Jenna Smith - Veterans Court
In 2011, Delaware County created Veterans Court. The Court seeks to address the increasing number of veterans entering the criminal justice system after serving our country in the war on terrorism. Many of these Veterans are suffering from the wounds of combat, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The Delaware County Veterans Court’s mission is to provide substance abuse and mental health treatment to the men and women who have honorably served our country while balancing the interest of the community in punishing, rehabilitating and deterring these defendants from committing future crimes. In a collaborative effort with the Office of the District Attorney, defense counsel, Veteran Mentors and the Veterans Administration, the Delaware County Treatment Court seeks to provide defendants with treatment and services needed to return to being productive and law-abiding citizens.
Veterans Court Mentors
Veterans Court Mentors play a vital part in the success of a Veteran defendant navigating the criminal justice system. Much like a sponsor in AA or NA, a mentor is someone the defendant can trust and lean-on in times of hardship. A mentor is someone who shares similar military experiences or personal backgrounds and knows the difficulties presented by life after military service.
The Role of a Mentor
The role of a mentor is to act as a coach, guide, role model and advocate for the participants of Veterans Court. A mentor is intended to encourage and support the mentee as he or she progresses through the court process.
Mentors are Not…
Mentors are not intended to take on the role of a parent, a professional counselor, a social worker or a doctor. Mentors will be expected to listen, support and advise to the best of their ability. Mentors will not act as the case manager, probation officer, Judge or health care provider, etc.
If you are a veteran of any military branch, Active Duty, Reserve or National Guard, and would like to volunteer as a Veterans Court Mentor, click the link below to download the mentor application form.
Applicants for the Mentor Program must meet the following criteria:
- United States Veteran of any branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard) regardless of component (Active Duty, Reserves or National Guard)
- Discharged from the military with an Honorable or General, Under Honorable Conditions characterization of service
- Pass a criminal background check
- Successfully complete the Veterans Court Mentor online training course
Duties and Responsibilities
All Veterans Court approved Mentors shall:
- Adhere to Delaware County Veterans Court policies and procedures
- Be familiar with Veterans Affairs services and Veterans community resources
- Act as an ally, advocate and role model for a Veteran involved in the criminal justice system
- Act professionally and respectfully towards other Veterans, court staff and agencies who work with the Delaware County Veterans Court
- Be available to attend court proceedings as necessary