Authorities in Muscogee County, Georgia say they’ve found a great way to let veterans of US wars share their experience with one another. It’ll just happen behind steel bars and under lock and key.
Officials from the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office recently held a press conference to discuss once of the department’s newest endeavors and they believe that it is the first of its kind in the country. Tucked in a corner of the county jail in rural Georgia is a dormitory specifically reserved to house inmates that have fought for America.
"There ought to be a place in our city that provides a facility where veterans can stay for a period of time while being treated, physically and mentally," Ret. Col. Roy Plummer said, reports the local Ledger-Enquirer. "Soldiers will find a way to link together
Never mind the Veterans Affairs bureaus and commonplace community centers that are constructed across the country. Authorities in Georgia have noticed an alarming number of US vets being convicted of crimes after returning home and are hoping that the best way to handle the influx of inmates is by grouping them together.
"They'll find a way to revisit some of their experiences and share it,” added Plummer.
Unfortunately, those experiences are often traumatic ones — so traumatic, in fact, that an alarming number of veterans are developing mental disorders after returning to the States and, without proper treatment, ending up on the streets. Lacking adequate help, American war vets are often left to live on the streets, where entering a life of crime can be just one wrong turn away.
“They are coming home to a disproportionate rate of homelessness, of foreclosures and evictions. In 2010 a whopping 75,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the United States were homeless; were sleeping on the streets,” Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner tells RT.
“When you come home, you’re foreclosed on, your job is gone, and then they want you to go to shelters. And shelters pretty much housing criminals, drug addicts, and a lot of us can’t tolerate that lifestyle,” adds homeless US army veteran Joe Mangione.
For those that can get by with soldiers-turned-junkies, however, the homeless shelter now has some competition with the Muscogee County jail. County Sheriff John Darr says that, for now, the dorm can only accommodate 16 veterans, but if a trend of vets-turned-convicts continues, other states might soon follow suit.
Raw Story reports that there are around 140,000 veterans detained at US federal and state prisons in 2004. Outside of the cell and on the streets, the latest numbers out of the White House estimate that US veterans on the street make up a chunk of around 900,000 of the country’s homeless.