Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Military services to enlist more recruits with convictions

The Washington Post ran an article today that could be the harbinger for increased military justice business in the years to come. Ann Scott Tyson, Military Waivers for Ex-convicts Increase, Wash. Post, Apr. 22, 2008, at A1. The article begins, "The Army admitted about one-fourth more recruits last year with a record of legal problems ranging from felony convictions and serious misdemeanors to drug crimes and traffic offenses . . . ."

The numbers don't approach the 354,000 enlistees under Secretary McNamara's Project 100,000, but they are still fairly large: "Such 'conduct waivers' for Army recruits rose from 8,129 in fiscal 2006 to 10,258 in fiscal 2007. For Marine Corps recruits, they increased from 16,969 to 17,413."

Not surprisingly, a study of Marines entering the service on conviction waivers from 2003 to 2005 revealed that they "were 'quite a bit more likely' than other recruits to be separated from the service for misconduct within two years, and 'recruits with felony waivers have the highest chance of a misconduct separation[.]'"

The number of Soldiers entering the Army on felony waivers rose from 249 in 2006 to 511 last year, while the number of Marines entering on felony waivers rose from 208 to 350. (The Air Force, on the other hand, had no felony waivers during either of the last two years, while the Navy's felony waivers last year fell to 42 from the previous year's 48.)

Stand by for an uptick in the annual reports' numbers.


WHW said...

I also heard this discussed on NPR Morning Edition a few days ago. I found this passage interesting:

"An Army analysis of this 'waiver pool,' shows that these soldiers tended to have better performance in basic training, re-enlist at a higher rate, are promoted to the rank of sergeant more quickly and receive more medals for valor than those without waivers.

But the analysis also shows that waiver recruits are more likely than non-waiver recruits to be drummed out of the Army due to misconduct, desertion and failure to complete alcohol rehabilitation."

Any faithful out there who think this will be a zero-sum gain?

bill cassara said...

I would think a more beneficial approach would be to re-enlist those separated previously for misconduct. I get lots of calls from people who made a stupid mistake when they were young and now wish to get back in.

Robert Aldrich said...

I agree with Bill. We have a rolodex of ready-to-go volunteers in the appellate database. They are already trained and would happily rejoin as E-1s. While many could laugh...why not give many of these guys a probationary second chance?

By the way, isn't this the script for the 1967 film, "The Dirty Dozen"? During the early stages of WWII, 12 military convicts sentenced to death or long prison terms are given the opportunity to regain their freedom in exchange for becoming part of a commando unit lead my Army Major Reisman (Lee Marvin). The mission: attack a heavily guarded French chateau used by German Nazi officers as a retreat and kill as many Generals as possible.) (Shaun, review please)

When you witness the regret first hand at the sentencing statement, even after a guilty plea, the regret and insight is genuine well over half the time.

TC said...

I concur, of course me being partly biased myself. I plead guilty without a PTA (although I was offered 6 months) judge alone to maximize my chance for a non punitive (by AFI since I was past my enlistment I would be entitled to an honorable).

The Judge gave me a BCD and 10 months. So much for that plan.

My only hope is CAAF with this other appeal which is taking long, a good sign though, it means they are really thinking my Extr. Writ thru.

I wouldn't mind going back in the Army, even enlisted (although I graduate with my BS in a few months)

I wonder if the give "felony waivers" for officers----Also it appears the felony waivers are for civilian crimes, I wonder if it is different with court martials?

The Dirty Dozen, I am well familiar with that movie, I named my Fantasy Football team the DD's (double intadre intended).

Also I mentioned earlier of a Certain Colonel that was court-martialed as an enlisted - then later was awarded the medal of honor. Then we have Billy Mitchell and Jacki Robinson (although he was aquitted).