The N-Module-3 housing wing at the San Diego County Jail was recently repainted red, white and blue, signalling a program begun this month that aims to reduce recidivism among veterans who have slipped into the criminal justice system after leaving the structured world of military service, reports the Los Angeles Times. Thirty-two veterans serving sentences or awaiting trial have volunteered to live in the module separate from the other prisoners and participate in classes meant to increase their chances of making a law-abiding return to civilian life.
“We’re all dedicated to making this work, nobody wants to go back,” said Jeremy Thomas, 22, who served with the Marines in Afghanistan and lost his left hand when a roadside bomb exploded. Each veteran agreed to take classes Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to assist with problems of post-traumatic stress disorder, anger management, substance abuse, parenting and other issues. “We hope that by putting them together we can rekindle that esprit de corps they had when they were serving their country,” said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. Nationwide, a small but growing number of jails have housing and programs specifically targeting veterans, an effort that the VA encourages and supports by forming partnerships with local law enforcement.