Treatment program for vets unveiled in RC

Posted: Updated:

Rockland County officials gathered in New City Wednesday to introduce a new program that provides treatment for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are accused of non-violent crimes.

Under the Veterans Alternative to Incarceration initiative, service members would be screened and referred to substance abuse and mental health treatment programs instead of being sent to prison.

Jerry Donnellan, a Vietnam War veteran, says soldiers returning from a war zone often turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with combat trauma, which sometimes leads to criminal behavior.

"This is not excusing criminal behavior in any means whatsoever," emphasizes Rockland District Attorney Tom Zugibe.

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