"In 1980, the law changed to allow judges to consider PTSD as a reason for leniency for veterans. However, those who suffered from the disorder prior to 1980 aren't entitled to that consideration."
A Veterans Day service for those behind bars
November 12, 2015
Sunlight glistened through the stained-glass windows in a Montgomery County chapel on Wednesday during a service for 150 veterans who served their country and lost comrades in combat.Reading Eagle: Tim Leedy | Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak speaks at the event.
The Veterans Day service seemed like all of the others going on around the Tri-County region, but it wasn't.
These veterans are inmates at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Skippack Township. About 50 of them are serving life sentences for murder.
They are members of the Graterford Prison Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 466, an organization founded in 1980 to address the concerns of Vietnam War vets.
"We all band together like brothers," Commer Glass, founder and president, said during a telephone interview prior to the 33rd annual Veterans Day service at the prison. "We help each other out, and we cry on each others' shoulders."
Glass, 70, is serving a life sentence. He said the group is lobbying for a law that would permit veterans who served before 1980 a chance to be released if it could be determined that post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, caused them to commit a violent crime. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event such as war.
In 1980, the law changed to allow judges to consider PTSD as a reason for leniency for veterans. However, those who suffered from the disorder prior to 1980 aren't entitled to that consideration.
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