Prisons Exposed (Not sure where this would go)


Book Reviewer
Theres quite a big book section on here - and lots of reviews too
You should get in contact with old fat snd hairy and arrange to give arrse a copy to review on here :)

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Does the book explain why being a veteran magically makes them less guilty?
No It explains about those that were suffering from PTSD that were jailed when they should have been treated, which is not neccessarily a failure of the justice system rather a failure of the civvy healthcare system, if these guys had been treated then maybe they would not have gotten themselves in trouble to land them in jail. My brother in law spent 11 years and 43 days in some of Britain's toughest jails for a murder he didnt commit. He was later aquitted and dedicated his life to campaigning for miscarriage of justice victims and families. He changed the law five times and successfully sued two home secretaries. He wrote his first book on his personal story which was released in 2008. The Death of Justice. There is so much misunderstanding about prisons he decided to write his second book about that.
So nothing showing being ex-forces proves they're not guilty?

If I seem harsh it's because I'm getting fed up of people punting stuff on the back of the current fad for Armed Forces popularity. Squaddies are cut from the same cloth as everyone else and sometimes they commit crimes. I don't see why criminals shouldn't wind up in prison.


Does the book explain why being a veteran magically makes them less guilty?
Because we're all bally heroes and it's a well known fact that one of the main symptoms of PTSD is to go out and murder or assault people.

We recently had a bloke who was nicked for public disorder or something similar whilst out on the piss. His girlfriend started screaming at the Police that he was a war hero and had PTSD, he'd never been on tour and if his girlfriend had kept her trap shut the Police probably wouldn't have had to phone camp.

I'm not detracting from the book, I'm sure the author has taken many stories of claimed ex-servicemen on face value, but without proof of their service I would be skeptical of any claims of service.
I think this not so much about what they did, more about why they did it.
I can understand why that might interest people, but the same goes for any criminal. Understanding why they did what they did is the key to stopping them doing it again and possibly even preventing others going down the same road. It's no different for ex-mob than for never served.

Punting a book which " includes a chapter (a whole single chapter!) about veterans in prison and how they are treated" on a forces oriented website strikes me as just a bit opportunist with more eye to sellling copies than explaining the situation of veterans in prison.
To Counter Bluffer Ops, i do believe i have already conceded your point in an earlier post.

And to smartascarrots yes it may be a little oportunistic, but as I have not read the book I was simply trying to do something nice for my brother in law who has had a tough few months. But then again you have not read the book either so you are hardly one to judge.

My family is a forces family and we still have members of our family that are on active service, that is why i like this website. I thought that some arrsers may be interested in what this book has to say. But then again maybe all you are interested in is critisising me for a benign post about a book that may or may not do some good in this country.
Agreed about the scepticism. Don't forget, however, that as Jarrod's post shows, quite a number of our prison staff are themselves ex-service and have no difficulty at all in telling the difference between a genuine 'veteran' and a PTSD walt.

Not to mention that genuine 'veterans' in prison are not necessarily that tolerant of prison 'walts'...

Not so easy of course to tell the difference between a genuine 'veteran' whose past service has nothing whatsoever to do with his (usually his) crime, and those where it might be relevant.

Past service issues aren't confined to PTSD. There are less glamorous issues like alcohol abuse, and pre-service factors like abuse in childhood. For some people, the service IS their family - which works as long as they are serving.

One prison officer suggested to me that a factor in some individuals getting into bad ways was our tendency to operate in "gangs", a tendency which sometimes spills over inappropriately into civilian life.

A common myth in these discussions is that all these crims are making up or exaggerating their PTSD or whatever in order to get off, or to get their sentences reduced. No doubt it does happen. Past military service would rightly be mentioned in a plea in mitigation after someone has pleaded or been found guilty. Claims of diminished responsibility due to PTSD etc would be examined far more rigorously than that.

There's more I could say on this. I totally agree with the scepticism. However, it should not deter anyone from shedding light on this particular area.
And to smartascarrots yes it may be a little oportunistic, but as I have not read the book I was simply trying to do something nice for my brother in law who has had a tough few months. But then again you have not read the book either so you are hardly one to judge.
I've read your post and can tell from that what a small portion of this book is dedicated to ex-forces in prison, though.

I don't wish your brother anything but the best but I suspect the public are going to start to suffer from compassion fatigue any minute now and cramming the slightest incidental connection to 'our brave lads' down their necks is only going to hasten that. If it winds up lessening the intention that directly relevant matters receive will it still seem such a good idea?
Define "veteran"? To my knowledge, and I stand to be corrected - The armed forces is the only occupation that has stats collected wrt inmates. What percentage of ex-ASDA employees wind up in jail? We do not know as the stats are not collated. Also, as far as these stats are concerned - anybody who has spent more than 2 minutes in basic is classed as "ex-forces". Now how many prisoners are gonna say: "yeah I was in the army but left after 7 weeks"? They aren't. They will glamourise and the inevitable dodgy knee or freaked out after seeing a mate fragged in "The Ghan" will be slipped into conversation.
Amazing how so many people in the forces, when pinged for a crime all of a sudden develop PTSD. There is also an industry growing around this. I've said it before - PTSD - it's the new ADHD.

I stand to be corrected on any of the above.
How do you know without reading the book that the information presented in it is not directly relevant?
I don't need to read the book to tell you that as far as prisons are concerned - anybody who has spent a minute in the forces is categorised as "ex-forces". Are you saying anybody tagged with the ex-forces label is treated more harshly? Jarrod, who has lots of experience of working in prisons has already stated there's a hell of a lot of false claims to former service in the prisons. Has the author checked the authenticy of whoever he based his book on in the relevant chapter?

The inmates who are ex-forces controversy is a logical fallacy. If stats on inmates who have eaten cornflakes at some point in their lives were collated you could have the headline "Cornflakes are the root of all crime!".
Well this is a subject close to home for me. As I am one of those who ended up inside after coming back to the real world. I was diagnosed with PTSD in prison having committed a violent offence. This was taken into account when I was sentenced as a mitigating circumstance.

Should I have gone to prison Yes. In short it was the best place to be. In prison I got the Help that I needed (As I still do now from the NHS) It was no way the terrible experience that some people make it out to be neither was it the holiday camp that the average Daily Mail reader would belive it to be. All any squaudie needs to know about prison is.

• It is mostly quite boring
• There is the occasional bit of violence
• But mostly it is just posturing
• You get to re educate and sort your problems out

So in the first three counts just like the Army. The forth point is the best in my book in that you got the chance to improve yourself. Having joined the army at sixteen with little more than a couple of CSEs this was a god send, in being able to fill the gaps in my education (currently studying for Psychology Bsc). Having said this there are still people that would rather stay on the wing and push a mop about all day than take advantage of the opportunities available, but they tended to be the type that were in and out of prison for most of their lives.

As I have already said the help with the PTSD I received was outstanding. I fact I wrote to Her Majesty about this and received a nice letter back saying how the letter had been passed on the PMs office for consideration for an award to the CMHT in the prison . As you would expect nothing came of this as CMD was too busy giving out MBEs to gang members that had allegedly turned their lives around, whilst concurrently boasting of their gangster ways on face book. Still that’s politics.

On the point about what personage of the prison population are veterans, well this is hard to pin down as it is an issue that the government is not really comfortable with and to be truthful not an issue that is really looked at compared to others. One example of this is monitoring of ethnicity, the MOJ seems obsessed with it. Any paperwork that you come across in prison you will have to put down what ethnic group you are from. Even when signing in to the prison gym. I would change mine week by week (I the interests of diversity). On one wing that I was on, of forty inmates, four of us were Afghan veterans and one ex Navy. We were a tight knit little group and looked out for each other. This however was on an enhanced unit, and can no way be taken to represent the overall prison population.

Many of the Screws are Ex forces (For any on this site I know you don’t like to be called this, but let’s face it not really a derogatory term and you have all been called worse in your time) and as a whole just get on with a difficult job.
As to the OP point about people maintain their innocence. I have every sympathy for these many could just accept the finding of the court and get out a lot quicker but to keep fighting against what must seem to be impossible odds shows great strength of character that most people could not even comprehend.

Finally I will end this long and rambling post by echoing what Smart as Carrots said we are all cut from the same cloth. The dichotomy of the forces and prison is in the public perception. On the one hand anyone in the forces is a hero, often for just spending a few minutes in a NAAFI queue. On the other hand those in prison are the very devil. As is ever the reality is somewhere in between. After all are any of us truly the men we would like to be?
Also, I have it on very good authority that the organisation Combat Stress has been inundated with referals for PTSD for people who, when checked, did not have the service history to back up their claims. Anybody here heard that also? That there are a hell of a lot of walts trying to use the Combat Stress program as a badge of honour?
It's become a tactic for younger offenders of late when sentencing reports are made, mostly chavs in their early twenties, plead guilty, claim PTSD, get an aw diddums from a magistrate and a community service order.

When checked it turns out most were thrown out early in basic because they couldn't stop pinching things or thumping people at the ATR.

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