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Veterans History Project Panel Discussion on Effects of PTSD in Crime and Rehabilitation

On any given day, 7 percent of the estimated 2.3 million people incarcerated in U.S. jails are men and woman who served in our armed forces

The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, in collaboration with the National Institute of Corrections, hosted a panel discussion on the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on veterans and how to support those who have run afoul of the law by providing appropriate treatment.

The panel of experts, in honor of Memorial Day and in anticipation of National PTSD Awareness Month, was held on Thursday, May 17, at 1 p.m. in room 119 on the first floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. 

This event was also livestreamed on the Library’s Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions) at

Notably, a significant percentage of combat troops are returning home profoundly affected by both visible and invisible battle scars, including high rates of PTSD, traumatic brain injury and serious physical wounds. The majority of these individuals, an estimated 77 percent, completed their service to their country with honorable discharges, yet their pathways from the military into the justice system typically began with a difficult transition back into civilian life.

At this event, panelists discussed success, challenges and lessons learned from implementing correctional housing units for veterans in jails and prisons, along with the role that PTSD plays in crime and rehabilitation.

The panel was moderated by Jonathan Elias, the host of WJLA-TV’s “Salute to Veterans” and an Army War College professor. Opening remarks will be offered by Veterans History Project director Karen Lloyd, Bureau of Prisons director Mark Inch and Middlesex County, Massachusetts sheriff Peter Koutoujian. The keynote speech was delivered by James Wright, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, historian and president emeritus at Dartmouth University.

The speakers for the program were:

  • Judge Michael Jackson, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
  • Malik Muhammad, Orange County, Florida
  • Ron Perez, COVER Program Coordinator, San Francisco, California
  • Bernard Edelman, Vietnam Veterans of America
  • Greg Crawford, National Institute of Corrections

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the first hand remembrances of U.S. veterans from WWI through the current conflicts, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit or call (888) 371-5848. You can follow the VHP via its Facebook page at

The justice-involved veterans initiative of the National Institute of Corrections examines the strategies being used today to address the specific needs of this population and now available, “Barracks Behind Bars,” which examines what is being done in jail facilities to restore the lives and dignity of justice-involved veterans and to promote safety among veterans who are incarcerated.

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