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The Dauphin County Veterans' Court Program is specifically designed for veterans involved in the Criminal Justice System.
The Veterans' Treatment Court is handled on a specialized criminal court docket involving Veterans charged with criminal offense(s), by diverting eligible Veteran-defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness. The court substitutes a treatment problem solving model for traditional court processing. Veterans are identified through specialized screening and assessments, and voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan that a team of court staff, veteran health care professionals, veteran peer mentors, AOD health care professionals and mental health professionals develop. At regular status hearings treatment plans and other conditions are periodically reviewed for appropriateness, incentives are offered to reward adherence to court conditions, and sanctions for non-adherence are handed down. Completion of program is defined according to specific criteria. Upon admission to Veterans Treatment Court, the court staff and mentors assist the veteran with an array of stabilization and other services, such as emergency financial assistance, mental health/trauma counseling, employment and skills training assistance, temporary housing, advocacy, and other referral services.
The key component of any successful Veterans Court is a Veterans' Mentor Program. In this program, a trained Veteran Mentor is paired with a veteran participant to provide support as he/she navigates through the court and treatment. Ideally, Mentors/Participants will be paired by service whenever possible.The Mentoring Program offers support and encouragement for veterans in the court system by spending one-on-one time with the veteran participant on a regular basis to provide an opportunity to discuss concerns and receive feedback and support from another veteran. The Mentor will have a resource book at his/her disposal to refer veterans to a wide range of available services both within the veteran system and in the community at large. These include, but are not limited to: benefits, housing, spiritual needs, social/recreational needs, employment. The Mentor is present as an ally and friend to assist the veteran through this difficult time. Our belief is that the shared experiences of another veteran will be critical in assisting the participant in regaining control of his/her life and successfully connecting to - and maintaining - treatment, which will lead to successful completion of the Veterans' Court program.
- Catharine Kilgore
- (717) 780-6767
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