An innovative program just launched by King County is working to give incarcerated veterans some of the skills they need to thrive back in civilian life once leaving jail.
The King County Incarcerated Veterans Program was designed to provide services tailored to the unique issues faced by those in the military and tackle the underlying causes that may have caused their incarceration. The county has jails at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent and in downtown Seattle.
“Of all the challenges faced by our military veterans, transitioning back to civilian life should not be one of them,” said King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, who first sponsored legislation calling for the program in 2014, in a media release. “Early results of the program already look promising and I am excited to see what the future holds.”
Veterans returning to civilian life often face the taxing realities of their service to our country and can struggle with the transition, causing some to serve time in jail. Services provided for veterans in King County Jails now include assessment and referral for substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, transitional housing assistance, and job referral and placement services. All services are provided in a separate, veteran specific pod that helps support participants.
Many veterans also suffer from such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that occurs from the psychological shock of war and can cause persistent mental and emotional stress indefinitely, especially if left untreated.
The program went into effect earlier this year.