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Incarcerated Vets Getting Vital Services In Allegheny Co. Jail's Veterans' Pod

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pod 2-F may look like any other pod at the Allegheny County Jail, but it's very different.

This pod is known as the Veterans' Pod, where a vast majority of the inmates are military vets. By being placed in Pod 2-F, they get access to veterans' services that could help get their lives back on track.

"It's going to be constant programs and services for these individuals. Different classes, résumé writing, how to interview for a job and post-traumatic stress training," said Allegheny County Jail Warden Orlando Harper.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The Veterans' Pod is an extension of Veterans Court, which was started back in 2009. It takes a combination of agencies and effort to make it all work, but it allows the system to give something back to the men and women who have made personal sacrifices for the country.

The needs of the vets inside are just varied as for those who are not behind bars. The program already has the support of the courts, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, and Veterans Services.

"Because you served us, you did something for your country, it's time for us to do something for you if you became justice involved," Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge John Zottola said.

Inmate Robert K did some of the artwork around the Veterans' Pod, giving him a sense of pride. He believes counseling will help as he works his way through the system.

"It was a domestic assault, due to some PTSD issues," said Robert. "A lot of us need counseling and medication, and housing is a big thing."

Other vets say the program is helping them plan for the future.

"It's helped me start thinking about my life a little more seriously," said Scott B.

"There are a lot of places that I've been and veterans don't necessarily get the help they need," added Terrence T-B.

Currently, the program is only being operated in the men's pod at the Allegheny County Jail, but the warden says there is one female veteran in the system. He says she will be able to access all of the services that the men will get.

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