Mentors are needed for Atlantic County’s Veteran’s Diversion Program through the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
The program allows eligible veterans charged with certain crimes to go through rehabilitative treatment rather than criminal
Volunteers can be from any military branch, and then are linked with vets to help shepherd them through the program, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner explained.
Under Superior Judge Bernard DeLury, a retired Naval captain, the program has had continued success.
It involves intensive supervision and monitoring of a veteran’s treatment in connection with the Prosecutor’s Office, Veterans Administration and the volunteer mentor assigned as support.
Participants must meet all diversion requirements to remain in the VDP, and the program must be successfully completed within two years from the date of diversion.
Veterans admitted into the program are expected to regularly attend counseling and, where applicable, receive mental health or substance abuse treatment in accordance with the program.
The charges are dismissed if the veteran completes the program, does not incur any additional charges and continues to make progress with mental health and/or substance abuse treatment.
Volunteer Mentors are trained by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Guidelines for Mentors
A mentor’s first obligation is to support the veteran.
- Always act in the best interest of the veteran.
- Act in a professional manner when representing the program and the sponsoring agencies in the community.
- Refer the veteran to other agencies/organizations only after conferring with an appropriate official.
- Work with appropriate officials to resolve any conflicts that might arise.
- Mentor within the limits of your training and competency.
- Refrain from attempting to instill your personal values, lifestyle or beliefs in the veteran.
- Be honest and do not promise any better outcome than can be expected.
- Do not exploit the veteran or any agency for personal advantage.
- Refrain from involvement in any monetary business with the veteran.
- Harassment of any type or kind will not be tolerated (physical, verbal or mental). Any report of inappropriate behavior will be investigated and legal action may be initiated.
- Personal information about the veteran is confidential. Only provide personal information relating to the veteran to those identified in a signed release form.
- Inform the veteran that it will be necessary for you to report illegal or destructive behavior to the appropriate official.
Eligibility for diversion
To be eligible for the diversion program, the applicant must be an active or former member of the United States armed forces and the charges must have some causal relation to their military service.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office retains sole discretion over who is admitted into the program. Veterans charged with more serious, violent crimes will not be deemed eligible.
For more information, please contact Chief Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 609-909-7800.
Veterans who are currently pending criminal charges in Superior Court should consult with their attorney or visit http://www.acpo.org/forms/veterans-diversion-program.