More than 1 in 30 people in prison say they have previously been in the armed forces. The true number is likely to be far higher.
At Ease is National Prison Radio’s show for ex-forces personnel in prison.
It’s hosted by veteran and former prisoner Rich Jones. Supported by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, it returns for its fourth series with more powerful interviews and stories.
This series of At Ease follows the lives of veterans at HMP Holme House in Stockton-on-Tees.
Rich served seven years with the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in the British Army. After he left, he experienced a lack of direction and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These factors led him to crime and imprisonment.
Since leaving prison, Rich has built a career as an author, veterans support speaker, teacher, mentor, and course creator.
Rich has partnered with National Prison Radio to create At Ease, a show that tackles the issues ex-forces personnel commonly experience once they leave, and try to return to ‘normal’ life – something that Rich understands all too well.
It is estimated that up to 27% of men and 37% of women in prison who served in the UK military live with PTSD.
Many claim that mental health issues amongst veterans goes under-addressed in the prison system.
Veterans in prison often feel they are unable to discuss their time in service. This can be a result of feelings of shame, stigma associated with how their service will be perceived and a culture of silence that stems from the military.
At Ease hopes to tackle these concerns by speaking to veterans in prison about the unique challenges they face.
Rich speaks to the veterans about issues as varied as money management, maintaining physical health in prison, survivors guilt and how to replace the camaraderie that pervades a life in the military.
One contributor, Dean, now works with Help for Heroes, and he shared his extraordinary story of being injured in a blast in Afghanistan and rebuilding his life through sport.
Rich also spoke with his sons about what it was like for them to have a dad in prison and how life changed when he was released.
Another contributor, Gary, shared his story of the first few months beyond the gates. He wanted to prepare others for that challenging moment in a prison sentence.
Rich hopes that listeners will feel empowered by the programme. He also hopes the stories will inspire listeners to access the support that they need.
At Ease returns to National Prison Radio on the 30 January 2024. It broadcasts every Tuesday at midday and 6pm.