Saturday, 25 October 2008

One in ten British prisoners are ex-Forces

Research carried out by the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) shows that roughly 10% of those incarcerated are ex-services. Elfyn Llwyd brought attention to this fact by hosting a parliamentary debate last Tuesday. He talked of receiving communication from one ex-serviceman:

"...on the conclusion of his tour of duty he was flown to Cyprus with his comrades for three days’ R and R. There was alcohol day and night. On the concluding day, they were all put together in a hall and an officer asked them, “Any problems, anybody? No? Fine.” Tick the box, and that was it. Obviously, in the macho culture that exists in the services, those men would not admit problems in the presence of their friends and comrades."

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have calculated that as of late 2007, the UK had spent some £7bn on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While this may compare favourably to the $3tn that the USA has spent, why hasn't more of that £7bn been spent on post-combat care?

Llwyd went on to quote an article from the Independent on Sunday that sets out some MoD expenditure: "£86.8 million was spent on private education for officers’ children, and in the Royal Air Force £1 million was spent on chauffeurs, £3.4 million was spent on waiters in officers’ messes, £800,000 was spent on bar staff and £2.8 million was spent on paying chefs."

Not only does the government send them to fight an unjust war and is failing them in combat, it does not care enough what happens to them when they return.

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