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New veterans unit opens in Soledad Correctional Training Facility

SOLEDAD, Calif. (KION) A new veterans unit set to house hundreds of incarcerated veterans officially opened, Friday, at the Correctional Training in Soledad.

During a ribbon cutting ceremony, CTF along with state and local officials said this facility is intended to rehabilitate and provide services for incarcerated veterans, not just for their health and well-being but also as they prepare to transition into life back in the community once again.

The facility, called Shasta Hall, will house 120 veterans but CTF staff say it can be expanded to a few more hundred.

Some of the resources listed to help the veterans through challenges of drug addiction and mental health issues are screenings for post traumatic stress disorder, conflict resolution teams and more. One veteran at the facility says these types of programs makes all the difference.

“People like myself who have PTSD, depression, anxiety, they help people who are disabled, they help people who are disillusioned and don’t know what they’re going to do when they get out, it means a lot to me," says veteran Prince Maryland.

In attendance was also the Veterans Affairs who says they are also doing their part, with over 300 members on standby to help with things like mentoring and connecting the veteran inmates to the help and resources they need.

Most of all, everyone in attendance said this new facility and its services give hope to the veteran inmates.

“This hub will ensure that veterans get the deserved service despite being
inside this prison, especially at times when they are in prison because of
the lasting effects of their service," says Congressman Jimmy Panetta.

CTF staff say they are getting applications from veteran inmates at other facilities and that they hope to have a thousand there eventually.

Officials say this unit sets a good example for other facilities to replicate. In the meantime, the veterans at CTF say they are happy to have services available that are better suited for them.

Jocelyn Ortega

Jocelyn Ortega is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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