Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lest we forget what NATO, including UK forces had to endure during operations in Bosnia and Croatia.   Yet again, this film demonstrates why it is that so many men and women suffer with PTSD and other mental illnesses often leading to entry into the CJS.


The film, made by the BBC, shows the impact of the war on the people of Bosnia and Croatia.  Our military personnel had to cope with these situations.  Yet, like Northern Ireland, many of those who we not there have forgotten what happened. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Crisis in our Prison estate by somone who has earned the ' T ' Shirt!

I commend this article and its associated blog to all who are interested in prison reform!

I Rant Therefore I Am : What Am I Doing?: ( If you wish to hear a recording of this blog I have recorded it  Here, click on the "What Am I Doing" Tab.) I sit h...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

VCP Start-up Funding Appeal

Hi All,

Readers of this blog will now that we are endeavouring to raise sufficient start-up funding to begin a programme of rehabilitation for military veteran offenders and support for their families. On our web site - http://veteranschangepartnership.co.uk you will find more details, including this link -

- https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/shirley-anne-fison-ambassadorforveteranschangepartnership

All and any support would be appreciated; thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Creating a Social Movement for Health - RSA Health

The RSA recently ran this conference at the RSA London - ow.ly/qJoK304pHGk

Recognising that most offenders suffer with various levels of mental illness and that the conference had a strong focus on health-care in the community, the models under discussion could equally be applied with offenders in prison and the community.  I am left wondering if the MOJ will tap into the principles described. Unless they do, I regret that little will change.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Prison UK: An Insider's View of Veterans in Prison

A Prison Landing fit for Heroes?

This article, by Alex Cavendish, highlights some of the many challenges faced by military veteran offenders in prison and the numerous failings that still exist - http://prisonuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/a-prison-landing-fit-for-heroes.html

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Official Stats show flow of veterans into prison.

These official stats show the flow of veterans into prison over 5 months.  Regrettably, it does not show those on community orders / Probation


Between July and December 2015, 1,439 former members of the armed forces entered prison. Of these, 1,399 were male and 40 were female.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why is Change so slow?

6 years ago Erwin James wrote about veterans in prison for the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/feb/09/erwin-james-soldiers-prison .

He followed this up in Inside Time, highlighting an excellent book by veteran Jimmy Johnson - http://www.insidetime.org/the-veterans-survival-guide/

Since then the problem has continued to grow.  Is it simply too big for the Government to care to admit to, or are they hoping that, with time, it will all go away?

Saturday, July 09, 2016

USA Veterans Incarceraton levels in Prison

The historic and current levels of US military veterans in custody suffering with PTSD are significant.   Whilst recognising the differences in size and type of military structure between the US and UK forces, there must surely be similarities in the impact of combat operations. 

Notwithstanding the somewhat political introduction, which one can either support or ignore, this US film serves to highlight other important issues and statistics, many of which can also be seen here in the UK, all of which we should be very concerned about!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Devon Forces Family Web Site

This website-   https://www.devonforcesfamily.org.uk/about/has been developed by the Devon Armed Forces Community Wellbeing Partnership (DAFCWP). This partnership provides strategic direction to improve the health and wellbeing of the Armed Forces Community living in Devon.

In September 2014 the DAFCWP published a South West Peninsula Veteran’s Health Needs Assessment. This report found that, of the approximately 107,000 veterans living in Devon, a large proportion had a positive experience of serving in the Armed Forces. However, a minority experienced adverse physical and mental health problems, which could be compounded by other factors such as financial and welfare problems.

This website provides an online directory of services provided for service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families living in Devon. It provides topic overviews, links to relevant information and services and access to support, including those leaving prison -https://www.devonforcesfamily.org.uk/leaving-prison/

Monday, June 13, 2016

VCP Crowd Funding Appeal

We have started a new Crowd Funding appeal towards the work of the Veterans Change Partnership.  All donations are gratefully appreciated.  Please tell your friends and colleagues; thank you.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Developing Entrepreneurial talent among offenders.

In-prison entrepreneurship programmes could play a key role in preventing re-offending, according to a report by Sheena Leaf, who spent eight weeks in Norway and the USA researching programmes aimed at rehabilitating offenders through developing their entrepreneurial skills.

This report serves to highlight the positive outcomes that arise from such provision and demonstrates that punishment alone is the least effective way of reducing re-offending. 

See - http://www.wcmt.org.uk/fellows/news/developing-entrepreneurial-talent-among-offenders

Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Liminal Space - Understanding Imprisonment and Detention Comparitively

Professor Francis Pakes gives his enlightening thoughts on prisons and their impact upon reducing re-offending -  https://vimeo.com/148992275 , comparing the UK / Dutch models with that of Norway.

His lecture is a must for those who have an interest in reducing re-offending and the notions of freedom vs custody and what he describes as the spiritual dimension and the normalisation and care of prisoners.  If  the UK were to establish similar approaches, the financial and human savings could be significant.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Displaying of Comments

Thank you to all those who have commented on my blog.

Whilst I am able to see these, for some reason, unbeknown to me, they are not visible to others.  Is there anybody who can assist me in rectifying this issue please?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Forgotten WAR - Northern Ireland

When reflecting back to the 70's it is not difficult to understand why so many military veterans have gone on to experience mental illness and ended up entering the CJS. -

The impact upon their families must also not be forgotten!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Number of Veterans in Prison continue to rise

Reports by the Chief Inspector of Prisons show that the number of military veterans in prison has continued to rise and now stands at 7%, circa 6000+, with similar numbers estimated to be on probation / community orders. 

Prisons get urgent £10m to tackle suicide and disorder - see the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/24/prisons-urgent-funds-tackle-suicide-disorder

An extra £10m is to be pumped into English and Welsh prisons to tackle a rising tide of violence and suicides, the justice secretary, Michael Gove, has announced.
Gove described the most recent suicide figures – more than 100 in the past 12 months – and increasing number of assaults and disorder in jails as “terrible” and cause for “considerable personal concern”. - http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/24/prisons-urgent-funds-tackle-suicide-disorder
The extra £10m is to be made immediately available to prison governors for extra prison staff; more training, including on suicide awareness; additional equipment, including body cameras and CCTV; and on additional drug testing, including for legal highs.
“I am well aware that the most recent figures for deaths in custody and violence in prisons, which the [Commons justice select] committee’s report highlights, are terrible,” he said in a letter to the committee published on Tuesday.

US Army Veterans Suicide Rate

The USA recently declared that, on average, 22 US Army Veterans were committing suicide daily.  Clearly UK numbers are no where near this total; however, it is indicative of the massive impact mental illness can have on those who have suffered traumatic experiences in combat.  Those providing therapy are struggling to meet the demand and many veteran are ending up in prison.