Desmond helped start the Veterans Court program a year ago to help military service members with drug, substance or mental health problems connect with mentors who shared their background and experience. So far, it has graduated three participants and has 11 more enrolled.
The program targets veterans whose mental illness, traumatic brain injury or similar factors contributed to their criminal charges. Desmond said most of those come from either the Iraq or Afghanistan combat theaters. They must be facing at least a year in prison for their charges or probation violations, and not be a registered violent or sexual offender.
Speaking to the veteran, Bohlinger congratulated him for his efforts.
“And I also say congratulations to the community of Missoula that puts its arms around its citizens and does not let them fall through the cracks,” the Marine Corps veteran said. “About 10 percent of the University of Montana students are veterans. They know the pain of conflict. They have lots of issues to deal with. We can say to a person who has served, we can provide the care needed to integrate back into civilian life.”