New PTSD bill to go into effect across Oklahoma

CREDIT: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Brooks

CREDIT: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Brooks

OKLAHOMA CITY – Beginning Thursday, new consideration will be given to Oklahoma veterans with post traumatic stress disorder who find themselves facing a criminal sentence.

“We’ve know for years not that our veterans coming back from combat suffer from PTSD and it’s a real syndrome and it has to be dealt with,” said Rep. Richard Morrisette.

Morrisette authored HB 2595, which allows judges to consider PTSD as a mitigating factor when sentencing veterans who break the law.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill on Thursday.

Currently in Oklahoma, there are only two PTSD diversion programs for veteran defendants, and Morrisette says more needs to be done to help improve treatment for mental health issues.

However, that could be tough considering the state has slashed mental health services due to the budget crisis.