Brooke County Launches Military Service Members Court

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The supreme court of Appeals of West Virginia announced a new addition to the Ohio County Courthouse in Wellsburg.

Brooke County Senator Ryan Weld was there for the announcement as well as Chief Justices Beth Walker, Tim Armstead, Evan Jenkins, and John Hutchinson. They all joined forced today to help implement a new court in Brooke County.

The Military Service Members Treatment Court program made history today for the second time in Brooke County. This court was taken out of Brooke County in 2017 under the approval of Chief Justice Laughlin. But today, after talks of reinstating it, Senator Ryan Weld, Circuit Court Judge David Simms, and Chief Justice Beth Walker, made it official.  

Many of the veterans that come backs suffer from addiction issues, or substance abuse issues. They have a hard time finding support. They have a hard time finding services. So, what we do is we get them into our court. We Help them provide them services if they have mental health issues and treatment of substance abuse issues.

David Simms
Brooke County Circuit Court Judge

The court takes Veterans who are suffering from ailment possibly brought on to them from serving in the military. Weld says he was passionate about this because even though his support system was strong when he returned from Afghanistan in 2011, not all veterans receive that.

I had a great network of support. But unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t often times don’t see that support because they don’t have the family that’s behind them. They might not have all their friends with them So, they may slip into issues of substance abuse depression. And as a result of those issues find themselves in the criminal justice system.

Ryan Weld
West Virginia Senator

Simms was a judge for the last veterans court in Brooke County, and says that they had over a 70% success rate from the program, causing a reduction in the recidivist rate.

It’s valuable for the community. We’re getting people healthy and back into being productive members of society. And that saves money to the community because we’re not incarcerating them and having the taxpayers pay to have these people incarcerated.

David Simms
Brooke County Circuit Court Judge

If the veterans appear in court and are appointed to a rehabilitation facility, they will most likely go to Northwood Health Systems. After completing rehab, they can receive a wide range of services like housing help, and employment.

Senator Ryan Weld and Circuit court judge David Simms both hope the community can see the avenue this creates for veterans in our area.

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