I have just returned from visiting Her Majesty’s prison Winchester. We have 23 veterans in Winchester some of whom I’ve known for quite a while now. It was good to see them. I wish more people could see inside our prisons. There are those who think that prison is too soft. There are people who believe that they should be locked up and the key thrown away. There are also people like me who believe that prison should be a place where baddies can learn to be goodies. I applauded Michael Gove when he stated that prisons should not be warehouses to keep people. I totally agree with him. What I see when I visit our prisons is dedicated staff who, despite being short on numbers, go out of their way to try and make the prisoners life bearable, to keep them safe. What we want is to reduce reoffending. It is a known fact that 40% of prisoners will reoffend within the first year of their release, this rises to 60% in year two. This is crazy. Care after Combat take care of former members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces that have found their self behind bars. In the last 18 months we have had 100% success with regards to reoffending. That is a good thing and it is in everybody’s interest that we keep up this good work. Hopefully the information that we have collated over this time can go towards helping other non-veteran groups. It is in everybody’s interest to stop reoffending.
So, Merry Christmas to all our veterans in the criminal justice system. May they do their time in peace and come back to us as better people, and may God give us the strength and the wisdom to welcome them.