Southern AZ jail unit designed for veterans

Southern AZ jail unit designed for veterans

PINAL COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When walking into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center some of the units look like a typical jail, bland white paint and inmates in orange jump suits.

However there is a unit at the jail that is not like any other in the state. The HUMV or the Housing Unit for Military Veterans is a new program for this detention center. There are flags from every branch of the military, camouflage paint on some of the walls and different military murals in this unit.

Three months ago, Sheriff Mark Lamb saw a news story about the HUMV program in Middlesex, MA. Lamb says, he reached out to Sheriff Koutoujian about the program and began organizing HUMV for Pinal County.

Fast forward and PCSO has seven military veterans housed in the unit. The plan is to expand to 20. If the inmate is confirmed to be a veteran, they can opt to join the this unit.

The plan is to have different military services visit the men in the jail, from therapy dogs to counselors. Once the men get out of jail, they're looking for mentors to help them find housing and work.

One of the military veterans that just moved into the new unit is Eric Johns. He served in the Navy for three years. He is now in the jail for a DUI.

Johns said, he joined the program to see what it would be like. So far he has been very impressed with the program. Once he gets out, Johns said, he wants to come back to the jail and mentor some of the men.

Sheriff Lamb told Tucson News Now, the plan is to work with these men so once they're out, they don't come back. He also believes, that the jail can one day take parts of this program to other areas of the jail.

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