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The MENTOR Program, an initiative of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, seeks to reduce criminal recidivism by providing mentoring to individuals involved in the criminal justice system and returning to the Philadelphia community.
MENTOR is a court-based program, coordinated by Judge Michael Erdos and Judge Lisa Rau, that matches individuals serving county sentences with volunteer mentors. Over the course of the one-year program term, mentors provide emotional support and encouragement to their participants, as well as practical assistance to overcome some of the traditional barriers to successful reentry. MENTOR also empowers its participants to take advantage of additional resources provided through a network of community-based partner organizations. When a participant successfully completes the MENTOR Program, he or she will receive a substantial reduction in the remaining term of court supervision. This is a carrot, not a stick. In addition, it is expected that participation in MENTOR will result in healthier communities and families, and a decrease in the various human and financial costs associated with crime, prosecution, and incarceration.