Jim Leonard

What is the role of the mentor in the Court?

When the veterans come in, from day one, we are always looking for signs that they are in distress. This can be part of a greater picture.  Veterans often come in on fairly innocuous charges but upon closer review have very serious mental health or substance abuse issues. This gives us an opportunity to engage them and then direct them into the appropriate treatment regimen where we can monitor their case.

As we now bring Mentors into the Court, I think they can be a critical part to what we’re doing, especially as we look at our growing younger population of men and women back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have acute issues they’re dealing with, from reintegration to very acute post-traumatic stress.

When we bring in mentors, we need volunteers that are adept at active listening. {Active listening is a communication technique used in counselling, training and conflict resolution, which requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties}

Mentors should be of a quality and background to provide a good example, or even a role model, by successfully having met the challenges presented to today’s veterans. Also, some of the veterans who have successfully finished our program would make excellent mentors.

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[member name=”Jim Leonard” role=”Senior Public Defender, Phoenix Veterans Court” img=”http://vcmproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/jim.jpg” mail=”jpllaw@live.com”][/member]