Incarcerated veterans at the Albany County Correctional Facility are now offered an opportunity for a new lease on life through a collaboration between the jail and Soldier On.
Beginning September 2014, veterans willing to participate in the program are separated into their own pod at the jail where they are interviewed and assessed and then provided special counseling and other services with the intent of fully reintegrating them back into the community and reducing their rate of recidivism. Each veteran is individually evaluated for their needs around substance abuse, physical and mental health, and behavioral history and then provided services specifically tailored to the veteran’s personal needs.
Soldier On had already been providing services to incarcerated veterans elsewhere through its Veterans Justice Partnership Program, in which services are coordinated among treatment providers, courts, probation officers and others to help establish alternatives to incarceration. Soldier On brings a cadre of service providers to the jail, including four staff members with over 75 years’ experience in corrections. Dr. Kevin Cahill, staff psychologist at Soldier On, and Soldier On Chaplain Quentin Chin will also have roles.
The pod consists of approximately 45 hours of programming each week with the intent of making an impact on veterans when they leave the institution.
Soldier On’s extensive intake system is set up to comprehensively address the veteran’s needs, including registering him with the Veterans Administration and other services the veteran is entitled to upon release. Each veteran’s history of substance abuse, mental health, anger and personal reactions are evaluated to identify areas of treatment.