BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Four veterans who were facing misdemeanor charges and were struggling with issues such as drug addiction have now turned their lives around after graduating Tuesday from the Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Court Program.

“I have nothing but good things to say about this program,” said Ricky Davis.

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Navy veteran Ricky Davis was one of them who overcame the odds after getting a chance to go through the program for 18 months.

“I’ve conquered my addiction, I live a nice clean life, I’m not ashamed of myself anymore,” said Davis.

It’s a court-supervised and voluntary program that helps out vets who are facing misdemeanor charges in district court
and finds them treatment centers, tries to help them get VA benefits and gives them support through therapy dogs and community service — and it’s changed dozens of lives for the better.

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“To see how much they’ve transformed throughout that year or two years or whatever it would be, that is extremely rewarding because you don’t see that a lot unfortunately in the criminal justice system,” said Aaron Dalton, assistant public defender with Baltimore City.

Baltimore City District Judge Halee Weinstein founded the program in 2015. She’s a veteran herself and knows just how hard life can be after serving and that’s part of the reason why she started the program.

“It is a difficult transition from military to civilian life and some veterans have a hard time making that transition… So what we are doing in this court is connecting them to the services they have earned,” said Weinstein.

After today’s graduation ceremony now, about 100 veterans have gone through veterans treatment court.

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Stetson Miller