The VCP will provide military veteran offenders with a positive, holistic and safe community based alternative to custody and community supervision, with purposeful training, personal development, therapy and through-care support, enabling them to stop re-offending, access employment and forge meaningful lives as worthy citizens.
The following powerful film serves to highlight the potential challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life. Many veterans end up in the CJS.
The majority of former military personnel return to civilian life and forge very successful second careers, many starting their own businesses or reaching senior leadership positions.
Regrettably, an increasing number are finding themselves in prison or on probation. Currently military veterans represent 7% of the prison population, the largest single occupational group within the custodial estate (circa 6,000). Similar numbers are on probation and community orders. Others are homeless, suicidal or experiencing family breakdown.
I believe that the Veterans Change Partnership (VCP) has the potential to reduce re-offending and by inspiring, equipping and doing, enable veteran offenders to rebuild their lives and re-establish the sense of pride and self worth they once knew. I fully endorse the endeavours and objectives of the VCP and hope that others will also be inspired to do so too.
Having served their country and put their lives on the line, it is tragic that so many military veterans end up on our streets or in our prisons.
Most simply failed to make the transition back into civilian life and have developed various levels of mental illnesses, including stress, anxiety, depression and Combat Related PTSD. This situation all too often results in increasing levels of self-harm and attempted suicide. The impact upon their families can be profound. Recognising the Nation’s commitment under the Armed Forces Covenant to support our veterans, I am left wondering why we are failing so many of them.
The Veterans Change Partnership includes individuals who are committed to improving the quality of life of these veterans, giving them hope for the future. Having used their own personal limited funding to develop the programme to where it is today, they are now at the tipping point for delivery.
All they need is sufficient start-up funding to recruit and train the staff team and purchase the necessary equipment and transport. With such support, they will undoubtedly make a difference and help to address the desperate needs of this important group of our society. Please help them to help others.