HOLBROOK – Navajo County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detention officers got an opportunity to tour the new veteran’s pod at the jail in Holbrook last Tuesday, May 21.

The creation of this special unit is in part a result of the county’s diversionary Veteran’s Court program implemented in 2015 in partnership with the county attorney’s office, the county probation department, the county superior court, and input from local veteran’s and veteran’s organizations.

The pod is called the Housing Unit for Military Veterans and is intended to give veterans access to services that could help them.

“Working with the area Veteran Affairs offices, and local Veteran organizations, inmates will have access to services while in NCSO custody,” Navajo County Sheriff David Clouse said in a press release announcing the opening of the pod.

That help could include things like help kicking a substance abuse habit and reintegration/adjusting to being back in society.

Veterans who have been in combat or away from home for a long period in a hostile zone can sometimes have difficulty fitting back into a more ordinary society.

“This program has serviced several veterans through a diversionary court process that catered to the need of the military veteran providing them the tools and opportunities to be productive members of society,” Clouse said in the press release.

The services that will be offered to inmates who are military veterans won’t stop at just offering them information. It will include hands-on help.

“Throughout the term of incarceration inmates will have access to mentors to assist them with education and seeking employment opportunities once they are released,” Clouse said.

Clouse proudly mentioned that since the inception of the Navajo County Veteran’s Court, that not a single veteran who has graduated from the program has reoffended.

“It’s imperative that we provide these services to the men and women who served our country. Getting them the resources they earned, to help them get on with their lives for themselves and their families is the right thing for us to do,” Clouse said.

Veteran’s Courts have become standard in many court systems in the country.

The website justiceforvets.org states that most military veterans with combat experiences find themselves trying to deal with issues like PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

According to justiceforvets.org “One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment. One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance use issue. Research continues to draw a link between substance use and combat-related mental illness. Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.”

Reach the editor at mleiby@wmicentral.com

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