In the season of high school and college graduations, another smaller group celebrated a new chapter of their lives.

The Harrison County Veterans Treatment Court celebrated its third graduation May 31 since its founding in October 2017, with four graduates representing three branches of the U.S. military receiving certificates of completion.

According to Melanie Wood, Veterans Treatment Court coordinator, the purpose of the program is to provide veterans who have encountered the law with tools to change their behavior and lead a “law-abiding and productive life.”

Successfully completing Veterans Treatment Court — a 12- to 24-month-long program — may reduce the penalty assigned to a graduate.

As coordinator, Wood is tasked with identifying veterans with new charges against them or who are incarcerated in the Harrison County Jail. She then presents that information to the prosecutor to determine whether the individual is eligible for the Veterans Treatment Court program. With the prosecutor’s approval, Wood interviews and assesses the veteran to determine whether they qualify for the program. The final decision is made by the supervising judge.