Blogs Articles Organizations Biography Jack's Book Contact Information Links

Navigation: SOS Sisson > Traumatic Injury Blog

Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.



Before the program, no one was even tracking the number of veterans behind bars...

More than 1 million veterans are in jails and prisons in the U.S. More than 2,000 of them are in North Carolina prisons, arrested for crimes ranging from theft, to drugs, to murder.

Many incarcerated veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury or other mental health issues. The problems are side effects of their service that they might not recognize until it’s too late.

But there is a new effort in Mecklenburg County to help them.

Wesley Woodling will never forget the night he killed an innocent man, someone he mistakenly thought was trying to rob him.

“I was using tactics when I did it. I did it from a tree line where nobody could see me,” he said. “Like I was trained to do.”

He was trained in the National Guard and served in Iraq and Kuwait.

He was diagnosed with PTSD and bi-polar disorder and discharged in 2008. He said he was suicidal and hearing voices after he returned to his Charlotte home.

“I was paranoid whenever I went somewhere. I thought everybody was talking about me; everybody was planning to hurt me,” he said. “I think if I would have gotten the help that I needed, then this wouldn’t have happened.”

But there may be help for Woodling and other veterans who are having trouble adjusting to civilian life.

Joe Rapley works with a new pilot program in Mecklenburg County called Operation Recovery. His team identifies veterans in jail and advocates for them before they go to trial.

“We will talk to public defenders and judges and let them know what we have here is a veteran who has post-traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury and they’ve never received any care for it,” he said.

If the court agrees, Veterans Affairs benefits cover their care. And if the veterans stick to their treatment plan, the criminal charges may be reduced.

Before the program, no one was even tracking the number of veterans behind bars, Rapley said.

“Judges have been key. We’ve had judges say, ‘We want to help out military folk, so what can we do?’” Rapley said.

Now the program has helped more than 200 jailed veterans in Mecklenburg County in the last year. Most of the veterans helped by the program had never connected with veterans services until after they were incarcerated.

The program might have worked for Woodling. “I wanted help. I was crying for help,” he said.

As he serves his sentence at Alexander Correctional Institution, he said he is finally stabilized and on the right medication.

“I think I have a chance at a normal life now, but it’s not fair because someone else doesn’t,” he said.

Operation Recovery was launched in Mecklenburg County and 13 other sites around the country. If it is successful, it could be expanded statewide or nationwide.
To learn more about the program, click here.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

TBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
Brain Blog
Brain Blogger
SoapBlox/Chicago: Protecting Our Troops
Head Injury Survival Journal
Losing the Physical Self

Tower of Hanoi: Instructions for this popular puzzle can be viewed simply by clicking the Instructions button on that page.

May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   January 2009   March 2009   April 2009   December 2009   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   October 2010   November 2010   January 2011   February 2011   March 2011   April 2011   May 2011   June 2011   July 2011   August 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   December 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   June 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   February 2013   March 2013   April 2013   May 2013   June 2013   October 2013  


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

FindingBlog - Blog Directory