State Agencies Work Together On Pilot Program To Help Incarcerated Veterans

Goal Is To Get Vets Hooked Up With Benefits They Are Entitled To

The U.S. Army (CC BY 2.0)

As part of a pilot project, representatives from the three state agencies traveled to three Wisconsin prisons to inform inmates with military service of what they are entitled to upon release.

Presentations by officials from state Department of Corrections, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Workforce Development have been done in Stanley, Oshkosh and Racine.

DOC Secretary Jon Litscher said the goal is simple, “we really don’t want to see them again.”

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Achieving that goal means getting released veterans connected with housing, healthcare and education, Litscher said at the event in the medium-security Oshkosh Correctional Institution.

“It’s an outreach to a group of people that may have felt that their benefits were denied or benefits were completely eliminated because they became incarcerated and we know that is not the case,” he said.

One of those inmates is 40-year-old Jeremy Forseth who served in the Marines. He said the informational session was a “good opportunity” to find out what is available to him upon his release.

He also said the outreach goes beyond just financial information.

“Sometimes it kind of feels like a person is forgotten about when they come here,” Forseth said. “I got a lot of information I needed to get out of it and I think it’s a very positive, productive thing for us because it gives us a sense of hope.”

Inmates who participated in the veteran’s event were asked to give feedback in a survey. Litscher said that will give his department an idea if the pilot should be expanded.