The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office has instituted a Veterans Diversion Program (VDP). This program is designed to assist individuals who have served in the U.S. Military and now have come into contact with the criminal justice system. If an individual is accepted into this program and successfully completes the program, it is possible for the individual to avoid a criminal conviction. The goal of this program is to assist veterans who find themselves falling victim to substance abuse and becoming involved in criminal activities. Such behavior may be caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, traumatic brain injuries and other physical injuries that are a result of their time in the service. VDP is a collaborative partnership between the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, veteran’s administrators, state and county agencies, volunteers, community-based organizations and medical treatment facilities to assist veterans in the criminal justice system.
A vital component of the Veterans Diversion Program is to provide such individuals with as much assistance and support as possible in order to for the individual to have a reasonable chance of being successful. For this reason, the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is seeking volunteer veteran mentors for their Veterans Diversion Program (VDP).
We are seeking peer mentors to support program eligible service members through the criminal justice system while also assisting in their individual treatment plans. Mentors are an essential component of the VDP. The mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the veteran mentee. Mentors should be good listeners and be willing to spend the time necessary to understand the concerns of the veteran mentee.
On Saturday, March 9, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office will be hosting a training at the Cumberland County College – Luciano Conference Center (Forum Room) in Vineland NJ from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This training is for Veterans of the branches of the U.S. Military, including the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their corresponding Reserve or Guard branches who wish to be mentors for the VDP. Interested Veterans must fill out the attached application and email it to Lt. Jasmin Calderon at or Veterans@co.cumberland.nj.us or send via fax at 856-451-1507. To contact Lt. Calderon, please call (856)453-0486, ext. 11108. See attached flyer and application.
Mentors do not need a legal background or experience, just a desire to help a fellow veteran. Generally, mentors are expected to make weekly contact with their assigned veteran through a phone call or an in-person meeting. Individuals who wish to volunteer as a mentor must complete an application, a background check and submit their DD214 verifying an honorable discharge or proof of being on active duty.
It is our sincere hope that veterans in our community who meet these requirements, and have an interest in helping their fellow veterans, apply to be mentors so that those men and women who are determined to be eligible for the Diversion Program have every tool they need to succeed.
*If this press release involves the charging, accusation or indictment of a criminal defendant, same is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.