Ex-Armed Services Personnel
Since Stephen Phillip’s review of veterans in the criminal justice system (published in December 2014) and the government’s response, prison and probation services have been much more aware of issues relating to ex-armed services personnel. In addition to having to learn to run the practicalities of their own lives, often for the first time, many people leaving the armed services to (re-) join civilian life have to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other difficulties associated with combat experience.
How many veterans in the justice system?
Nevertheless, we still do not have accurate information about how many veterans end up getting into trouble and being sent to prison or supervised in the community but the prison and probation services have started trying to monitor this.
Since January 2015, prison staff complete the Basic Custody Screening Tool on all newly received offenders into custody (whether convicted or remanded) which includes a question if they have served in the Armed Forces, including as a Reservist. The latest MOJ figures published in June 2017 show that Ex-Armed Service Personnel (ex-ASP, the term used by HMPPS) account for approximately 3% of offenders who responded to the question. Since January 2016, the National Probation Service has also been required to get all individuals coming into contact with probation to complete a self-declaration form to identify whether they are ex-ASP.
An early estimate provided by the Military of Defence’s Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) study in collaboration with the MOJ completed in 2010 found that ex-ASP comprise around 3.5 per cent of the prison population and around the same percentage of offenders on licence.
Gaps in services
A recent (February 2017) report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies for the Probation Institute profiled and analysed the current state of services for veterans on probation in England and Wales. It found that there is no consistent, national strategy guiding provision for veterans on probation. Whilst there is national coordination of services for veterans as a whole in the health sector, and national coverage of service charities, the probation landscape is characterised by uneven development, with tailored services ranging from relatively well established, to recently operational, through to no identified existing provision.
This resource page lists the main helping resources available for veterans in contact with the criminal justice system.
Inevitably, many good examples have been left out. If you run or have experience of an organisation which does a good job in helping veteran offenders, please: Get in touch.
This section lists a range of helping organisations alphabetically; however the first resource anyone working with veteran offenders should check out is the Veterans’ Gateway which provides a single point of contact for veterans seeking advice and support. The Confederation of Service Charities is also a useful compendium of veterans’ helping services.
Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) AKA The Soldiers Charity provides lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers and their families and financial assistance when in need.
Career Transitions Partnership is the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement support, career transition advice and training opportunities.
Catch22 offer a structured support network that assists veterans in reducing re-offending and living a good life outside of a regimental environment. Volunteer mentors – ex-military veterans who are often former prisoners themselves – engage veterans and encourage them to join the support network.
Combat Stress provide specialist clinical treatment and welfare support to UK Veterans suffering from psychological injuries.
HMP Berwyn Armed Forces Veterans can reside on the Shaun Stocker Community, and men can link up with specialist support whilst residing on the community with National and local agencies like The British Legion, SAAFA, Change Step, Care After Combat and others. Barnados Cymru also provide a service where they identify and offer support to families who need extra help when their veteran relative is serving a prison sentence at Berwyn or Parc.
Forward Assist engage socially isolated or disenfranchised veterans, using group activities to give our military veterans a sense of purpose, direction and a sense of belonging.
Law for Forces offer free legal advice to those currently in the Armed Services, to those who have served, and to families.
Outside the Wire is a drug & alcohol treatment service for veterans in the Norfolk & Suffolk area.
Project Nova supports veterans who have been arrested or at risk of arrest, operating in the East of England, North West, North East and South Yorkshire and Humberside.
Regular Forces Employment Association are experts in providing a job-finding service which generates quality and sustainable employment outcomes for all service leavers and ex-forces individuals. They also deliver Project Nova (see above).
Right Turn is for veterans with drug & alcohol and offending problems. Run by Addaction, the 20 Right Turn projects operate on the premise that the comradeship underpinning military life can be redirected to support recovery from addiction and desistance from crime. (See evaluation here.)
Royal British Legion helping serving members of the armed forces, ex-service men and women and their families now and for the rest of their lives.
SACRO provides a mentoring service for veterans in Scotland in contact with the criminal justice system.
SSAFA provides a specialist prison in-reach service to veteran offenders in custody.
STOMP. The National Probation Service in Wales with its partners is developing a large range of resources under the STOMP (Supporting Transition of Military Personnel) banner. Once published, the link will be added to this page.
The Bridge Charity provides specialist psychotherapeutic services to those who have served in the armed forces, aiming to treat the underlying causes of emotional disorders and post-traumatic stress reactions.
Transition Force provides mentors and buddies for service leavers and helps with finding employment.
Veterans UK is an MOD service which provides support to enable the seamless transition from service to civilian life, assist bereaved families or respond to life events that present welfare needs. It has a helpline: 0808 1914 2 18.
This site also holds a number of more in-depth resources, all of which are free-to-access and/or download. These include:
- An Offender employment resource pack
- A resource pack for working with offenders’ families
- A resource page for working with women offenders
- The Transforming Rehabilitation Resource Pack
- The Innovation Showcase – an overview of the latest innovations in the drugs and crime sector
- A review of the Payment by Results Literature
- An interactive Payment by Results tool to assess the appropriateness of PbR for a specific service
You will also find a copy of the Criminal Justice Alliance’s Criminal Justice Dictionary if you need help with all the latest acronyms.