Inquiry “busts the myth” that combat trauma is linked to criminal behaviour

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 23 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d4006
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Combat stress does not increase the crime rate among former members of the armed forces, who are no more likely to end up in prison than the civilian population, concludes an inquiry by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

There is a perception that the number of war veterans in the prison population is on the rise because combat related trauma resulting from action in Iraq and Afghanistan has driven many to crime. However, the report of the league’s inquiry into former armed service personnel in prison found little evidence to support this view.

The chairman of the inquiry, John Nutting QC, said, “To a degree this inquiry has been involved in a process of ‘myth busting.’ Ex-servicemen are not committing crimes shortly after leaving the plane from Helmand, and it is unlikely that …

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