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NIC’s Barracks Behind Bars initiative making a difference in Dane County, Wisconsin

12 Nov 2019

MADISON, Wis. - The Dane County Sheriff's Office has created a Veteran's Housing Unit for incarcerated veterans.

"We owe them as a society, owe them the services that we can provide to get them back into society as productive men and women," Sheriff Dave Mahoney said.

This type of housing unit, also known as Barracks Behind Bars, is the first in the state of Wisconsin, according to Elise Schaffer, a spokesperson for the Dane County Sheriff's Office.

"It's important to make sure that we don't let anybody fall through the cracks. There are so many veterans out there who are still unaware of benefits that they may have available to them," said Daniel Connery, a director for Dane County Veterans Services.

The unit is an extension of the Dane County Veterans Court, which started back in 2014.

Schaffer said assigning veterans to one location allows for specialized veteran treatment and services and offers veterans a supportive environment.

"We want to address those issues, not the criminality, but the issues that brought them into the criminal justice system in the very first place, so that we can return them into our communities as the dignified, respected veterans that they are," Mahoney said.

The Sheriff's Office is working with local organizations and outside agencies in connection with the unit.

"These combined efforts honor veterans' sacrifices, facilitate successful veteran re-entry back into society, reduce recidivism and improve public safety," Schaffer said in a release.