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Mercer’s VSU Partners with Mercer County Veteran’s Treatment Court

Tags: Mercer
September 26, 2022 12:00 AM
By: Tammy McGranahan, VSU Manager

Three people sitting across from a group of inmates

SCI Mercer’s Veteran Services Unit has partnered with Mercer County’s Veterans Treatment Court with one mission in mind: providing justice-involved veterans with a reality check.

The idea is to pair a treatment court participant with an incarcerated veteran so the incarcerated veteran can share their story of how they ultimately received a state sentence. The hope is that, during the conversation, the treatment court participants will realize the potential consequences of continuing on the path that led them to treatment court in the first place. Carefully selected inmates from SCI Mercer’s VSU have been approved to participate in the program. The selected inmates had the opportunity to sit down and have a candid conversation with Mercer County’s Treatment Court Judge, the Honorable Daniel P. Wallace, President Judge, and other members of the treatment court committee on August 12.

The Veteran’s Treatment Court Committee members were visiting the prison for a tour when they were offered the opportunity to speak to the inmates who would be participating in the program. Judge Wallace shared his military experience and his passion for assisting veterans through the treatment court. The inmates each shared their military background, their crime and sentence, as well as their own personal reasons for wanting to participate in the program with the committee.

This meeting was held in the activities building inside the prison, but the atmosphere in that room transcended prison walls. It didn’t matter if you were an inmate, staff member or one of the civilian visitors — everyone left the meeting changed for the better in one way or another.

During the treatment court committee meeting the next week, Judge Wallace said the meeting with the inmates was “life transforming” for him.

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