Vets Get A 2nd Chance

Melissa Bailey PhotoThe next time a veteran gets picked up on a minor crime, he or she will get a new chance to skip the slammer and seek help instead.

That’s the thrust of a new law Gov. Dannel P. Malloy applauded in a visit to New Haven Monday in honor of Veterans Day.

The ceremony took place Monday afternoon at the Yale Law School, whose students wrote and lobbied for the law, An Act Concerning Services for Veterans in Pretrial Diversionary Programs.

The law gives veterans accused of misdemeanor charges two new avenues for relief: They can get a second chance to apply for Accelerated Rehabilitation, a jail diversion program usually reserved for first-time offenders. And veterans can now apply for psychiatric rehabilitation, even without a mental health diagnosis. 

YLS student Eric Parrie (pictured) and three fellow students took on the case on behalf of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center. They helped achieve something veterans’ advocates had been attempting for years: To get the state judicial branch to give special attention to veterans’ cases. In prior years, advocates had attempted to create a veterans’ court to handle these cases; however, that effort was seen as too costly and failed to gain traction. Through the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at YLS, students found a way to create a special designation for veterans without the cost of creating a new court. The bill passed in May and took effect Oct. 1.

Gov. Malloy applauded the students’ work and highlighted several recent bills addressing veterans’ issues, including Public Act 12-195, which makes it a class C misdemeanor to rip off donors by pretending to represent a veterans’ charity. Malloy signed the bill using a quiver of ceremonial pens and passed them around the room. He also announced the launch of a new website for veterans:

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posted by: Atwater on November 12, 2012  5:14pm

Why are veterans given this special exception? All citizens should be treated equally under the law, regardless of their past occupation.

posted by: AFVet on November 12, 2012  7:36pm

Many of these Vets come home from their occupation which I’m sure is so close to yours with mental health issues. Many of these brave men and women don’t have issues with the things they have done or seen for some time after their commitment is over. There is no timeline on when PTSD is going to affect them. In many cases they don’t know how to deal with their problems and they end up making mistakes. I have no problem with giving them a second chance especially when it can lead to them getting the professional help that they need. So be thankful there are these people out there who chose to take a oath to stand up for you freedom. Since yesterday was Veterans day Thank You to all the vets out there.

posted by: Atwater on November 13, 2012  9:06am

The vets knew the dangers and risks of their job and as such they should not be given special treatment. And, I don’t think any of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have done anything to enhance or defend my freedom. But, they have done a great deal in further limiting it, i.e. The Patriot Act. I never asked them to invade two sovereign nations and lay them to waste. The loss of any life is tragic, in war and in peace, but we cannot continue to ignore, and at times reward, the blatant acts of aggression by our government and our military.

posted by: robn on November 13, 2012  11:07am


Many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Occupation will suffer from PTSD because their brains have been damaged by massive shock waves from IEDs. Bad behavior (post-service) may be attributable to this and not choice.

Their choice to join the armed services is distinct from the choice we made as a society to invade other countries. I disagreed with the Iraq invasion but aren’t going to hold it against those serving. Unfortunately the majority of our society supported it, so we all own the consequences.