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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 14, 2021 02:51 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Manuel Guzman, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Supporting Our Veterans Exiting Incarceration
According to a report from the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are approximately 180,000 veterans in prisons and jails across the country, making up 8% of the total incarcerated population. Veterans involved in the justice systems have unique and extensive medical, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment needs. However, when a veteran is incarcerated, they can lose some or all of their benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Upon release, they are often able to get some or all of their earned benefits back. Unfortunately, very few veterans who serve time in a correctional facility know what benefits they are entitled to, how to apply for them, and where to get help or ask questions.

To address this disparity, we will be introducing legislation to require that veterans who are incarcerated in a State Correctional Institution (SCI) be given a "veterans benefits briefing" before they are released. Among the topics to be discussed are state and federal benefits available to the veteran and their family as well as how to access and apply for them.

Regardless of the circumstances of their involvement with the correctional system, these veterans have served our nation in our armed forces, and many are disabled because of their service. They deserve our assistance in receiving the support that they need as they turn their lives around and transform themselves into contributing members of our Pennsylvania family. Please join us in properly supporting our veterans who put their very lives on the line for our country.

Introduced as HB1661