John Smith is a veteran. He served his country for 16 years. In 1996, left the army. Since then, his lives had been marked by stints in jail. He is hopeful that he will be able to eventually break the cycle of incarceration in his life. This house is a proving to be a good step. Recently, Smith, who is 55, has moved to a new housing unit that is exclusively for veterans. The housing unit is at the Jefferson County detention facility and hosts 32 people. All of his housemates have been disciplined legally at some point in their lives, which is a point of bonding with the housemates.Smith realizes that being around other veterans who support each other, it is a positive way to regain the discipline to veterans and boosts the morale. Among the benefits offered by this particular housing unit arrangement is that there is quicker access to classes and training facilities, healthcare options, in addition to the housing. When interviewed via telephone, John Smith shared about his activities that he completes that make his schedule. They include his scheduled VA classes, yoga, anger management classes, conflict resolution and successful community re-entry. This arrangement is provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The Jefferson County jail is a second county lock up unit to house veterans in a single unit in the state. Each unit has a vision of being accessible to training and services that are aimed at preventing the veterans from returning to jail. This is a growing trend. A similar program was started in 2013 by El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. They house 71 prisoners. Jails in the Pinal Country, Ariz., Middlesex County, Mass., and other states have embraced the similar veteran-housing programs. It is our duty to protect and help serve our veterans.