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Jails 'hold 8,500 ex-servicemen'

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Jails 'hold 8,500 ex-servicemen'

Old 31st Aug 2008, 09:07
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Angry Jails 'hold 8,500 ex-servicemen'

A sad state of affairs for the armed forces:

BBC NEWS | Wales | Jails 'hold 8,500 ex-servicemen'

Does anyone know if this has always been the case?
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 09:50
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Plus ça change!
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 13:58
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In the 1920s the soldiers left the lines of WW I France and equipped with what we now call PTS were posted to Eire. The PR chaps would have their work cut out to try and justify some of the treatment then handed out to the Irish people. The bottom line is that it is unatural to expect an individual subjected to war to return home armed with a pipe and slippers, happy to watch TV and read the paper. Especially when the 21st Century war is often nearer to trench warfare than any conflict in the latter part of the 20th Century.

I think that if you add to these stats the UK homeless who are ex-servicemen unable to readapt to society you may start to get to the truth of the matter.

Any conflict is indicative of mankind having failed. Those whose lives are changed forever need care; and a prison and street corner is not a place of care.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:02
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Top post there Tiger, I agree totally.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:16
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Bleak or what?

Good points, TM.

Look, for instance, at children in care who are officially on their own at 16; many of them join the forces which then becomes their family. On discharge they're lost and become the homeless and the drifters who so often end up in jail. The various ship, regimental and squadron associations and the RBL and others do their best to help but they can only work with the ones they know about. Those who, for reasons various - often linked with perceived authority figures - do not come forward are the most vulnerable.

What do we do for them? Not a lot.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:21
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I recall seeing a BBC prog about homeless ex-servicemen and was staggered at the numbers and stories they told, mostly drink and drugs, and not a lot else. Very sad.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:37
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TM has already alluded to the post-WW1 Black and Tans. Anyone who thinks servicemen having a very hard time adjusting to 'normal' life after returning from a war zone should read 'Whistle', the third book in James Jones' 'From Here to Eternity' trilogy. Sobering reading.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 16:00
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Those whose lives are changed forever need care; and a prison and street corner is not a place of care.
What a brilliant quote! I'd vote for you. Ever thought of standing for PM?
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 12:10
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Is this news report not another case of someone distorting the statistics for their own purpose. "One in eleven (9% of) prisoners have a military background" sounds bad in some eyes but "ten out of eleven (91%) prisoners have no military background" tells a different story.
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 12:20
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And your point Chris?

9% of the prison population is highly signifcant when compared with the percentage of ex-servicemen in the population at large. Given a military population of less than 200,000 the number of ex-servicemen amongst the 25 million work force in UK is minute.

There was a possibly more alarming percentage of immigrants in the prison population. If we measured the percentage of ex-servicemen in prison against the indigenous prison population the figures would be even starker.
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 15:09
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I have written elsewhere on here that people leaving are suddenly left to fend for themselves (accomodation, often food etc) in a way that they previously did not have to. At the same time they lose touch with all their friends. Finally there is the fact that they may have had 'issues' before they joinbed up which were never solved, just suppressed by the forces life.

Often the armed forces organisations would actually be able to offer help. unfortunately at first the servicemnan is proud and believes he can cope. He then sinks slowy into trouble and is reluctant to seek help because his pride will not let him admit to forces how low he has sunk

In the shelters I tried to help a few but they would not let me contact anyone connected with forces. Their psychological issues are not sufficient to make them a danger to anyone else so they are left for 'care in the community'.

I remember particularly one infantry ex-NCO, good boxer. He had a flat but came to the shelter for food and most importantly company. Watched him die, week by week
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 15:55
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If I recall correctly, when I joined in the '60s there were 4/5 RAF Hospitals in UK, 1 in Germany, 1 in the Middle East and 1 in Singapore. The Army and RN had their own Hospitals throughout the World. The Military Medical Services Posts were much sought after by Junior Doctors as a way to see the World; broaden their experience of practical Medical matters and to take advantage of the wide range of Medical Courses that the Military would encourage them to partake in.

Now there appears to be nothing but a couple of wards in a Hospital in Birmingham and, due to a magnificent fundraising effort, rehabilitation at Headly Court.

Any Government that has presided over the almost total destruction of the Military Medical Services, at the same time as committing our Armed Forces to combat on 2 Fronts in far away places, deserves to be impeached. Our Servicemen and Servicewomen deserve better than Weasel Words - and lack of funding - from the "Man from Kirkaldy".
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 17:14
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WHAT has that got to do with 9% of the prison population being ex-service?
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 21:04
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I think cazatou is saying that if the medical services were still there then the servicemen, and women, with mental heath problems or PTS could be treated there and not end up in prison later.
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 09:25
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While the proportion of the population who are serving is low, the propertion who have served is obviously much higher, I'd guess at around 2-3%. So ex-servicemen are 3-4 times more likely to offend than the average population. However, a headline figure can be used to prove/disprove anything.

HOWEVER, hopefully it'll be a strong kick up the proverbial for additional support where it's needed and the additional funding required. Further, it should also bring about a proper study, with a comparison across the World and through time within the UK. Why are these 9% in prison? Is there a common cause or trend that can be identified? Are they more likely to come from a particular force? Are they more likely to end up in prison if they've seen active service? Is there a difference in offending rates between those whot take up PTS counselling and those who don't?

The report asks more questions than it answers, and I think the Gov should answer these questions with funding for a proper military-specific survey.
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 13:50
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Tiger Mate

TM What an insightful post. You are right on the money.
This is a worldwide problem. In my limited experience (Australian Army, two operational deployments) I have seen have lives of quite a few collegues unravel after returning home. Some become addicts of some kind (especially alchahol), some beat their wives, some just become completely unhinged and some sadly commit suicide.
The worst part is the fact that Defence (at least in Australia) completely washes their hands of them once they are no longer able to serve. They are just burned up and thrown away. It is disgusting and makes me extremely angry.
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 20:06
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I would like to know what proportion of those in prison are ex Army/RAF/Navy etc. Some, I am sure would be in prision whatever their chosen profession earlier in life.
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 20:52
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What a curious post.

Originally Posted by Report Line View Post
I would like to know what proportion of those in prison are ex Army/RAF/Navy etc.
A reasonable question.

Some, I am sure would be in prision whatever their chosen profession earlier in life.
This is a non sequitur. It is almost as if you are suggesting that one service will have more in prison than another. Why not find the answer to your question before reaching a conclusion.

Edited to add:

Today's Torygraph (3 Sep) p20f Liz Hunt says that it is estimated that the number of veterans is 8500, ie not an absolute figure, and up from 2004 from 5% to 9%.

She previously said "former soldiers" which suggests strongly that the veterans are largely from one part of the services. If true this would increase the percentage of ex-army veterans in prison in relation to the population at large. This would enable accurate focus for post-service care where it is needed rather than across defence as a whole.

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 3rd Sep 2008 at 08:40.
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Old 3rd Sep 2008, 13:33
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Targetting the care is the key rather than introducing some MOD wide policy which is directed at all ex-service personnel. If there is a relationship between PTSD or CSS and criminality post service, then some Services or indeed Arms may well be subjected to focussed assistance. I know PTSD may affect all but I would wager that the combat arms in the Army and some trades within the RAF may be more susceptible/higher probablity. Just a thought.
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