MENTOR Program Offers Probation Reduction

October 30, 2018

The MENTOR Program is an innovative, court-based reentry program that operates within the First Judicial District via a three-year grant from the Department of Justice and is supervised by Judge Michael E. Erdos and Judge Kai Scott.  MENTOR matches Philadelphia’s young returning citizens with volunteer mentors from their communities for twelve months.  After twelve months of mentoring, Participants graduate from the program with a Court Order cutting their original probation sentence and parole sentences by a whopping fifty (50) percent.  MENTOR is the first reentry court program of its kind in the country.

 

Now in its third year of operation, MENTOR’s Co-Directors, Mr. Terrill Carney and Ms. Angela Brosnan, are working with the Criminal Justice Department at La Salle (MENTOR’s independent, academic program evaluator), to expand and further the program so more of our city’s young returning citizens can take advantage of the mentorship model and the substantial probation reduction offered after twelve months of mentoring.  MENTOR’s evaluations thus far echo what Co-Directors, Terrill and Angela, describe as the key to MENTOR’s success: treating each Participant as a unique human being who has specialized needs, and providing those needs in a tailored, trauma-informed manner.  Equally important, is the creation of a safe judicial environment, one that favors empowerment verses punishment and fosters a sense of community within the program.  While Participants are being supported by their mentors, they also “mentor” their mentors by teaching them more about the reentry process and many structural barriers to achieving a positive outcome.  The program’s mentors, in turn, become stewards on these issues in their communities and places of business, which MENTOR program staff hope will help shift the public perception of returning citizens, promote awareness about the basic human needs that are not being met in our city for this population, and encourage more “second chance hiring” here in Philadelphia.

 

MENTOR accepts both men and women into the program. Current eligibility requirements include:

  • candidate must be 18-30

  • have a record that includes a nonviolent felony offense

  • be open to mentorship

  • be ready to take control of your future by engaging fully with all of the program’s offerings, including benefits referrals, case management referrals, and employment offerings.

  • Unfortunately, at this time, Defendants with current firearms offenses, violent felonies or sex crimes -- or a history of such offenses -- are ineligible for the program.  

Participation in the MENTOR Program is completely voluntary. MENTOR is currently recruiting participants. To learn more about the program or to assess your eligibility to join MENTOR as a participant or as a mentor, please contact mentor@courts.phila.gov.

 

MENTOR invites both men and women to apply to become Mentors in the Program. Current eligibility requirements include:

  • candidate must be 21 and older

  • willing to mentor on a volunteer (unpaid) basis

  • ready/willing/able to offer their time and energy to support a young returning citizen through the reentry experience here in Philadelphia.  

We encourage diversity within MENTOR at every level, and thus have recruited a diverse, highly passionate group of volunteer mentors who come from various walks of life but all share a passion for supporting our city’s population of returning citizens. 

Individuals with previous justice system involvement are encouraged to apply as long as their period of incarceration ended at least two years prior to submission of their MENTOR application.  Prospective mentors should apply by filling out the Volunteer Mentor application on MENTOR’s website or email mentor@courts.phila.gov.  All candidates must submit to a criminal background check, participate in a panel interview, and ultimately be approved by both MENTOR and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

 

For more information, please reach out via email to mentor@courts.phila.gov or phone at 215-686-3731.  You may also contact either Terrill or Angela, MENTOR’s Co-Directors directly terrillcarney@courts.phila.gov and angela.brosnan@courts.phila.gov    

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