By Yihyun Jeong
The Tennessee Department of Corrections will open military veterans-only housing units at three prisons in February, state Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Courtney Rogers said Friday.
These are Tennessee’s first housing units dedicated exclusively to veterans.
“Veterans will be put together to get into a more common structure. It’s veterans, they’re going to get through this together,” said Rogers, newly appointed by Gov. Bill Lee to lead veterans services.
Rogers announced the news at the annual budget hearing for her department. The hearings allow state leaders to present their proposed budgets to the governor. Budget hearings are one of the first steps in crafting the governor’s spending proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.
The units will be located at three prisons, though the locations weren’t disclosed at the hearing. Rogers said that a non-commissioned officer will likely be in charge at each unit to help veterans with “transitionary efforts.”
Various schools, Rogers said, have agreed to assist veteran inmates with certifications and working toward degrees while they are in the housing units. “This will only help them on the outside,” she said.
“I particularly applaud and encourage the work in workforce development and training to our veterans,” Lee said. “I have a real belief that utilizing that resource of those returning veterans to train them and give them capacity … and to reduce recidivism by allowing a better re-entry program is something I am passionate about.”