Indiana billions! Happy Veterans Day!
BG James L. Bauerle USA Ret.