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'We owe it to these veterans': New LMDC program to help incarcerated veterans

It’s called ‘Operation V.A.L.O.R. (Veterans Aspiring for Life of Reform), and it'll include substance abuse treatment and more.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new program at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections is aimed at helping incarcerated veterans.

It’s called ‘Operation V.A.L.O.R. (Veterans Aspiring for Life of Reform), and it'll include substance abuse treatment, job skill training, Veteran's Administration services and more.

As part of the program, incarcerated veterans will be housed in a dedicated dorm as well.

Phillip Jackson said in his seven months in LMDC he felt unseen.

"You think you get forgotten about," he said. “You're an inmate now instead of an incarcerated human.”

Now, the Army veteran says he knows people want to see his life restored.

“It's a step in the right direction,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, you get in here and you get lost and you need a little help."

Michael Sloan, an Army veteran, says it's different than being in a normal jail.

"You're with guys you get along with, you got something in common with and I look forward to seeing what it's going to bring in the future,” Sloan said.

He said he pictures the future he can have using the tools the program offers.

"It's definitely uplifting me. It makes me look forward to getting up in the morning, doing something different with my life,” Sloan said.

LMDC Director Jerry Collins, an Army veteran himself, said it's rewarding to have partnered with community organizations to make this possible.

"When somebody signs a blank check, we owe it to these veterans,” he said. “There's a price to pay for service and a lot of these veterans end up in jail, so they deserve the community's help getting back on their feet when they get out."

Veteran's Club founder Jeremy Harrell said about 108,000 veterans become incarcerated after leaving the service.

"Give them some tools to fill their toolbox, so when they do go out, they're ready to transform their lives,” Harrell said.

LMDC said there are currently nine incarcerated veterans in the program and it has room for 20.

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