BY LAUREN WALKER
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has affected a striking number of veterans. The Congressionally mandated National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study found that more than 800,000 Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD and 15 percent of the male veterans continued to suffer more than 10 years later. A 2008 RAND Corporation study estimated that around 300,000 members of the military deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan had PTSD as well.
Veterans make up nearly seven percent of the U.S. population, but represent around 10 percent of the people on death row, according to a Tuesday report from the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit.Execution chamber at the Arizona State Prison Complex.ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS/HANDOUT/REUTERS
The report’s author, senior program director Richard Dieter, arrived at his estimate by using the most recent, available data: A 2007 Justice Department study, which placed the number of veterans in prison in 2004 at 10 percent of the overall prison population. He then applied that percentage to those currently on death row. The total comes out to around 300 people.
Dieter says this estimate is conservative. “Following the Vietnam era,” he writes, “veterans constituted about 20 percent of the prison population.” Though the more recent estimate (10 percent) represents a decline from that period, “it did not include the likely upsurge due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
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