Helping Our Veterans
Men and women who bravely protect our nation and its allies witness unspeakable acts and bear unimaginable stresses in their duty to keep our families safe. Too often their battlefield scars are left not only on the body but also the mind. And too often they aren’t realized until long after they have left a theater of conflict.
The prevalence of P.T.S.D. among our brave troops and retired soldiers is staggering. So too are the connections between instances of non-violent criminal activity and the battlefield experiences and post-conflict conditions of veterans. As the number of troops returning home, thankfully, continues to rise, Kathleen believes it is our public safety responsibility and moral imperative to act comprehensively and address with compassion the connection between P.T.S.D., addiction and mental illness, and the non-violent criminal activity committed by veterans that is too frequently the result of their service-related trauma.
Just like someone suffering from addiction or a mental illness is often in need of specialized understanding and treatment, just like a domestic relationship is frequently served best by an interdisciplinary approach, Kathleen believes that the unique and heroic backgrounds of veterans make them important recipients for comprehensive treatment and worthy of policymakers' time, energy and focus.
In 2010 and 2011, Kathleen played a central role in reforming how the criminal justice system in Nassau County handles the non-violent cases of our military veterans, culminating with the opening of Nassau’s first-ever specialized Veterans’ Court. Kathleen’s leadership and the opening of this court are an example of our criminal justice system acknowledging veterans’ unique contributions and also of our system’s ability to render the types of comprehensive solutions we know are more likely to protect our neighborhoods and our veterans by creating a rehabilitation success story rather than a recidivist offender.