ReBlogged from Eagle Radio with thanks:
6:01am 5th February 2016
A £20,000 grant has been given to Surrey Police to keep ex-soldiers out of prison.
Jeff Harris, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey is using the money, which comes from the Ministry of Defence, to support ex-veterans currently inside, as well as those struggling to adjust to ordinary life.
Veterans and ex-service personnel make up 7% of the prison population and it costs between £45,000 and £60,000 a year to keep each of them there.
The PCC’s office says if this scheme can prevent just one ex-serviceman, reservist or veteran entering the Criminal Justice System then this project would be self-funding almost immediately.
A veteran, who got on the wrong side of the law but wishes to remain anonymous, said: “When you leave the structure and standards of the forces you can feel very alone, rudderless.
“It was hard for me as we didn’t have a post code on the base so it was hard to get local services.
“I got depressed; it put pressure on my family.
“I drank too much and ended up scrapping. Spending a night in a cell was my wake up call.”
Leaving a structured lifestyle shared with like-minded colleagues who have been through the same traumatic experiences and adjusting to ordinary life can be very hard.
Some suffer relationship break ups, have difficulty finding work, fall prey to addictions and eventually become homeless.
20% of rough sleepers are known to be ex-service personnel, where at their last desperation, crime is a temptation.
Working with H.M Prisons, H.M Courts Service and the Probation Service the grant will fund research to identify the number of ex-service personnel in Surrey prisons and on license in Surrey and put together a group of mentors to support them and help them move beyond it.
It will also identify ways to divert ex-service personnel away from the Criminal Justice System.