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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Summer 2014

Superior Court Veterans Treatment Court Hosts Mentor Training

Mentor Training
Judge Witham speaking to volunteer Veterans Treatment Courts mentors during training.

On April 16, 2014, Resident Judge William L. Witham, Jr., and Judge Jan R. Jurden, both of the Delaware Superior Court, hosted an afternoon training for veterans who wish to serve as volunteer mentors in the Veterans Treatment Courts in Kent and New Castle Counties. Twenty-five veterans of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and National Guard participated in the training designed to help them understand their roles as mentors in the Courts. Mentors can play a crucial role in helping justice-involved veterans navigate the system. Mentors do not replace counselors; rather they are there to offer moral support, provide positive encouragement, and guide justice-involved veterans to available resources.

The training was led by Jack O'Connor, the Volunteer Mentor Coordinator of the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court in New York. Mr. O'Connor, a Vietnam Veteran, has served the Buffalo court since its inception in 2008. The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court was the first Veterans Court to be established in the nation and Mr. O'Connor had a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with the Delaware mentors.

Mentor Training
Judge Witham welcoming Delaware U.S. Senator Chris Coons, who spoke during the training.

While the Kent County and New Castle County Veterans Treatment Courts are relatively new, established in 2011 and 2013 respectively, these courts are already demonstrating positive results. As of April 1, 2014, 88% of the Kent County Veterans Treatment Court participants had successfully graduated, and in New Castle County, 94% of the Veterans Treatment Court participants had successfully graduated. The support of a network of dedicated and generous volunteer mentors will enhance these courts' services.