There’s a new resource in Michigan to support veterans who enter the criminal justice system for nonviolent offenses.
In 2013, Michigan created a network of treatment courts as an alternative for veterans who commit low-level crimes. Many suffer from addiction or mental illness. Veterans are paired with their peers who serve as mentors along their road to rehabilitation. Now, a new guidebook is available for mentors to help them develop best practices.
Brigadier General (Ret.) Michael McDaniel is the associate dean of WMU-Cooley Law School in Lansing. He says being a veteran mentor is a 24/7 commitment.
“You don’t want it to necessarily be a free-flowing environment that demands all your time,” McDaniel says. “But to know when there’s a true emergency, a true event; how you react to that…just as you would for a friend, a family member or a battle buddy.”
Michigan currently operates 27 veterans treatment courts. It’s one of the largest such systems in the U.S.