“Is the Prison Service in England and Wales fit for purpose?” To some extent yes, apart from the much-publicised issues of: overcrowding; a conspicuous failure to reduce re-offending; unacceptable rates of suicide and self- harm; unsafe; awash with illegal drugs; increasing levels of violence; staff shortages and prisoners being locked up for 23 -hours each day in many instances.
The number of UK veterans in our gaols is in the region of 3,500 comprising mostly NCOs and former Army personnel. They deserve a second chance. Care after Combat, a veterans’ charity founded by Jim Davidson OBE, Goose Cryer MC and Simon Weston CBE in 2014 has been reducing reoffending in this deserving population since May 2015.
Through a process of mentoring, provided during the final 18-months of sentencing and continuing for a period of 12-months following release by veterans who have undergone formal training, reoffending has been reduced to 8% in comparison to 45% of the general prison population. The service is known to be cost effective and operationally efficient and reduces the ever- burdening prison population.
Despite the publication of an increasing number of reports and discussions with several Ministers, Care after Combat awaits further funding in order to continue its’ important work not only for veterans and their families but HM Government, HMPPS, NHS (CMHT most notably), Social Services, DWP; Police and judiciary.
The sad truth being the Charity will cease to exist if we are unable raise sufficient donations from our many friends and more importantly without further Government financial assistance.
“Give us the tools and we will complete the job”.
Dr Nicholas Murdoch
Head of Research
Care after Combat