Files from the mentor program should be maintained separately from court files.
Initially, many participants will show little or no interest in the mentor program. Once participants feel comfortable and trustworthy of the Veterans Treatment Court, they usually commence meeting with mentors. The mentor program should be encouraged and not mandated.
Attorneys who appear in Veterans Treatment Court should not become mentors. Attorneys, who do not represent litigants in Veterans Treatment Court, can be mentors, but they must not provide legal advice to participants.
Although a mentor may believe it will better help a participant, this approach is counter-productive to a participant’s recovery. A strengths-based approach that encourages and motivates participants is preferable.
Mentors do not need to have legal or criminal justice experience. In fact, mentors must not provide legal advice.
Once a week is recommended, but mentors must understand that every participant is different. The goal is to form a supportive relationship with their participant.
Mentor coordinators should utilize local veteran groups such as local Vet Centers which are community-based veteran centers and are operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They provide counseling services to veterans and their families, focusing on post-war readjustment to civilian life. Mentor coordinators may also contact the Disabled American Veterans Chapters which are non-profit organizations providing assistance to disabled veterans. Also, VA Medical Centers have veterans experienced with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.