Incarcerated Veterans: No Vet Left Behind

Yes, there is an Incarcerated Veterans Program sponsored by the VA. That’s right. No joke. In an era when we want to ensure no veteran is left behind, we have programs for the prison population.

According to the VA, the program is designed to address “the community re-entry needs” of incarcerated veterans. Great. And that’s a VA responsibility? According to the VA’s own publications, veterans possessing better than a dishonorable discharge are eligible, though the VA declined to comment beyond its published information. Queries on the number of veterans in the program at any one time also went unanswered.

Annual incarcerated vet program cost: The VA did not comment on that either.

If anyone, like lawmakers, is concerned about allocation and scarcity of resources for the majority of veterans, we are unsure why a program like this exists. Yeah, thugs are people, too, but there’s a limit. As with many other social welfare programs, it seems those who are unable to play by society’s rules get the public’s monetary sympathy while those who might just be squeaking by (on the good side of the law) are not otherwise eligible for VA programs. But it’s comforting to know if they were to become homeless or go to prison, then they’d fall under one of several programs targeting this population. What a deal. There’s incentive.

The program pushes money out to community-based organizations that apply and are qualified to help these deserving criminals. Our guess: there’s little oversight and this money works its way into other community initiatives that might not involve veterans. State and local public agencies may apply, as well as nonprofits. Also, for-profit commercial entities may jump in and turn a profit. Maybe lawmakers like this program — potentially more bucks in their districts. Show me the money!

If we’re going to squander tax dollars, why not take this a step further? Why not break the incarcerated veterans program down and rank the criminals by those most in need by crime? The multiple-felon veterans’ program? The repeat-offender veterans’ program? The white-collar crime and the sexual predator veterans’ programs? The drug king pin veterans’ program?
Absurd? Is it any more absurd than the program itself?

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