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Barracks Behind Bars: In Veteran-Specific Housing Units, Veterans Help Veterans Help Themselves


This paper is the second in the National Institute of Corrections justice-involved veteran compendium project. It illuminates programs in jails across the country and how justice involved veterans have been helped by them. It illustrates the design, development, implementation, and sustainment of initiatives taken by enlightened, pragmatic corrections officials who have set up veteran-specific housing—in pods, dorms, units, wings, or floors—and programming for military veterans.

Barracks Behind Bars introduces several of the facilities and the men and women whose vision is paying off with reportedly fewer behavioral problems and incidents of violence by incarcerated veterans. This may contribute to a less stressful, safer environment for correctional personnel and facilitates opportunities for assistance from the Veterans Justice Outreach specialists of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, personnel from state and county departments, and volunteers from community and veterans organizations. This white paper shares the views of jail administrators, judges, and formerly incarcerated veterans – each of whom have stories to tell – in their own words.

"At one time in their lives, these men took an oath to protect us. If they were willing to lay themselves on the line for us, we owe them this much."

From Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Middlesex County House of Corrections, HUMV

"Prisons and jails are starting to recognize that bringing together veterans in a confined setting benefits discipline and order."

From Evan Seamon, Major, Army Reserve and advisor to veterans at the Harvard Veterans Legal Clinic

Download the Barracks Behind Bars PDF

To request physical copies of Barracks Behind Bars please contact the NIC Information Center using the helpdesk form.