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North Wales MP's - U.S. Veterans Courts - PTSD - Justice


By jimstaro - Posted on 06 October 2010

An important report on a Europeans review of Veterans, U.S. Veterans Courts, PTSD and Justice and Help for!

This is the type of lead the rest of the World used to look to the U.S. for, we were never perfected but working that way, and many here were once so good at it. Sadly this issue is another that comes out of our recent failed policies of destruction and terror waged on others, DeJa-Vu all over again. But shows that those who deplored our actions recently, and have been turning their backs to us in many area's including economic, are finding some of the old America and it's once Leadership Role in the World Community as we try to rebuild what we've lost and move back in the right direction!!

North Wales MP's experiences of treatment of ex-servicemen and women in USA

Oct 5 2010 - RECENTLY I travelled to the United States as part of a delegation sponsored by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

We are currently researching the issue of why so many ex-servicemen and women end up in prison. We were asking what can be done to lessen the trend and what can be initiated to assist those already in the prison system.

I was intrigued to read that on our itinerary we were to visit a Veterans’ Court.

Instinctively I was perplexed and not persuaded of the merits of setting up a criminal court supposing to cater for the needs of any class of society because, after all, equality before the law is a cherished an vital component of the legal system in England and Wales.

Having visited the Veterans Court in Buffalo, New York State, the reality was quite different.

Snip

They were all ex-servicemen back from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were also some ex-Vietnam veterans.

Each was assigned an ex-service person who volunteered to act as a mentor.

These mentors were also to speak the same language as the offender and bonds formed fairly quickly.

The offender is taken to the Court and reports produced about him – he or she moved then appear every three weeks or so to appear before the Judge to give and update on his/her progress back towards full integration into the community.

Snip

On the second day we had several valuable briefings at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington.

Every serviceperson is tested for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury on discharge and there are a range of generous benefits available to veterans. There is help with housing, finding work, free health cover etc.

Roughly 9% of veterans end up in the prison system – around the same number that the National Association of Probation Officers believes to be the case in England and Wales. In the United States however, the Veterans Affairs Department asses that between 30 and 35% of ex-servicemen and women return suffering from PTSD and TBI.

This is dismissed out of hand in the UK where military and government authorities believe the figure to be minimal.

I believe that the UK authorities could be in PTSD denial and time will tell.

Snip

I chaired a meeting and found that many of the things they were saying were similar to the evidence taken from ex-service people who got involved with crime in England and Wales.

Typically, leaving a highly structured military environment and having little or no support outside. They have no help to find work, no help to find housing, no help with debt management or substance abused etc.

One person spoke eloquently – he was an ex-Vietnam veteran who had served 30 years without huge bitterness.

During his time in prison he had studied law and he put the case for them with clarity and precision.

Returning home on the fourth day I was tired but also excited at what I had experienced. {read rest}

Boy will it take a long time to just get back to where we were once, if we ever can!

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