Sex, violence, and drugs land ex-servicemen behind bars
An estimated 20,000 veterans are now in prison, on probation or on parole
Comparisons with the general prison population reveal that ex-soldiers are twice as likely to be jailed for sex offences. The Government study estimates that 3.5 per cent, nearly 3,000 inmates, of the total prison population are military veterans, many of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now represent the largest single occupational group held behind bars in England and Wales.There is also a marked increase in the proportion of military veterans convicted of violent offences, raising concerns about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The most common offences were violence against the person (33 per cent) and sexual offences (25 per cent). Drug offences accounted for 11 per cent. But compared to the general prison population, veterans are far less likely to commit acquisitive offences such as burglary and theft.
The latest figures also show an increase of 613 inmates from the last time the MoD looked at the ex-service prison population at the beginning of the year. The report says: "The estimate of the number of regular veterans in prison has been revised up to 2,820 (3.5 per cent of prisoners). The additional 613 prisoners will be older veterans who exited the regular armed forces prior to 1979 (Naval Service), 1973 (Army) or 1969 (RAF)." The problem has increased to the extent that the number of former servicemen in prison or on probation or parole is now more than double the total British deployment in Afghanistan, according to a new survey published today. An estimated 20,000 veterans are in the criminal justice system, with 8,500 behind bars, almost one in 10 of the prison population.