Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Are there more military veterans in prison than other occupations?

  • 23-04-2013 10:58am
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭


    OP, you might want to view recent Channel 4 and BBC documentaries on the numbers of BA ex-servicemen in prison for serious crimes up to and including murder. One man serving life for murder in Scotland spoke of being discharged but not "de-commissioned" for civilian life.

    I also think it is a mistake to join young as it may shape your outlook on civilian life if the only experience you have as a young adult is military life


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,049 ✭✭✭discus


    mathepac wrote: »
    OP, you might want to view recent Channel 4 and BBC documentaries on the numbers of BA ex-servicemen in prison for serious crimes up to and including murder. One man serving life for murder in Scotland spoke of being discharged but not "de-commissioned" for civilian life.

    I also think it is a mistake to join young as it may shape your outlook on civilian life if the only experience you have as a young adult is military life

    Fair point, but let's be real here, the majority of lads who end up in prison after the army, would have ended up if they weren't in the army anyway.

    I'll agree with your second point, I'm glad I joined mid-twenties, I imagine if I joined at 18 I'd be more than a little institutionalised.
    My parents suggested this and recommend the RDF supposedly because it's more relaxed and therefore better to start with, and if I'm still interested after a few years, then join the BA. I'd also have good qualifications under my belt.

    I wouldn't bother. If you're gonna join the BA, just enjoy civvie life before you go in. You won't know if you like army life by joining the RDF.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    mathepac wrote: »
    OP, you might want to view recent Channel 4 and BBC documentaries on the numbers of BA ex-servicemen in prison for serious crimes up to and including murder. One man serving life for murder in Scotland spoke of being discharged but not "de-commissioned" for civilian life.

    I also think it is a mistake to join young as it may shape your outlook on civilian life if the only experience you have as a young adult is military life

    Hmmm. Interestingly, you have not pointed out that people who are predisposed to commit crime up to and including murder come from all walks of life, not just the Military. One of the greatest mass murderers in British history was a doctor.

    I joined at age 21, and now, 46 years later, I STILL haven't murdered anybody.

    tac


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    Well holy God, if that doesn't bate Bannagher. I post a completely innocent well-meaning couple of sentences directed at a young man considering a military life, and I get taken to task because an ex-squaddie becomes defensive and takes my post personally and a mod goes completely OTT.

    But just to back up my concern, and any remarks I have not yet made, I can provide innumerable links to "... facts , urls, links or articles ... " for example a study by probation officers in the UK into why former soldiers form a disproportionate percentage of the prison population or another study from within the British Army as to why there are disproportionally larger numbers of ex-servicemen with mental health issues in comparison to the general population

    Or a 2009 study - Revealed: the hidden army in UK prisons - More veterans in justice system than soldiers serving in Afghanistan - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/sep/24/jailed-veteran-servicemen-outnumber-troops

    http://www.google.ie/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CEoQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.howardleague.org%2Ffileadmin%2Fhoward_league%2Fuser%2Fpdf%2FVeterans_inquiry%2FMilitary_inquiry_final_report.pdf&ei=wq12UfC0FY2yhAfm9oDQAw&usg=AFQjCNHQFLWGTmshS2W_1tQDQxhoL0aXKg&bvm=bv.45512109,d.ZG4

    I could point to the BBC's Today Programme (29/09/2009) which claimed that 10% of the prison population in the UK were ex-military.

    I could point you in the direction of the 12M+ links I found for example this one from the former barrister now MP Elfyn Llwd http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmwelaf/131/131we20.htm

    But as I only referenced what I saw and heard on the C4 / BBC documentaries recently I don't see the need to back up comments I haven't made or issues I haven't alluded to, unlike the barrister above who "noticed that increasing numbers of those appearing in court for serious crimes professed to have a military background" and "In one week in Crown Courts …" saw "… five separate cases involving violence but lacking any real motive or explanation. …"

    He goes on to make the following points, just FYI :

    "7. A survey conducted by the Home Office in 2001–02 recorded that roughly 6% of inmates were veterans, whilst a survey carried out by the MOD in 2007 estimated the number in one prison, Dartmoor, was closer to 17.5%.

    8. In the summer of 2008, Harry Fletcher of the National Association of Probation Officers published figures estimating that over 20,000 former veterans were then currently in the criminal justice system, 12,000 on probation, and a further 8,500 in custody—that would have represented 8.5% of the then prison population, and 6% of those on probation and parole."

    I offer the numbers to justify the concern I expressed in my first post and for no other reason, but I think they stand as a damning indictment of how ex-military personnel fare and are treated in civilian life in the UK.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,049 ✭✭✭discus


    Mate, you'd need to serve with, or live with some people, just to understand how they end up in prison. Joining the military in the UK isn't like the recruitment drives in the RoI, where we can get thousands applying for ~300 posts at a time, and therefore refuse characters who've been in jail, or seem likely to end there.
    "7. A survey conducted by the Home Office in 2001–02 recorded that roughly 6% of inmates were veterans, whilst a survey carried out by the MOD in 2007 estimated the number in one prison, Dartmoor, was closer to 17.5%.

    Hmmm... Dartmoor prison, close to plymouth, which ends up home of thousands of Army, Navy and Royal Marines. Imagine that it's high proportion of ex-services personnel is reflected in its prison population :eek:
    I offer the numbers to justify the concern I expressed in my first post and for no other reason, but I think they stand as a damning indictment of how ex-military personnel fare and are treated in civilian life in the UK.

    If it's PTSD, fair enough. But some guys just end up in prison because they are criminals.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    'According to the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice, approximately 2,500 ex-forces personnel are currently in Britain's jails, making up around 3% of the prison population. However, elsewhere a survey by probation officers' union NAPO last year put the total number in prison at 8,500 – 10% of the prison population. Added to the number on probation or parole, NAPO said the total number of veterans in Britain's criminal justice system was around 20,000, twice as many as are currently serving in Afghanistan.

    The truth may well be somewhere in between the two sets of statistics, and official numbers were released with the proviso that they may be subject to increase, when a further study of the data is published in the near future.'

    http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/criminology/research/current-projects/jt146soldiers

    Well, let's just put that into some sort of realistic context, eh?

    The population of the UK is ca.63,000,000 and out of that, ca.20,000 former military personel are in the prison or probation system.

    That is to say, a 8 one hundredth parts of 1 per cent - 0.08% of the population of the entire UK.

    As for the Republic of Ireland, with a population in 2011 of 4,588,252 - the prison population is presently 4541, but does not mention the numbers still within the criminal justice system.

    THAT figure represents 95 per hundred thousand of the total population, or 0.099% of the population.

    How many are former military is not mentioned either, BTW. So looking at it again, we have, let's say for argument's sake, 5000 ex-Toms actually in jail out of a population almost fourteen times bigger than yours, that's 8 one thousandths of 1% of the population.

    So, proportionally, you have more than ten times the numbers of prisoners of all kinds than we do. And you're saying that WE have a problem?

    Get outta here.............. :=/

    tac


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,195 ✭✭✭goldie fish


    Are there any stats available showing the work background of all those currently in prison? Cos I'd be inclined to say that at the top of the list would be "builder" or even "truck driver".

    But you can twist stats to suit whatever point you are trying to make.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    tac foley wrote: »
    ....

    Well, let's just put that into some sort of realistic context, eh?

    The population of the UK is ca.63,000,000 and out of that, ca.20,000 former military personel are in the prison or probation system.

    That is to say, a 8 one hundredth parts of 1 per cent - 0.08% of the population of the entire UK.

    As for the Republic of Ireland, with a population in 2011 of 4,588,252 - the prison population is presently 4541, but does not mention the numbers still within the criminal justice system.

    THAT figure represents 95 per hundred thousand of the total population, or 0.099% of the population.

    How many are former military is not mentioned either, BTW. So looking at it again, we have, let's say for argument's sake, 5000 ex-Toms actually in jail out of a population almost fourteen times bigger than yours, that's 8 one thousandths of 1% of the population.

    So, proportionally, you have more than ten times the numbers of prisoners of all kinds than we do. And you're saying that WE have a problem?

    Get outta here.............. :=/

    tac
    Which of course has no connection whatsoever with my original point. My concern and the topic of the split off thread has to do with the disproportionate number of ex-BA service personnel in prison.

    The statistics I referenced, however accurate, are produced from within the British establishment - MOD, MOJ, civil servants, newspaper reports on stats and studies, the prison system itself, serving MPs, etc.

    They are so concerned about the size of the problem that they are actually releasing (drip-feeding) information and studies into the public domain to create the appearance of activity.

    Similar studies in the US produce similar results. Google is your friend, I am not the enemy, nor am I by any stretch of the imagination anyone's "mate", I'm simply the messenger.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Two points.....

    First association is not causation - the stats from the Irish Penal Reform Trust make sobering and interesting reading, including the following:
    • Over 70% of prisoners are unemployed on committal and a similar percentage self-report as not having any particular trade or occupation.
    • In 2008, of the 520 prisoners who enrolled in the school at Mountjoy Prison, 20% could not read or write and 30% could only sign their names.
    • Prisoners in Ireland are 25 times more likely to come from (and return to) a seriously deprived area.
    It seems to me that taking a very simplistic view, walling off the deprived areas would help solve the crime problem.

    Second, post hoc ergo propter hoc - or 'after therefore because of' - you cannot conclusively link two events just because one (military service) came before the other (imprisonment or ciminality).

    In summary, the causes of criminality are myriad and ex-service personnel will commit crimes in the same way ex-plumbers, ex-teachers and ex-lawyers will - some will do it because they are inherently bad people, others will do something out of dumb stupidity, still others will do it out economic necessity.

    Finally, what about all the "non-criminals" the armed services create? There are undoubtedly people who enlist who, but for the Army (for example), would be more likely to be off nicking stuff or doing worse - in the same way there are people who make it through university or apprenticeships or take up sport and it diverts them away from criminality.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    Jawgap wrote: »
    Finally, what about all the "non-criminals" the armed services create? There are undoubtedly people who enlist who, but for the Army (for example), would be more likely to be off nicking stuff or doing worse - in the same way there are people who make it through university or apprenticeships or take up sport and it diverts them away from criminality.

    A good post and a very good point, too. Thankfully, we will never know now whether or not I would have been the greatest and most sadistic mass murderer in history had I not joined the Army at age 21. The days of 'Join up or it's jail for you my lad' are long ago and far away, but I certainly know of young men, particularly in the more violently disposed elements of the armed forces, who were heading up the wrong street, and thankfully, either by a sudden flash of insight, or by external pursuasion, decided to change their lives by joining up.

    tac


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,625 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach


    Speaking from my non-military point of view and giving only a subjective judgement - taking the flipside of this - how many military veterans have made successful and excellent social/career commitments post-service. From the veterans I know who served in the Irish army, very many.


  • Advertisement
  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    Jawgap wrote: »
    Two points.....
    Which were very articulately argued and very well chosen as neither is connected with the point which is the excessive representation of British ex-services personnel in prison, as expressed by the British. Nothing to do with Irish prisons, Irish ex-service personnel, Irish criminality or Irish concerns about same.

    The odd auld bit of Latin thrown can serve to add gravitas to off-topic arguments.
    Jawgap wrote: »
    .... In summary, the causes of criminality are myriad ...
    Nothing like the odd throw-away truism to get the heads nodding sagely in agreement, but it adds no weight to an argument.
    Jawgap wrote: »
    ....and ex-service personnel will commit crimes in the same way ex-plumbers, ex-teachers and ex-lawyers will - some will do it because they are inherently bad people, others will do something out of dumb stupidity, still others will do it out economic necessity...
    The point of the links I provided is that the Brits seem to have accumulated stats that argue the complete opposite, pretty convincingly I have to say. Do you have a number of any kind to back up your sweeping generalisation?
    Jawgap wrote: »
    ... Finally, what about all the "non-criminals" the armed services create? There are undoubtedly people who enlist who, but for the Army (for example), would be more likely to be off nicking stuff or doing worse - in the same way there are people who make it through university or apprenticeships or take up sport and it diverts them away from criminality.
    Ah yes the good old "what aboutery" a diversionary tactic, which has no connection with the concerns being expressed by the British establishment about a problem they perceive with their ex-services personnel and the excessive tendency towards criminality and imprisonment they display.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    According to their 12 April 2013 Prison Bulletin 95% of inmates were male - it's like the stats about ex-service personnel, it's interesting, but it doesn't tell us a whole lot about men, their upbringing,what motivates / influences them or what led them to commit a crime.

    In the case of ex-service personnel, maybe they are over-represented in the prison population but unrepresented in the criminal population - how many, for example, would be on probation, home curfew etc.

    Maybe magistrates and judges subconsciously hold ex-service personnel to a higher standard, or see the application of skills obtained in the military as an aggravating factor, particularly where a violent crime is committed.

    btw- 'what aboutery' isn't a diversionary tactic - it's a legitimate point - you cannot measure events that do not occur, therefore it's impossible to quantify the full impact of something as complex as military service on subsequent criminal behaviour - you should at least acknowledge that.

    Finally, a lot of your sources were news sources which thrive on headlines like "More veterans in justice system than soldiers serving in Afghanistan" - this only makes sense if you know how many troops are in Afghanistan at any one time. Think they'll ever print a story about a squaddie coming out of the army and going home to his mam's for tea, before meeting his mates for a pint? News and news sources are by definition highly selective.

    And if you like my last bit of latin, you'll love this one...... argumentum ad hominem......try not to;)


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    Jawgap wrote: »
    ... And if you like my last bit of latin, you'll love this one...... argumentum ad hominem......try not towink.png
    Show me where I have transgressed or even better, if you believe I have, report me to the mods for playing the man and not the ball.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,688 Mod ✭✭✭✭Morpheus


    Relax for a moment everyone!!!!

    i moved the thread as most of it was going way off topic. I also renamed the thread.

    back in 2009 a similiar thread about the numbers of ex brit service people in prison ended up with a bunch of neanderthal knuckle dragging apes spouting on about everything from 1798 to the color of Ian Paisleys underwear and the thread was locked.

    I intentionally named it as such in order to on the one hand encourage open debate about all forces exers in prison / not in prison (including the british - as some people had started mentioning Irish soldiers too) and also to deter the type of clownology that will result in this thread being deleted or closed.

    Now if you want we can end the argument here and I will simply close the thread "et finem indefinite" or you can all suggest better titles for the thread and if its appropriate by the forum charter I will happily change it.

    draw your heads in and don't be so quick to take pot shots at me, im just trying to do my best to keep it sane here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    I guess that with a population more than fourteen times that of the Republic of Ireland, and a set of Armed Forces many times bigger than those of the Republic, it is plainly obvious than any one group that can be isolated as easily as former members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Royal Marines can be held up as a less-than-shining example by those who wish to do so.

    Let's not overlook the fact that until not very many years ago the crown Armed Forces numbered around a million members - some of whom have no doubt transgressed along the way, often long after leaving those armed forces behind. A seventy-five year-old former National Serviceman is as much a former member as somebody who left yesterday.

    tac


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    tac foley wrote: »
    ...tac
    You've lost me in the bewildering meander from random topic to randon topic, none of which seem to have any connection with the purpose the mods created the thread for.

    The Brits seem very worried that a disproportionate number of their ex-military types wind up in civilian prisons. The numbers in various studies and reports seem to vary from 3% to 10% to 17.5%. Are they right to be concerned?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    Ignoring, for the moment, your accusation of blethering, why are you so desperately worried about the numbers of British ex-service personnel in prison or in the post-prison environment?

    Personally, it doesn't bother me one bit, and I live here for a good part of the year. As I pointed out, 5000 or so persons in jail out of a population of 63 million is a bit of a never-mind as far as I'm concerned. I'm minded to note the parable of the mote in the eyeball -and ask you how many Irish ex-military are currently breaking rocks, knitting mailbags, or learning a new trade whilst getting super-fit in YOUR prisons?

    tac


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,913 ✭✭✭galwaycyclist


    tac foley wrote: »
    it is plainly obvious than any one group that can be isolated as easily as former members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Royal Marines can be held up as a less-than-shining example by those who wish to do so.

    OK notwithstanding the "republican" elements waiting to come gibbering and cackling out of the catacombs I wouldn't get too defensive about it yet.

    If there ex-forces members are over-represented in the prison population that may not necessarily be an indicator of criminality. It may simply be an indicator of a preference for institutional environments.

    The military is the archetypal institional environment. Many of your needs shelter, food, heat, medical attention, sex (in some armies) are provided "in-house".

    Would it be so surprising if ex members had trouble coping with the "freedom" of civilian life?

    Would it be so surprising if some deliberately got themselves locked up in reaction? They might not even be conscious themselves that that was what they were doing.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    Jawgap wrote: »
    ... it's like the stats about ex-service personnel, it's interesting, but it doesn't tell us a whole lot about men, their upbringing,what motivates / influences them or what led them to commit a crime. ...
    Most studies I know of start from a common identified point, in this case ex-military, now an incarcerated or probationary civilian criminal, and work back from there.
    Jawgap wrote: »
    ... In the case of ex-service personnel, maybe they are over-represented in the prison population but unrepresented in the criminal population - how many, for example, would be on probation, home curfew etc.

    Maybe magistrates and judges subconsciously hold ex-service personnel to a higher standard, or see the application of skills obtained in the military as an aggravating factor, particularly where a violent crime is committed....
    That's a lot of maybes. Maybe you could link to a report. study or set of stats to support the maybes; or maybe not
    Jawgap wrote: »
    ... btw- 'what aboutery' isn't a diversionary tactic - it's a legitimate point - you cannot measure events that do not occur, therefore it's impossible to quantify the full impact of something as complex as military service on subsequent criminal behaviour - you should at least acknowledge that. ...
    Exactly. You want to study what did happen because you can measure it and you have a captive study group (so to speak) and a control group of their non-offending cohort. Statistically, if you were a statistician, you couldn't be better off.
    Jawgap wrote: »
    ... Finally, a lot of your sources were news sources which thrive on headlines like "More veterans in justice system than soldiers serving in Afghanistan" - this only makes sense if you know how many troops are in Afghanistan at any one time. Think they'll ever print a story about a squaddie coming out of the army and going home to his mam's for tea, before meeting his mates for a pint? News and news sources are by definition highly selective...
    I'd want to be a very dim-witted debater indeed to select any data source that didn't back up my concern.

    The actual reports out there that I have access to are in PDF format and to save everyone having to download them, I picked 2 or 3 mainstream broadsheets that summarised a few of the reports. One was a hansard-type report.

    All studies and statistical reports are snapshots taken at a chosen point in time and reflective of the reality at the time the report was written, something like a company's year-end report, outdated at the point of publication.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    It might be useful if there was more data on who exactly is in prison.....

    For all we know, 98% of the ex-service personnel locked up could all be chefs from catering element of the Logistics Corps - equally they could all be ex-Paras and Royal Marines.

    'Military' is not an occupation.

    Also the figures need to be put in context, and I think the correct context is the number of people who have been through armed forces (including the TA) in a given period (a cohort) and express the number ending up in prison as a proportion of that.

    My sense is (and I have no data to back this up) is that more ex-service personnel end up in prison than is expected but in a lot of cases for very different and more complicated reasons.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭iceage


    Army Chefs.... Lethal bastards, never trusted any of em.


    Oh, and as a by the by..That's Chef's in ANY Military, British or otherwise.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,141 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    I would think that the other "skew" is that almost all ex military take on a new civilian job type, what's civilians don't as often take on new job types. For example, the number of people who were military then turned into teachers is probably higher than the number of plumbers who turned into teachers.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,752 ✭✭✭pablomakaveli


    Its completely skewed if you think about it.

    The number of people currently who have formerly served in the military would completely dwarf the numbers from a lot of other professions.

    Its not really a level playing field for comparison.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    Its completely skewed if you think about it.

    The number of people currently who have formerly served in the military would completely dwarf the numbers from a lot of other professions.

    Its not really a level playing field for comparison.

    Very true and a good point. Although National Service ended here in 1960, with the last conscripted soldiers leaving in 1963, you have to remember that every male person fit for service before that was actually required by law to be in one part or other of the Armed Forces - and in that time the armed forces were around 800,000 with a six-month turnover of joining and leaving. As PM notes, the chances are that from conscription times alone there may be as many as a million people still around, and even if you served for three moths before being excused for lack of soldierly application, you still have a service record. So its likely that at least a fifth of the entire UK male population would be classed as a 'veteran' these days - a matter of around 6 million people.

    tac


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 35 honey83


    I'm not sure about in Ireland but I know in the states some end up in trouble but many do not. A lot of the soldiers who do are recent combat vets with untreated issues like post traumatic stress disorder and various mild brain injuries which can extremely change someones personality who normally was an upstanding soldier and citizen. I'm a female and was in the us army,and my soon to be exhusband is an army vet who has struggled but thankfully recieves help. I guess in the end there could be many factors contributing to why some veterans end up there . Some people just don't have their lives together and would end up there anyway of course too.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,991 ✭✭✭mathepac


    I'm sure all of these excellent points have somehow eluded the British establishment figures expressing concerns about the concentration of ex military types ending up in UK civilian prisons.

    I'm sure a sympathetic letter to David Cameron, the MOD or the MOJ will allay their, to me at least, understandable concerns.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley


    mathepac wrote: »
    I'm sure all of these excellent points have somehow eluded the British establishment figures expressing concerns about the concentration of ex military types ending up in UK civilian prisons.

    I'm sure a sympathetic letter to David Cameron, the MOD or the MOJ will allay their, to me at least, understandable concerns.

    Well, Sir, since the matter seems to be of extreme concern to you, and, it seems, to nobody else, perhaps you should be the one to write to Mr Cameron, and let us know what, if anything, he has to say about it. :)

    On a personal note, it matters not a rat's fart to me, and I live here, although thankfully not for the entire year.

    tac, former non-criminal soldier


Advertisement