Incarcerated Veterans Honor Fellow Servicemen and Women On Veterans Day as DPSCS Continues to Support Programs and Services For Veterans

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Towson, MD (November 10, 2011) --- Five prison inmate veterans groups in the Maryland Division of Correction will hold special ceremonies and events tonight and tomorrow in honor of Veterans Day. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) estimates that there are approximately 400 incarcerated veterans in its state Division of Correction (DOC) prisons. The actual number is unknown, since some veterans will not self-report their military service.

DPSCS is a strong supporter of programs and services for incarcerated veterans, and has some of the most innovative prison programs in the country. A British delegation recently visited Jessup Correctional Institution to learn about programs and services for incarcerated veterans from the active veterans group there.

Statewide, pre-release DOC inmates are involved in the only program of its kind in the country placing military veteran inmates to work in State veterans cemeteries. Those inmates, who are eligible to both work in the cemeteries fulltime upon release and be buried in the cemeteries, annually perform tens of thousands of hours of grounds keeping maintenance at Crownsville, Southern Maryland, and Garrison Forest state veterans cemeteries.

At prisons across Maryland, volunteers from the Veterans Administration and other veteran-assisting groups frequently offer programs and services inside the prisons. DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard, himself a retired Army National Guard brigadier general and former adjutant general in Oklahoma, is a strong supporter of veterans’ programming and services. DPSCS is committed to adding services, particularly in the area of re-entry, for veterans.

In addition to the DOC, the Maryland Division of Pretrial Detention and Services (DPDS) is exploring veterans re-entry services for its detainees and inmates in the Baltimore City facilities. DPDS always includes veteran-assisting groups in its detainee job and re-entry fairs.

DPSCS is bringing online an Offender Case Management System which will, among other improvements, better track veterans when they enter the system, helping to match them to programs and services through incarceration and into community supervision with the Division of Parole and Probation.

This week, CNN will feature a story on the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown’s groundbreaking inmate service story recording effort for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, the first such effort to document incarcerated inmates’ recollections of their military service in the nation.

Another Hagerstown DOC facility, Roxbury, has the only inmate-produced POW-MIA Remembrance Day ceremony inside a prison. The Maryland Correctional Training Center, also in Hagerstown, Jessup Correctional Institution, and Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, also have active veterans groups whose inmates annually raise thousands of dollars through fundraisers and walkathons for charities and veteran-assisting groups.

DPSCS also has many correctional officers and other employees who served their country in the military. DPSCS salutes all of these men and women, and applauds the work of inmate veterans groups for charities, as the nation celebrates Veterans Day.