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Welfare, Support & Contact
Special Support Programmes
Armed Forces Memorial
Veterans Advisory & Pensions
Committees (VA & PC)
Reaching Veterans in Prison
Official Government statistics estimate that 3.5% of the prison population in England and Wales are veterans. It is therefore important that those veterans who find themselves in prison are aware of the advice and support available to them as ex-Service personnel and the arrangements that exist to reach them.
Prison In-Reach (PIR) is an initiative that aims to ensure all veterans in prison or on probation, their families and those working with the resettlement services are fully aware of the support available from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) and the ex-Service organisations. This includes help before and after release.
The Ex-Service Offenders Working Group promotes the Prison In-Reach initiative and contributes to the wider Government goals of reducing the risk of re-offending. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) leads this Group, which brings together Government departments including the MOD, the MOJ’s National Offender Management Service - NOMS, the Prison Services, voluntary and community sector organisations, representatives from the Devolved Administrations. It is a non-executive body which helps to ensure we build a partnership approach to Prison In-Reach activities and to provide a structured and co-ordinated approach to tackling the issue.
The Group has ensured that prison and probation staff are aware of the SPVA’s Veterans UK website and that they can access the web site from their respective computer systems. Prison and probation staff should now be better informed on the work of the SPVA (including the help it provides to all veterans on pensions, compensation, access to Service records, medical entitlements, and welfare advice/support) and the services and support available from many other service providers including ex-Service organisations. Prison and probation staff will be able to share these details, as required, with ex-Service offenders.
The Royal British Legion, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association-Forces Help and the mental health charity Combat Stress all provide welfare visits to veterans in prison and to their families. These visits do not count against an offender’s personal visit allowance. It is important that veterans in prison, especially those close to their release date, have access to such visits if they need them so that they can be helped through the crucial period either side of release.
To continue to improve the ways we reach veterans in the criminal justice system, if you are aware of a veteran in prison or on probation, or you are a member of their family, please draw this information and the main sources of advice and support available to their attention. The more efforts we make to reach veterans, the more help and support we can offer.