OC Sheriff Opens New Wing for Veterans

ORANGE (CNS) - Orange County Sheriff's Department officials today showed off a new wing in its jail in Orange focused on housing and helping veterans.

The Housing Unit for Military Veterans, which will open on Thursday, will include 32 beds in the Theo Lacy Facility, officials said. The wing is decorated with patriotic-themed murals and includes 55-inch televisions, game room-type entertainment and flags for each branch of the military.

To qualify for housing in the unit, the inmates must agree to participate in programming aimed at helping them after they serve their sentence.

The inmates will also enjoy other privileges such as more time out of their cells as well as access to resources to help them get a job when they are released, financial planning classes and services to help them combat substance abuse issues.

``This is not just a new housing unit with different paint on the walls,'' Sheriff Don Barnes said. ``This is a program model designed to go one step further in better assisting those who have served our country.''

Barnes added that his department ``dedicates much time and resources to build diverse and effective programming for all inmates with the hope that when released from custody, individuals will not recidivate.''

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