They survived Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the challenge is keeping traumatized vets out of jail.

Soldier in a Maze

Courtesy of Pacific Standard

As American soldiers stream home, many of them are running into serious trouble with police. The FBI is called into about 20 hostage situations involving veteans every year, and police report many more dangerous confrontations. As many as 20% of America’s hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan vets may be battling PTSD, brain injuries or other mental health problems. Throw in unemployment and substance abuse and legal problems are more likely.

Vietnam taught us how often soldiers traumatized by conflict overseas can wind up in trouble with the law back home. This time around, a growing array of police, court, and correctional officers are trying to help. My story in Pacific Standard.