Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $156,250)
Created in November 2011 as the first of its kind in South Carolina, the Fifth Circuit’s Veterans Treatment Mentor Court program is designed to assist veterans, post-adjudication, who have pending charges. Misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses are eligible. No other funds support this program. In 2020-2021, we received a federal Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Grant.
Veterans Treatment Mentor Court program participants are offered assistance from fellow veteran mentors, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans service organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans.
The Solicitor’s Office will review and present cases to the Veterans Treatment Mentor Court judge. The Solicitor’s Office has the final authority to accept or refuse applications to the program. The Veterans Treatment Mentor Court judge has the final authority on all admissions.
To enter the program the veteran must admit his/her guilt. Jurisdiction of the charges will be transferred by the court system to the Veterans Court. The transferring court will issue a conditional discharge for the offenses after successful completion of the program. Successful completion of the Veterans Treatment Mentor Court program will result in the dismissal of charges and eligibility for expungement.
All participants spend at least twelve (12) months, but as long as eighteen months, under the supervision of the Veterans Treatment Mentor Court. The target number is 25.
Evidenced-based practices used include Medication Assisted Treatment; Trauma informed Services; Contingency management; and random drug screens (p. 13). These are included in the plan to address opioid, stimulant, and other substance abuse reduction. Veterans Treatment Mentor Court employs escalating sanctions in response to non-compliance with program requirements.
Program Requirements include: legal, mental health, alcohol and drug use assessments to establish treatment needs, screening by the VA to determine eligibility, appearances three (3) times per month, attendance at AA/NA or other self-help meetings, random drug testing, compliance with treatment, compliance with requirements for other habilitation services: job training, employment, or medical, and maintaining contact with assigned veteran mentor.
The goal of Veterans Treatment Mentor Court is to help the men and women who served our nation and honor their service by providing needed substance abuse counseling, mental health treatment and assistance with other needs unique to veterans.
Total funding requested for this grant is: $666,665, which includes the $500,000 grant award, and $166,665 match for the entirety of the grant period.