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Posted On: 11/10/2016

Corrections Center Establishes Veterans Housing Unit




Contacts:
Christopher Harris, (216) 443-7157


Specialized unit provides supportive services to incarcerated military veterans

CUYAHOGA COUNTY – Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, along with Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, and Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department Director of Regional Corrections Ken Mills, today announced the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center (CCCC) has established a Veterans Housing Unit. Through a partnership with Cuyahoga County Veterans Treatment Court, Veterans Administration, and several community service providers, the Veterans Housing Unit is working diligently to provide the best services for our veterans during and post incarceration.

“As we show respect and honor those who have served their country, it’s important that we recognize and show appreciation to our veterans. By establishing a Veterans Housing Unit in our Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, we are creating a supportive environment for veterans as they make their transition back into the community,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “I commend Sheriff Clifford Pinkney and Director Ken Mills for their innovative contributions to our veteran population. They have worked effectively with Judge Michael Jackson of Cuyahoga County Veterans Treatment Court and his staff to make this a reality.”

The Veterans Housing Unit initiative increases access to service providers and provides an environment where veterans can support each other in the event they share some of the same underlying issues. Benefits of the Veterans Housing Unit include:
  • Weekly specialized and targeted programming
  • Camaraderie of other Veterans
  • Job development planning and services to obtain/retain suitable employment
  • Prevention services to avoid homelessness and staying housed
  • Access to mental health, substance abuse, and dual diagnosis
  • Veteran Mentors

“We understand and are sensitive to the fact that veterans may experience difficulties that only other veterans can relate to,” said Sheriff Pinkney. “This is why it is important for us to identify our veteran population, and equip them resources that can help them.”

Inmates who wish to join the Veterans Housing Unit will need to identify themselves as a Veteran upon entering intake the CCCC. Once identified, the Veteran Affairs Liaison will meet with the inmate to complete a Veterans Questionnaire, further identifying their military service history. After the questionnaire is turned in and reviewed, if eligible, the inmate will be placed in the Veterans pod. Current inmates can also complete a request to enter the Veterans pod using the same steps.

“It’s our responsibility to assist those that have fought for and served our country, regardless of their circumstances. The dedicated housing unit increases access to services and programing that they have earned,” said Director Ken Mills. “We hope that those services, coupled with camaraderie of being housed with others of similar experiences, assists with making a successful transition back into the community.”

Cuyahoga County has the largest veteran population in the state, with an estimated 82,000 veterans, and approximately 550 of those veterans are booked into CCCC each year. Along with Hamilton County, CCCC is the only Corrections Center in the state to implement a Veterans Housing Unit.

“The Veterans Housing Unit is a welcome and necessary component to the Cuyahoga County Veterans Treatment Court,” said Judge Michael Jackson. “This housing unit enables the veterans to connect with each other through their shared military experience. Research and studies show this connection is one of the factors that reduces the likelihood of re-offending in the future. This unit also provides an additional opportunity to involve our veterans and treatment and other programs sooner than the traditional approach of waiting until they are on probation before commencing the services. I thank the staff of the Sheriff’s Department, Veterans Treatment Court and the Veterans Administration for their efforts to make this idea a reality.”