Veterans receive second chance after run-in with law

Posted at 12:21 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 13:21:25-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After serving our country, our men and women in uniform often face unique challenges, including higher rates of PTSD, substance abuse, and crime.

When that happens, a growing system of courts in Tennessee is offering veterans a second chance through a program called Veterans Treatment Court.

The court in Montgomery County held one of its Veterans Treatment Court graduations on Thursday.

Julia Neblett was one of 18 veterans, many of whom had a DUI charge, who graduated from the program.

Instead of a traditional sentence following her DUI, Neblett entered into the Veterans Treatment Court.

What came next was a year of meetings and support.

"I found out that it's OK to ask for help, and that I'm not the only one with that issue. There's a lot of people just like me," Neblett said.

For many of these veterans, successful completion of the program means their DUI charges are deleted.

Gov. Bill Lee was the keynote speaker at Thursday's graduation.

"I thank you for the privilege and thank you for the opportunity to reward you and congratulate you on this incredible accomplishment in your life," Lee told the graduates.

In Montgomery County Thursday, there was crime and there was punishment. But Mayor Jim Durrett said there was also this:

"It shows people there's hope out there," he said. "It's something you can hang on to all the time, and help will come."