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Inside An Experimental Jail For Veterans Only (HBO)

In a barracks-style room in Billerica, MA, 25 veterans wake up everyday and divide into squads for PT and cleaning routines. They are not on an army base or in a VFW hall, but in a county jail.

This is HUMV, the Housing Unit for Military Veterans (the inmates came up with the name) at the Middlesex County Jail. It is one of a very small but growing number of jail units dedicated solely to veterans that have arisen across the country in recent years, and it’s being used as a model for new ones.

The unit is designed to replicate aspects of the military that will make them feel supported—the walls are covered in murals of Iwo Jima, flags, insignia of the various military divisions. It’s also built around daily, targeted rehabilitative opportunities—inmates attend rigorous programming from parenting classes to PTSD counseling.

VICE News goes inside HUMV to see military life behind bars, and visits a professor and Vietnam vet who thinks these prison programs are getting one crucial thing wrong.

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35 thoughts on “Inside An Experimental Jail For Veterans Only (HBO)

  1. I have seen many veterans come through the veteran housing programs in several jails. they are paroled early to take part in va long term drug rehab or ptsd program. it works by introducing veterans to the VA

  2. Why the US government can't give proper help, therapy, education or health to a lot of people who gave part of their life and mental health in the line? If you can't take care of vets, then don't send them wars that don't affect the USA directly.

  3. The problem in the US is the privatization of jails, and that means great programs like this are discouraged. So many are owned and operated by companies that are not interested in people getting out and staying out. Why would they? They make more money with people in. State government are sometimes also required to fill quotas of inmates or pay huge penalties if they are not at capacity. We need to opt out of the privatisation of jails, so that now programs like these can exist!!

  4. We need more programs like this. I am in love with this idea. I help the homeless a lot and at least 25% of the people I help are veterans. There right there really is no training to show them how to go from Army mode back to civilian mode. Most people think that exploding fireworks on 4th of July honor them when in reality most vets I know don't like Fourth of July because it brings back their PTSD. The Army really does condition them to fight but doesn't really condition them to rejoin normal life.

  5. Prisons are privately ow Ed. For profit. We are animals to them no matter how. Small our crime. Bad check public drinking, murder. They re all the same. Guards think they all. Are garbage period. When private individual owns the prisons, then men will. Get the basic necessities. Like dogs at a shelter. They make a lotta mo em off tax payers and prisoners, that's why judges give longer sentences.
    Ther is your real story vice!

  6. I'm calling it now. Putting vets together. They come together for eachother to the death. They'll be classifying them a gang. I guarantee someone, somewhere in our country will try and pull so bullshit like that.

  7. prisons were meant for rehabilitation, but now it's just for a free workforce. The prisons end up turning non violent small time criminals, into hardened ones, which means after they are let out, they will be right back in, What incentive do the prisons corpeoations have to rehabilitate? the goodness of their hearts? yeah, because corporations are known to act in the best interest of the people.

  8. Ex prisoners go back to crime because no one will hire them. We should get back manufacturing job from China so they can have a decent job. That's the only way to rehabilitate them.

  9. I'm thinking if it would work putting the same thing in practice for other groups like young offenders, I think that's too broad. Military is experiencing specific trauma and that is why it could work, but grouping based on age might not be enough…

  10. So Veterans Should be Treated Differently Because they Served? They Should be Treated and Put in Same Prisons With Other Criminals. Sorry. Why Should Veterans Be Treated Better or Special?

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