Inmate Veterans Send Packages to Troops
63 Maryland soldiers will receive boxes from RCI staff, inmates

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TOWSON, MD (September 28, 2010) – Members of Incarcerated Veterans of Roxbury (IVOR) will soon box up items they have collected for troops serving overseas in combat zones.

Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) inmate veterans and staff have been collecting items – deodorant, batteries, feminine products, popcorn, canned food, books and magazines, shampoo, lotion – since July.

An IVOR member suggested the collection, while staff donated items and also held bake sales to cover shipping costs. The packages will be sent to two Maryland units serving overseas in Afghanistan. The group has also been sending letters to the units, about 30 a month.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) has increased offender restorative justice efforts under our Public Safety Works (PSW) initiative that began three years ago. These outreach projects, which have included town clean-up and maintenance work, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, rescuing retired racehorses and planting trees, not only benefit the community but also give offenders a chance to give back to the society they victimized.

Specific to incarcerated Veterans, DPSCS began a one of a kind PSW project where inmates who were not dishonorably discharged are able to work labor details in the veterans’ cemeteries supervised by the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. Some have actually been hired there permanently upon their release.

IVOR was established more than 18 years ago, and includes members who served in every military branch, and who have honorable or general discharges. Five Maryland Division of Correction (DOC) prisons, including RCI, have active veterans groups that raise funds for various veteran-assisting non-profits. RCI is the only prison to hold a solemn outdoor memorial service on National POW-MIA Day (September 17). Another Hagerstown prison, the Maryland Correctional Institution - Hagerstown (MCIH), has the only inmate participants in America for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, which allows inmates to record their military service stories.

Media is invited to visit RCI Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. when inmate veterans will be boxing up the items for shipment. Please RSVP to Erin Julius, ~ 410-585-3320 ~ ejulius@dpscs.state.md.us