Freehold: Sheriff Shaun Golden is leading the way when it comes to assisting veterans upon release from the Monmouth County Correctional institution through a joint partnership with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Healthcare System. Under a newly formed agreement, which is the first of its kind in the state, the Monmouth County Correctional Division is now able to provide the VA access to videoconferencing with veteran inmates at MCCI. The goal is to expedite services such as medical, mental health, housing and employment assistance prior to the release of a veteran inmate.

“Some veterans that come into the Monmouth County Correctional Institution have nowhere to go upon release nor do they know where to seek medical treatment, employment or counseling,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “Videoconferencing provides quick and direct access between the VA outreach specialists and an inmate, and, greatly improves the gathering of information and eligibility process.”

Veterans Outreach Specialists visit correctional facilities regularly once a month. Video conferencing will provide them with greater access to incarcerated veterans to establish a plan prior to their release.

Sessions will be set up 48 hours in advance, twice a month, with the visits lasting about 30 minutes. The calls would come in from the VA New Jersey Healthcare System in Lyons, N.J. and would be conducted in a private area of MCCI.

“The Monmouth County Correctional Institution does not have a large population of veterans, but it’s important to have this type of outreach program in place, since veterans can be at risk to a number of problems,” said Warden Barry Nadrowski.

The Monmouth County Correctional Institution is a nationally accredited, 1,328 bed direct supervision facility. Video conferencing has been in effect at MCCI for ten years and is used for court appearances with municipalities, Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey.

“We are glad to be in the forefront when it comes to assisting our veterans,” said Sheriff Golden. “It’s vital that correctional institutions provide veterans with the proper resources to help them reintegrate back into society.”