Incarcerated Veterans Program
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) provides services to veterans who are currently incarcerated within the State of Wisconsin, or who are under community supervision by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
There are approximately 2500 veterans incarcerated in the State of Wisconsin Correctional System at any given time. All inmates entering the correctional system are processed into the correctional system through three sites that serve as central reception centers in order to facilitate assessment and evaluation (A&E): Dodge Correctional (males), Taycheeda Correctional (females), Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) (males and females).
From these three institutions inmates are transferred to one of 18 other adult correctional facilities or may stay at one of the reception centers. In addition, there are 16 correctional centers, three of which house female inmates. These correctional centers are used to begin the transition process of an inmate back to society.
WDVA is responsible for conducting visits to assist veterans at the two A&E central reception centers. Monthly visits to meet with incarcerated veterans are conducted to the Dodge and Taycheeda facilities.
WDVA’s program to aid incarcerated veterans provides services in the following categories:
- Information. Upon request from an incarcerated veteran or family members, WDVA will provide information pertaining to eligibility, qualifications and entitlements pertaining to both federal and state veteran’s benefits.
- Access. Upon request, WDVA may provide applications, or other appropriate forms or documentation, such as a certified report of separation with the veteran’s written authorization, to any veteran’s relative in order to file a claim on behalf of the veteran for state or federal benefits.
- Assistance. WDVA may provide a veteran with assistance in appealing a less than honorable discharge in order to upgrade the discharge before a military discharge review board or military corrections board. Assistance may also be provided to a veteran when applying for a service connected disability or compensation before the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This assistance may include helping the veteran in developing a claim through accessing pertinent military medical and personnel records, as well as civilian records of care.
- Advocacy. The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Claim’s Bureau may assist any incarcerated veteran in advocacy on any claim, or in appealing an unfavorable decision on a claim.
- Tools & Resources. WDVA, in conjunction with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections developed “A Guidebook for Incarcerated Veterans in Wisconsin.” This guidebook is given to incarcerated veterans once they enter the correctional system, approximately six months before he/she is released, or upon request. This guidebook provides detailed information regarding benefits and contacts for assistance that will be very helpful to a veteran or his/her family upon leaving the correctional system.
- A Guidebook for Incarcerated Veterans in Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Department of Corrections
- Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs Incarcerated Veteran Program
- Echoes of War: The Combat Veteran in Criminal Court – Encouraging Treatment Over Incarceration of Our Most Troubled Returning Heroes – The Minnesota Model (Brockton D. Hunter, January 20, 2009)