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Friday, 25 September 2009

One in 10 inmates in Britain's jails is an ex-soldier, shock figures reveal


This should answer the doubts of a certain anonymous commentator named 'S', who was blue in the face and in denial about Abusive Army men in the Indian Army.

Read my previous blog of 'Biography of Child abuse victim' in a family with Armed Forces veterans.

One in 10 inmates in Britain's jails is an ex-soldier, shock figures reveal
25th September 2009
The Government was under fire for failing to support British troops returning from war today after figures revealed nearly one in 10 prisoners is an Armed Forces veteran.

Shocking research by the probation officers' union Napo shows some 8,500 former soldiers are currently in prison in England and Wales.

Another 12,000 have criminal convictions and are on the books of the Probation Service.

This means there are more than twice as many veterans in jail, on probation or on parole in the UK than the number of troops currently serving in Afghanistan.

Veterans in Scotland and Northern Ireland are not included, meaning the true figure is likely to be much higher.

The data was branded a 'disgrace' today as it reignited the debate over the level of protection and support offered to former military personnel.

Napo said the situation was of 'grave concern' and added to 'overwhelming evidence' that support for ex-soldiers simply was not good enough.

Assitant general secretary Harry Fletcher said: 'There must be a duty of care with the state to offer proper support, advice and counselling to soldiers, when they are putting their lives on the line.

'At the moment, many seem to cope by using alcohol and drugs, which leads them to depression, violence and offending.'

He added: 'If it's good enough for soldiers to risk their lives on the frontline then surely it must be good enough to offer them support and counselling on their return.'

The figures will only fuel growing concern about the overall treatment of the forces after a summer of rows over lack of equipment amid mounting deaths and injuries.

Just today, a senior general who had clashed with ministers over the Afghan conflict and policy towards the military revealed he is quitting.

Army sources told the Mail that Major General Andrew Mackay's decision to take early retirement was linked to his growing unhappiness over the treatment of troops.

Napo said its members reported that the 'vast majority' of veterans were not getting the support or counselling they need when they return to civilian life.

According to a sample analysis of 90 people on probation or parole, one in three had chronic alcohol abuse and one in 10 was on drugs.

Domestic violence was by far the most likely conviction for a veteran, accounting for one in three cases. Other violent crimes accounted for around one in five convictions.

One in four said they had post-traumatic stress disorder, but many went undiagnosed. Others cited depression and behavioural problems.

The group who took part included veterans from the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the sample was small, the figures give the best indication yet about the sheer scale of the struggle faced by ex-soldiers when they come home.

Neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Ministry of Justice currently publish figures on veterans in custody or on probation.

Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve said: 'It is a disgrace that so many who have served their country are languishing in our prisons. No-one is above the law, but this Government has failed to provide proper support to our troops on return home.'

David Hill, chief executive of charity Combat Stress, said he was 'not surprised' by the findings and urged ministers to look again at the services provided.

'Both the increase in demand for services and the severe and complex presentations we are seeing indicate to us that the six NHS Veterans' Mental Health Pilots are not adequate to deal with the scale and size of the problem,' he said.

The Ministry of Defence insisted the vast majority of former service personnel make a 'successful return' to civilian life.

'A small minority can face serious difficulties and we provide a wide range of support, before, during and after leaving the services, including the MoD's Prison In-Reach initiative,' a spokesman said.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman added: 'People entering the criminal justice system are from a range of backgrounds and present a variety of issues which have contributed to their offending behaviour. Staff support individuals in addressing these issues, working towards their rehabilitation.'

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