Cook County Jail holds resource fair for inmates who are veterans

The Cook County Jail held a unique resource fair Friday for inmates who are also veterans.

For the men who have both served and been locked up, they have some things to work out.

"When you look at their journey, coming to the criminal justice system, it's a complicated one. So, we need a holistic approach to really try to work with those individual’s needs, because they've experienced just a lot more complex trauma and have had a different journey than other individuals who have come here," said Cook County Jail Executive Director Jane Gubser.

The resource fair was designed to help former military men who are housed together in a special program.

"It helps us tremendously focus on the issues and problems that we probably hadn’t addressed out in the world," said inmate and Marine Corps veteran Earnest Martin.

The fair helps with veteran benefits, job training, housing and medical care.


They’re goal is to do more than just hand out a pamphlet.

"We're not just giving people a folder here, we're forming relationships or fostering a little bit of trust between people of the community and patients, so that they're more likely to engage in the services when they leave," said Gubser.

Dexter Barnes ,a retired Army staff sergeant, says he’s received help for his PTSD, plus benefits, housing and job training while in jail.

"I got another chance, thank God, to go and do it right this time," said Barnes.

He expects to be released from jail Monday.