Thousands of war veterans locked in British prisons

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Aug 31, 2008.

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  1. Thousands of war veterans locked in British prisons

    One in 11 prisoners serving time in UK jails is a former member of the armed forces, a new report reveals.

    By Ben Leach
    Last Updated: 12:04AM BST 31 Aug 2008

    War veterans make up around nine per cent of the prison population Photo: GETTY IMAGES
    More than 8,000 veterans are currently behind bars, many of whom have served their country in Iraq or Afghanistan, researchers found.

    A high proportion of the convicts interviewed in the study had suffered some form of post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the forces. Often their convictions were for drug- or alcohol-related violence.

    Ex-services charities said the findings highlighted the difficulty which many former soldiers face in making the transition to civilian life.

    The National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), which carried out the research, called on the Government to do more to tackle mental health problems suffered by people who have fought in war zones.
    More on the link
  2. Missed it. Thank you
  3. Evidence perhaps that the Army's "decompression" and soldiers/ex-soldiers access to community psychiatric services just ain't working.

    The governments recent Service Command paper claims among other things that already "fifteen departments of community mental health, with satellite centres overseas...have improved access to mental health care. Veterans with operational service since 1982 have access to expert mental health assessments through the MOD's medical assessment programme at St Thomas' Hospital in London" (comment: seems a bit far to go if you live outside the smoke). This is partially addressed by the intention to roll at additional CP services at "6 locations across the country", but this could take another 2 or 3 years. Someone needs to get their finger out, especially as evidence suggests a rise in the ex-services element of the prison population normally occurs after a major conflict. Then again, when has the government ever applied lessons from history?
  4. One in 11 prisoners ex-forces?

    What is the total percentage of ex-forces in the UK population today?
  5. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    It's just been highlighted on BBC's 'The Sunday Show' & they mentioned the is a event being held in September in London.Sorry,I missed the details of what it is.
  6. In our local boozer about 8 out of 10.
  7. I have a bit of a concern with the 'Community Shrink' bit;
    patient 1: "I saw Elvis yesterday in my local"
    Doctor: "that's nice Mr Brown, are you still taking those pills we prescribed?""NEXT!!"
    patient 2:"I have nightmares and I think my husband is having a fling with my sister"
    Doctor:"I'm sorry to here that Mrs Smith, here's some pills to make the nightmares go away,NEXT"
    patient 3:"I keep reliving an ambush in Afghan where my best freind was killed and am very confused and angry"
    Doctor:"Sounds like you need 'Anger Management', here's a Foam Bat and a small teddy-bear. Use it twice a day and we'll see you in 3 months,NEXT!"
  8. This was in the Observer yesterday

    There was also a pretty graphic piece about the experience of Jimmy Johnson in NI who murdered two people after leaving the army both times he claims were due to flashbacks. He battered a guy to death with a pole, had no sense of doing it at the time but remembers a time he was fighting with a rioter hitting him with a baton gun.

    Obviously theres lots of guys who come out of the army with no PTSD (even if they've had traumatic experiences) so I wonder how much of any effect is down to the individual in the first place.

    But if the report is right there will be lots more ex forces personnel ending up in prison for violent crime.

    Should we adopt the US approach to 'decompression' treatment after a tour?
  9. The systems as they stand do an effective job for those who are still in the forces, that's not where the problems lie. The main problems come when somebody starts to struggle after they left. The MOD never really told GPs about the scheme (though our local ones know, I've made sure of it), and NHS provision for ANYONE with PTSD (it's exactly the same condition as for many people who've been abused as children, raped, involved in RTA etc) is poor. However there are now many CBT training schemes underway now as it has been realised that this is an effective way of treating the symptoms quickly and it does work.

    Another word of slight caution; there's a big difference between having a diagnosis of PTSD from a psychiatrist and CLAIMING to have PTSD, as it can be a handy excuse for what people choose to do in their lives. That isn't to say that anyone who says they have PTSD as that would be stupid, but I've worked with a number of ex forces people in a civvy psych setting who claim to have PTSD and actually have nothing of the sort on examination.
  10. This smacks of sensationalism all round. As someone has already pointed out, just what is the percentage of ex-service personel in the UK population as a whole anyway? The article in the Guardian seems to mix the terms "ex-Army"and "ex-forces" indiscriminately although the presence of former navy and air force people could only distort the conclusion they seem so intent on reaching. Another consideration is the ages of those in the selected group, you could have anything from a 17yr old young offender banged up for violence, who once spent six-weeks at ITC being booted out as unsuitable, to an incorrigible old lag of 70 who did his national service in the Navy during the 50's. What conclusion caould you possibly draw from these ?. This is a good example of a sloppily reported, context-free piece of journalistic tripe which throws no light on the subject and serves only to denigrate the Armed Forces and insult their members.
  11. Jimmy Johnson, currently in HMP Frankland, is one of the founders of the Veterans in Prison website: LINK.
  12. Some points there, but the preliminary research which the recent press reports were based on is far from being sensationalist. National Association of Probation Officers briefing:Ex-Armed Forces Personnel and the Criminal Justice System - LINK.

    NB the link is to a briefing note rather than the full report, but the anecdotal case studies listed there are almost all Army, a fact which was reflected in the media coverage. It is not suggested that PTSD is the only common factor involved.

  13. Jesus

    I've just googled ex soldier and life sentence and it has come up with a load of instances of trauma being a factor in a soldiers crime.

    Something HAS to be done about this.
  14. There is/was a book about this, obviously more about Northern Ireland than Now, but quite good, though some things were wrong, as i personally know, but some stories made you think. Damned if i can remember the title, will do some thinking, remember the publisher being something barbed wire, and Jimmy Johnson was involved with it.