The Hennepin County veterans court recently graduated its 100th person.

Under the veterans court system, qualified veterans who have committed a low-level crime participate in an intensive 12- to 18-month program, which can include chemical dependency treatment or domestic abuse counseling. The veterans work directly with the VA Medical Center or community resources on programming called for in their case plan.

Hennepin County launched one of the largest veterans courts in 2010. Anoka and Washington counties also have such programs. There are more than 369,000 veterans in Minnesota.

"The collaboration of many different agencies is very effective for providing necessary services to our veteran defendants," said Judge Kerry Meyer, who presides over the court.

During the first six months after entry into Veterans Court, 83 percent of participants commit fewer offenses as compared with the six months just before entry.

David Chanen