Barnsley MP calls for help for ex-servicemen

Former army officer Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central.
Former army officer Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central.
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Former soldier turned MP Dan Jarvis is calling for more help to get ex-members of the military back onto the straight and narrow if they end up before courts and in prison.

Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central and Shadow Justice Minister, said not enough is done to help ex-servicemen and women who end up on the wrong side of the law.

Mr Jarvis said: “While the majority who leave the Armed Forces go on to lead successful professional careers, there are some who struggle to adapt to civilian life. In some cases those individuals end up in our courts and prisons. For some, this is all the worse because of post traumatic stress disorder and mental health problems that relate from their service.

“When I’m out in Barnsley I do meet veterans who are struggling to adapt to life back home. Often they just need help and advice about housing and re-training. But sometimes these people have fallen off the straight and narrow and need help to get their lives back on track.

“It’s scandalous how many of those languishing in prison were previously in our armed services and I’m determined that Labour will lead efforts to end this.

“That’s why Labour wants to emulate the success of Veterans’ Courts in the US here in the UK.

“Bringing together experts on mental health, housing, skills and training to support ex-servicemen and women in rebuilding their lives will make sure there’s a clear path out of crime – we owe it to those who served our country.

“Labour is tabling amendments to the Offender Rehabilitation Bill as it works its way through Parliament.

“The first calls on the Government to consult over how to improve rehabilitation services for veterans who have been convicted of an offence. The second calls on the Justice Secretary to establish a pilot scheme enabling courts to include a ‘veterans’ rehabilitation requirement’ in a community order.”

Mr Jarvis, aged 41, was a major in the parachute regiment and served in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.