Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
The number of veterans in prison and on probation in England and Wales continues to rise. Estimates vary from official 2009 figures of 3.5% to unofficial but soundly based estimates of between 10-14% today. These do not include Scotland, Ireland and elsewhere. Whichever are the more accurate, veterans represent the largest occupational group in the Justice System. Many suffer with combat related mental health issues and struggle to settle into civilian life. Many families experience breakdown, veterans become homeless, ending up in the criminal justice system. When recognising the Military Covenant and that our veterans and their families have served with courage, honour and pride, they surely deserve better than prison. We therefore respectfully ask Parliament to legislate for veteran offenders to be seen as a special case, so as to avoid prison and to be supported back into society.