The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is pleased to announce a pilot program that will provide increased service to the state’s incarcerated veterans and their families.
In cooperation with the Oregon Department of Corrections, ODVA has transitioned one of its two Incarcerated Veteran Coordinators, Pat McGuffin, to the Snake River Correctional Institution in eastern Oregon, where he can work directly with the majority of the state’s incarcerated veteran population.
There are approximately 745 incarcerated veterans in Oregon — more than half of whom are in custody in eastern Oregon facilities. Although many federal VA benefits are affected by incarceration, incarcerated veterans may still be eligible for benefits while incarcerated, either at a full or reduced level, or benefits may be reinstated following release. Some monetary benefits may also be transferred to family members based on financial need.
McGuffin and fellow Incarcerated Veteran Coordinator Shane Hagey work to identify veterans at Oregon DOC facilities, assist them with verifying their eligibility and connect them with access to their benefits. ODVA’s coordinators also work closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, local county and Tribal Veteran Service Offices and other partners to help ensure veterans have assistance accessing services and benefits upon release, helping to prevent houselessness and recidivism.
“ODVA has worked hard to significantly expand our outreach to the state’s incarcerated veteran population in recent years, and we are thrilled with the exceptional work Patrick and Shane have done to support incarcerated veterans and their families, and build strong relationships with our valued federal, state and local partners,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick.
“Relocating one of our coordinators to eastern Oregon will allow him to more directly serve hundreds of incarcerated veterans in eastern Oregon, especially at a time when travel and communication may be hampered due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.”
For more information about the Incarcerated Veteran Program, visit www.oregon.gov/odva/resources/pages/justice-involved-veterans.aspx or email email@example.com.