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If this doesn't scream "Failure", Im unsure what does.

Georgia opens first jail devoted to U.S. veterans

The problem of US military veterans falling into a life of crime after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has reached such levels that a law enforcer in Georgia has opened what is believed to be America’s first county jail devoted to veteran inmates
It is true that running afoul of the law is more than "too common' for those who have spent a couple tours of duty and are sent 'home' with little more than a pep talk and a plane ride to decompress from several years of being on heightened alert 24/7.

So, as is common in America, instead of providing treatment, we find a jail and say things like

“It’s really unique. What we’re bringing together is a lot of resources,”

I have heard a lot of veteran's returning stories in the past 2 years. Too many of them involve young recon marines returning home and one way or another getting into trouble with the law or, worse, shooting loved ones in times of stress, stress that seems to begin about a week after 'returning home'.

Up-to-date figures on the number of imprisoned veterans are hard to come by, but the problem is known to be extensive. A report from 2004 calculated there were about 140,000 veterans in US federal and state prisons but that might be a small fraction of the total as many more are held at county jail level.
The report ends with at least one quote from a person identified as an 'inmate' who says it's pretty nice thre for a jail and he feels like he is finally getting help.

That's all well and good, I suppose but why should veterans have to go to friggin JAIL in order to get the help they need particularly when the friggin pattern is so friggin clear?

Possibly because some - somewhere - want to deny the problem and basically save money NOT treating them? Senator Patty Murray (D-wa) has led an investigation that may suggest just that:

Fearing the Army might be mishandling the matter, Washington state Sen. Patty Murray said Wednesday that she has begun an investigation into whether military hospitals across the country are denying treatment to service members with post-traumatic stress disorder because of cost considerations.

The Democrat, who is chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said she decided to take the step to make sure that Army officials “don’t just bury this under the rug” as they investigate the issue on their own.

“I will not be satisfied until I know that they have done an absolutely in-depth evaluation and found every soldier that may have been misdiagnosed — in a timely manner — and get them the care they need,” Murray said in an interview.

The Army already is conducting at least three separate probes amid disclosures that Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord has reversed hundreds of PTSD diagnoses for patients who were up for medical retirement. Murray’s office said last week that a review of PTSD cases dating to 2007 found that 290 of 690 diagnoses — more than 40 percent — had been reversed by a medical screening team.

This puts everybody at risk and is a true and demonstrable disservice to those who have their ass out over the line for you and me.

Sending them to jail is just outrageous and unaccpetable.

Originally posted to DFH Local No 420 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos, DKos Military Veterans, and Netroots For The Troops®.

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Comment Preferences

    •  What about the horrendous suicide rate? (12+ / 0-)

      Something is terribly remiss with the American military establishment. I think basic training screws with these people's minds and does not know how to undo the damage upon discharge.

      A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame
      Published: April 14, 2012

      HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.
      Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

      •  I disagree with one line (8+ / 0-)
        I think basic training screws with these people's minds and does not know how to undo the damage upon discharge.
        The Army and basic training helped me more than I can write at this time. (Basic in 91)

        The problem is that Army docotors (if you even see one versus a physicians assitant - PA) just push you through and don't treat you for didly (no matter what the problem)

        And this is where the problem really occurs ...PSTD

        I swear the US Army has stock in Motrin!
        Hell, one time the PA told me  "You have the flu, go back to work"

        "Stupid is as stupid does" - The republican motto you can believe in as they live it daily!

        by Mannie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:50:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The VA has improved markedly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          over the last 35 years, in my experience. I'm not a PTSD sufferer, teaching skiing in Italy was not that kind of bad duty, so my story is different. But, over those years I've had occasion to use their services on an irregular basis. Gory details aside, I'll just say that the quality of medical services and the attitude of the personnel has steadily improved from my point of view. From the rear point of view however, those damn hospital gowns have not improved at all though. My Kudos to the VA in general and the SF VA Hospital in particular, despite the recent unfortunate incident; NASTY!

          For me, basic in '72 was a real letdown, I kept waiting for the hard part. I guess growing up with Duck and Cover drills, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassination and my Dad, not necessarily in that order, had prepared me for far worse. Its not basic that destroys people, its personal experience of brutal death, and a military structure constitutionally incapbable of dealing with the fact that it does.

          I will also say that having that red white and blue Veteran's card to thump down on the table during a political debate has proved to be pretty useful as well. Thanks for bringing up this important issue, Capn' Zombie, Sah!

          Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

          by Old Lefty on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:09:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I forgot to mention that most vets in prison had (8+ / 0-)

      the same relationship with The War on Drugs that most of the rest of us did.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:51:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. That is really some support for the troops. (10+ / 0-)

    Time to dust off my antenna flag and my yellow ribbon magnet.


    by voracious on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:35:03 PM PDT

  •  I guess. (4+ / 0-)

    But recruitment standards during the Iraq War were very low.

    Criminal backgrounds, gang affiliations -- many hints of less than savory character were ignored by recruiters because of chronic shortages of able bodied soldiers.

    I'm not really surprised many of these recruits fell back into a life of crime upon their return.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:37:24 PM PDT

    •  yeah, but it doesn't help that we have a very high (15+ / 0-)

      unemployment rate and high homeless rates for young vets. and don't forget about PTSD, and something that is not talked about, over medication of our military. It's happening just as it is to the civiilian population.

      "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

      by blueoregon on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:42:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sockpuppet, blueoregon

        But I'm just saying that's not the only reason.

        Fact is, the army was recruiting many thugs during the Bush years and it's not surprising that these recruits are still thugs upon coming home.

        In fact, many law enforcement experts predicted it.

        If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

        by Bush Bites on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:47:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The incarceration rate for veterans is no larger (6+ / 0-)

          than the general public. But, veterans have different needs and are at higher risk for suicide when incarcerated.

          Don't forget that the military trains soldiers in violence and encourages and instills social structures that are identical in every way to that of gangs in civilian life. You could say that the military creates highly trained "gangs of thugs".

          You may want to view the following PDF

          Research Brief ___

          Veterans in Correctional Systems
          Noonan and Mumola (2007) also developed a profile of U.S. state and federal prisoners. They observed that veterans were more likely to be serving a sentence for a violent offence, had shorter but more serious criminal records, served longer sentences, had higher mental health needs, and were older than their non-veteran counterparts. More specifically, Noonan and Mumola (2007) reported that:

          • More than half (57%) of veterans in state prison were serving a sentence for a violent offence (compared to 47% for non-veterans). Among those violent offences, 15% were for homicide, and 23% for sexual assault and rape.

          • Generally, veterans had shorter criminal records than non-veterans in state prisons, but they are sentenced to longer prison sentences than non-veterans—and they served a greater proportion of their sentence.

          • A higher proportion of the veteran population in state prison had a recent history of mental health services (30%) compared to non-veterans (24%).

          • Combat service in the veteran prison population was not related to higher levels of mental health histories or receiving services within the year prior to admission.

          • The median age of veterans was 46 years, compared to 34 years for non-veterans.

          • Veteran inmates were more educated than any other inmates: The rate of college-educated veterans in state prison (1 in 3) was triple that of non-veterans (1 in 10).

          The points above suggest that many imprisoned veterans in the U.S. have high risks and needs.
          Similar to what has been reported in the United Kingdom by NAPO (2008; 2009), McGuire (2009) identified that some U.S. veterans required support in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, employment, and homelessness.

          The RAND Corporation (2008) recently reported that almost one-fifth of armed services personnel were suffering from PTSD or depression, or had received a traumatic brain injury (p. 1). Of those soldiers, less than half reported getting treatment for these injuries. Low rates of participation in treatment are especially problematic given that PTSD has long been recognized in veteran populations (see French & Wailer, 1983) A Canadian study by Richardson, Darte, Grenier, English, and Sharpe (2008), reported that “almost 25 percent of soldiers suffering from an Operational Stress Injury (OSI) do not seek professional help, and those that eventually do seek help, due to the stigma associated with OSIs, can delay doing so for up to seven years” (p. 58). Thus, there seems to be a reluctance to participate in treatment. If left untreated, however, veterans with these conditions were thought to be more likely to commit suicide, as well as become homeless, abuse drugs or alcohol, or place a strain on family relationships—all of which are criminogenic factors.

    •  More. (7+ / 0-)
      The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown about 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show.

      During that time, the Army has employed a variety of tactics to expand its diminishing pool of recruits. It has offered larger enlistment cash bonuses, allowed more high school dropouts and applicants with low scores on its aptitude test to join, and loosened weight and age restrictions.

      It has also increased the number of so-called “moral waivers” to recruits with criminal pasts, even as the total number of recruits dropped slightly. The sharpest increase was in waivers for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the Army’s moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide.
      U.S. Army Sgt. Juwan Johnson got a hero's welcome while home on leave in June of 2004.

      "Not only did I love my son - but my god - I liked the man he was becoming," his mother, Stephanie Cockrell, remembers.

      But that trip home was the last time his family saw him alive.

      When Johnson died, he wasn't in a war zone, he was in Germany.

      "He had finished his term in Iraq," his mother said. "I talked to him the day before his death. He said, 'Mom, I'm in the process of discharging out. I'll be out in two weeks'."

      On July 3, 2005, Sgt. Johnson went to a park not far from his base in Germany to be initiated into the 'Gangster Disciples,' a notorious Chicago-based street gang. He was beaten by eight other soldiers in a "jump-in" - an initiation rite common to many gangs.

      "My son never spoke of joining a gang," Cockrell told CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras.

      Johnson died that night from his injuries. His son, Juwan Jr., was born five months later.

      "I feel like I didn't prepare him enough to deal with this and I should have," his mother said. "But how would I have known there were gangs in the military? I could have had that talk with him."

      Evidence of gang culture and gang activity in the military is increasing so much an FBI report calls it "a threat to law enforcement and national security." The signs are chilling: Marines in gang attire on Parris Island; paratroopers flashing gang hand signs at a nightclub near Ft. Bragg; infantrymen showing-off gang tattoos at Ft. Hood.

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:42:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Iraq invasion and occupation was a (8+ / 0-)

      criminal enterprise. A whole lot of deception was needed to keep it going.  Which means, essentially, that the troops were victims of abuse.  Abuse has long-term consequences.
      We knew that going in.  That's why some people were, are and will be opposed to that misadventure.

      How do you fix a bruised psyche?  

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:57:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We have utterly failed our military. (16+ / 0-)

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:39:07 PM PDT

  •  In 1986 at FCI Texarkana a guy named John Woods (5+ / 0-)

    was intent on starting the first Incarcerated Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter (IVVA) and the regular VVA was all on board. In fact, even much of the prison staff was friendly, so many of them being fellow vets and all. The problem was the big brass, so I signed on to help with preparing formal requests, appeals, etc.

    Long story short we ran into the need for a court case, and made the standard prison inmate filing to be allowed, on the basis of lack of income, to have fees and costs waived. A year and a half later, at the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, a panel of Reagan appointees said "put up or shut up" because there was nothing sufficiently rehabilitative or socially redeeming in that whole undertaking to justify having taxpayers chip in a couple of hundred bucks for the cause.

    I guess that we should have just been patient until someone finally got around to volunteering some services for the population that we were trying to get help for. Let's see, 26 years from then to now, so give it, say, what, another generation before someone actually decides to take some part of the whole situation seriously?

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:48:30 PM PDT

  •  This has to be a military moral-builder. (9+ / 0-)

    Uncle Sam screws them up, then says “Hey, they’re screwed up, so we have to put them in jail”.
    Talk about ‘supporting the troops’.

    •  & when that turns into a for-profit prison of vets (5+ / 0-)

      ... wow ... USA put them at risk, then figured out how to farm them out for MORE money and misery!

      •  Monetizing misery - see, only in USA can we turn (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        martini, blueoasis

        IRR (the military on 'ready reserve' after discharge) into a fine heaping cash reserve and dividends for stock holders.  

        This isn't quite the American Way which we ask our soldiers to commit their lives to defending and train to do so more effectively and with better resources than other militaries.  Although, post discharge, investing in the lives of veterans in succeeding as productive, engaged and sociable civilians doesn't seem to have a prioirty.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:32:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  those veterans, if empowered, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          might just politically collute to END WAR.  That, m'dear, would NEVER suit the War Machine.

          •  Silly us...thinking we fight wars to dislodge the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            enemy blocking our preferred path to peace.  And the War Machine doesn't want us even getting to this point, and surely not without another hotspot emerging.  An d with flying robot drones zapping enemies with Hellcat missiles, the War Machine can flourish wihtout boots on the ground getting too dusty or bloody.

            When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

            by antirove on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:36:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Links not working (4+ / 0-)

    Here's a working one.

    Georgia opens first jail devoted to U.S. veterans
    A report from the Drug Policy Alliance exposed high levels of substance abuse among veterans, accompanied by mental problems with as many as one in three suffering from PTSD and depression.

    In addition to the mental health consequences of prolonged exposure to war zones, deactivated military personnel often struggle from other social problems that can lead them towards incarceration. Homelessness is a common state of the military veteran with the Veteran Affairs department estimating that 67,000 veterans are homeless every night.

  •  My Father Worked At High Levels (8+ / 0-)

    within the DoD. Taught at the Army War College. You might think my father was "pro war." Well not so much. He might be about as much a pacifist as I am. Just cause you prepare for war doesn't mean you have to fight one.

    I was taught war is not sexy. It isn't "fun." The phrase "war is hell" is said for a reason. War is in fact hell. Those that serve have to do things that are just not right. Terrible things. We ought to understand his. Respect this. Help them. We are not doing that IMHO.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:06:06 PM PDT

    •  Mega hell! Hell on steroids! The worst hell (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, Woody

      imagineable. And then some.

      (And, yes, a very distinct and private hell, because I don't think that any two people have ever been in exactly the same war at the same time.)

      But then I wimped too, so what do I really know?

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:19:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They can make more clear profit with jails than (6+ / 0-)

    with treatment centers (i.e. those expensive and pesky healthcare providers). Just about every mystery can be solved by following the money.

  •  Disgusting on so many levels (12+ / 0-)


    It seems that building prisons is what we are good at.

    Incarceration Rate

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:25:08 PM PDT

  •  Star Trek The Next Generation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...did an episode about this called "The Hunted".

  •  How is this legal under title 38? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Woody, xxdr zombiexx

    Now I am crying.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:12:17 PM PDT

  •  This would never ever have happened had (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, blueoasis, Woody, Iron Spider

    this asshole not invaded Iraq.  Forget Bin Laden.
    He IMO was on the same terrorist level as Bush.
    Put Bush and Cheney in jail and then we will see justice ..Maybe,   I wondered how we were gonna handle this mess......Now I guess I know.  things keep going like they are... I will HAVE to leave the country.
    I no longer recognize anything but the terrain.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:26:29 PM PDT

  •  This kind of sh*t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Vetwife

    makes me furious.  Whether I agree with the missions these folks have done (or with our whole foreign policy) or not, these people have risked everything for me.  To see them so dismissed and dishonored turns my stomach.  We have promised them that we'd take care of them, but the end up in effing jail?  Gah!

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:01:40 PM PDT

    •  Things are a little different in Canada (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, Iron Spider
      B.C. judge saves Afghan war vet from prison
      "If we can send people away to war ... we ought to be able to patch them up when they come back," he said.

      Berube pleaded guilty and was facing a long prison term until B.C provincial court judge Peter Doherty intervened with a stay.

      Doherty said jailing Berube, "might strike thoughtful Canadians as manifestly unjust."

      Berube's case highlights a growing need for mental health services for veterans, said Evans.
      Evans noted that Berube is about to receive treatment for PTSD, but now also faces the stress of losing his home, as a bank recently filed to foreclose on his mortgage.

  •  Patty Murray is awesome about the VA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Anderson, Woody, Old Lefty

    The Seattle VA was a lifesaver for many of my friends, vets from Vietnam.  (However due to cuts in the budget and returning veterans, the quality/availability has suffered so much.)

  •  They have special courts dedicated to veterans (0+ / 0-)


    Which the NYTimes paints as not an entirely bad thing:

    EVERY month Americans come home from military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan having seen intense combat. Nearly 20 percent of the 1.6 million veterans of those wars, researchers say, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    While trying to recover, these service members sometimes fall into drug and alcohol abuse and crime; too often, they end up in prison. Fortunately for them, an alternative to the regular criminal justice system is being tested in several states: veterans courts.

    •  if it NYT says it does but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, Oh Mary Oh, VeloVixen

      it doesn't many of the times.  Take a situation I know personally.  A 100 percent disabled vet is already sick from ptsd..been adjudicated as such..100 percent..sitting in a VA ER and becoming agitated.  Has waited for hours in pain and flashbacks and when they disagree with the policy non violently but aggressively vocally ..The VA cops want to haul them off the Veterans court or jail.  EXcuse me?  They court is to order them into treatment rather than jail but if they are seeking treatment and being dismissed...What is the Va security doing creating more problems threatning court?  They then brag they have a Veterans court..?  The vet was sitting in a hospital awaiting treatment.  It doesn't work some of the time and this jail won't work either.  Two things I know a lot about...Veterans and Georgia.

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Mon May 07, 2012 at 08:21:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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