“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, May 07, 2012

The rewards of Empire: Thank you for your service

First jail for US veterans will offer helping hand to a growing problem

New facility to provide veterans with specialist services as well as advice on transitioning back into the community
Prisoner in jail
The new veterans facility will be located close to Fort Bening, a large military base. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
The problem of US military veterans falling into a life of crime after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has reached such levels that a law enforcer in Georgia has opened what is believed to be America's first county jail devoted to veteran inmates.
John Darr, the sheriff of Muscogee County in Columbus, Georgia, has created the new facility in an attempt to break the cycle of recidivism by providing them with specialist services to help them deal with the problems they carry with them when they decamp.
"It's really unique. What we're bringing together is a lot of resources," Darr told the local Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
Among the partnerships that are being set up is a link to Veterans Court, a community group that works with veterans in prison suffering from mental illness. The new dormitory, that will house 16 incarcerated veterans, will also provide those soon to be released with advice and support as they transition back into the community.
Up-to-date figures on the number of imprisoned veterans are hard to come by, but the problem is known to be extensive. A report from 2004 calculated there were about 140,000 veterans in US federal and state prisons but that might be a small fraction of the total as many more are held at county jail level.
As sheriff Darr told Fox News: "If [veterans] are not dealing with issues they may have, where are they going to go? They're going to go to local county jails."
A report from the Drug Policy Alliance exposed high levels of substance abuse among veterans, accompanied by mental problems with as many as one in three suffering from PTSD and depression.
In addition to the mental health consequences of prolonged exposure to war zones, deactivated military personnel often struggle from other social problems that can lead them towards incarceration. Homelessness is a common state of the military veteran with the Veteran Affairs department estimating that 67,000 veterans are homeless every night.
The new veterans facility will be located in Muscogee County jail in Columbus, close to Fort Bening, a large military base. Inmates at the jail, that has been open for about a month, have told reporters they are pleased with the atmosphere inside.
Wilbert Cox, a veteran of 10 years' service in the army, told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: "This is the first time I've been in jail and it's the place I thought I'd be. We're not just thrown into the wolves' den. There is something available to us for our service to our country."


  1. The rewards of unending wars in the Middle East. The question is simple:

    Are we inducting criminals into the US military to support the wars without resorting to the political riskiness of restoring forced conscription or are the dirty wars taking their toil. Another off-balance sheet liability?

    I have a great idea, let’s get sucked into a really big war with Iran because Bibi has a twitch. There must be a few more shovel ready new prison projects just ready to go.

    1. I suppose it was inevitable. Exposure to so much insanity among his patrons for so long has finally driven the proprietor over the edge.

      I suspect it is a common problem among mental health care providers, also, kinda like the contact highs enjoyed by many back in the day.

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