Middlesex Sheriff Peter J Koutoujian welcomed Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco A. Ureña for a visit to the Housing Unit for Military Veterans (HUMV) on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
The visit to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction came nearly two years to the day after Governor Charlie Baker helped formally open the Commonwealth’s only dedicated unit for incarcerated Veterans.
“It was an honor to welcome Secretary Ureña to tour HUMV and speak with the nearly two dozen inmates and detainees currently in the program,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “The Secretary and his team have been incredible supporters and partners in our efforts to help these men build upon their common bonds, right the ship and return to their families in a better place then when they came through our doors.”
In addressing HUMV participants, Secretary Ureña discussed the role of the Department of Veterans’ Services, as well as programs, initiatives and resources for Veterans in the Commonwealth.
“Middlesex County is leading the way in providing positive, appropriate and much needed services to incarcerated veterans. The reduction in recidivism is one indication that the program is working. I am glad I have been able to see firsthand, the good work being done by Sheriff Koutoujian and his staff,” said Secretary Ureña.
Since its opening in 2016, more than 180 individual Veterans have participated in HUMV, with 117 having spent at least 30 days in the unit. A recent recidivism review showed that of those 117 men, only six – or 5.1% – have subsequently been convicted of a new crime or had a violation of parole or probation that resulted in additional jail time.
In addition to the Department of Veterans’ Services, MSO staff works closely with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Massachusetts Veterans’ Treatment Courts and a host of public and private organizations and volunteers on programming offered inside the unit, as well as post-release services.