1 of 3 | Around a third of U.S. military veterans say they have been arrested at least once, according to results released on Tuesday by the Council on Criminal Justice, which is forming a national commission to examine exactly why so many former military members end up in custody. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Around a third of U.S. military veterans say they have been arrested at least once, according to results released on Tuesday by the Council on Criminal Justice.
The council also announced the launch of a national commission to examine exactly why so many former military members end up in custody.
The 15-member nonpartisan Veterans Justice Commission will also attempt to develop policy change suggestions.
Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former CIA Director Leon Panetta are among the members on the panel.
"Criminal justice reform has received significant bipartisan attention in recent years, but the issue of how the system manages the men and women who have served our country has been almost totally absent from the national conversation," Hagel said in a statement.
"Service-related trauma and other legacies of deployment push too many veterans on a path toward incarceration. We can and must do more to understand and interrupt that trajectory."
Roughly one third of veterans report having been arrested and booked into jail at least once in their lives. That figure is in contrast to less than one-fifth of non-veterans.
Combat-related risk factors, inconsistent diversion mechanisms and ineffective procedures to help police identify veterans once they have been arrested all contribute to the level of incarceration, according to the council.
A total of 181,500 veterans were in prisons or jails in the United States, according to the most recent national survey.
Around 200,000 U.S. servicemen and women leave the military every year.