US Army recruiting ex-cons

Struggling to build it’s ranks during wartime, with an all-volunteer army, the US Army is turning to an untapped source of new recruits – ex-convicts. The Army is granting more waivers to allow recruits who traditionally would have been barred from joining, usually due to criminal records, illegal drug and alcohol related problems. In the past a criminal record other than a few non-violent misdemeanors was a NO-GO for enlisting in any branch of the service, including the National Guard, but not anymore.

This has raised many concerns amongst critics that the Army is lowering their standards too far to meet their recruitment goals.

Most of us who served in the Army probably remember the old story of some judges giving troubled kids the choice “Join the Army or go to Jail.” This takes this idea one step further.

“We’re transforming our military. The things I look for are the following: morale, retention, and recruitment. And retention is high, recruitment is meeting goals, and people are feeling strong about the mission.”

George W. Bush

2005 records show 37 % of the Army’s waivers – 8000 soldiers were based on moral grounds. Waivers of all description are proliferating – 32% greater vs the year 2000. Convicted felons are the fastest growing source of waivers. As a result, odds are good that many soldiers fighting in Iraq entered the Army as ex-convicts.

Charles Moskos, a military sociologist NWU: “It shows you how the recruiting difficulties are getting worse,” “They’re dropping the standards. It increases the likelihood of problems in the unit, discipline problems.”

retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey: “By and large these are flawed recruits.”

“Those getting waivers won’t be the sergeants we want.”

I personally don’t have a problem with giving somebody who made a few mistakes in life a second chance, provided they only were only guilty of non-violent crimes, and were well behaved while in prison. Violent criminals have no business in the US military in my opinion.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

9 Responses to “US Army recruiting ex-cons”

  1. Angie Jones 02/05/2006 at 1:49 pm

    I am happy to read this information, however I mailed an army recruiter about this very subject about a month ago, and she said the Army would not accept my son.

    He is a very bright 21 year old who has made a lot of mistakes in his early adult life. He joined the Marines at 19. He had smoked pot prior to his testing date (which his recruiter was aware of) so his recruiter told him to drink 2 gallons of water with Certo in it and he would be fine. He passed his urine test and went to Paris Island.

    When they arrived at Paris Island, there was a blood test given which the recruiter did not advise him of.
    After going through the roughest 4 weeks, the results of the blood test came back.
    My son was dicharged from the Marines.

    From that day on, he got involved with more drugs and ended up homeless because he was stealing from me and was finally caught with numerous breaking and entering charges. He is currently serving 6 months at SEPTA Correctional facility.

    I just cannot help putting some of the blame on the recruiter who needed so many more recruits to be moved up. (which he did right after my son came back home.

    I know my son would have been on a completely different path, had all that not happened.

  2. Administrator 02/06/2006 at 3:04 pm

    I greatly sympathize with your son’s problem. I served in the US Army myself in Germany (in the late 1980s), and although I decided not to make a career of it and just did 3 years, I felt it was a great experience.

    I have a great deal of respect for anybody who joins the Marines. It’s far tougher than the Army! I really feel they are being excessively strict. You’d think with the ongoing war in Iraq, and resulting recruitment shortage, they would be willing to cut somebody a little slack on a drug test. I assume it was Marijuana?


  3. I am very excited after having read this story. Unfortunately I made some very dumb decisions during my teen years. I have a history of non violent drug abuse, as well as a record of having been treated for those issues. For the last 3 years, my record and behavior have been clean. I have always wanted to serve in the military, even as a child. At 19 I was rejected for service in the Navy. I was greatly dissapointed, but thus far I’ve not been able to stop trying. I am deeply adament about joining. Hopefully I’ll get my chance to set things straight. Good luck to all others who wish to set their records straight!

  4. Administrator 15/06/2006 at 5:41 pm

    Although the US Army has greately loosened up their requirements for new recruits, that’s probably not the case for the other branches of the service. The Navy, Marines, and Air Force are likely just as strict now as they always were. The Army is the largest branch of the Military, and they make up most of the “boots on the ground” in Iraq, so they have much higher recriting goals.

  5. Oscar Whitted 22/07/2010 at 10:04 am

    I’m a clean 26 year old, with some probles in my past. I was arested at 18 years old, for simple robbery with a weapon. I did 6 years in DOC. Got out on good behaver. I have been out for over a year, with no prombles. but I am not able to get a job. most enployers noice me for all the others. but when they look at my history, they all tell me that they can’t enplor me. I know alot about the military and know what i want to do in the military. I am ready for the military . I do beleive the military is watting for someone like me. I what will i have to do to get in to the military.
    thank you for reviwing this letter.

  6. I think however, the fact it was a violent offense is where you would have a problem. Non-violent offenders definitely have a much easier time having their past offenses forgiven. When I served in the US Army in the late 1980s, some judges were still giving young offenders the option of joining the Army or going to jail, but I don’t believe they were ever for violent crimes.

  7. I think before we pass judgment on ex-cons we should requests studies. I doubt that the kill team of the Stryker brigade are excons and they killed civilians and collected body parts. They look like fresh faced Midwest boys to me.

    Have you ever considered that an excons threshold for stress might be a little higher than some scared kid who has only been hunting. Maybe the reason why we have such a high rate of PTSD amongst recruits is because these kids don’t realize the military is more than a steady job and combat is not a videogame.

  8. I have read many articles already on this topic. Sometimes even looking for advanced topics of web portals in foreign languages, I was struggling with a full and later, and so it turned out that nothing new is not a service I offer. Too bad a little bit, so that the Internet advertising has so much garbage. A few days ago and managed, however, quite accidentally hit on this blog and I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out that the author (or authors – it is difficult to assess), have an excellent knowledge of the subject, which interested me directly. I read and even allowed myself a few specific topics, to verify (if you talk about truthfulness) and found out that you may believe the words of the editor. Usually, I looked at the blogs from a huge eye przymrozeniem. I did not treat them seriously, because they never fit me not to serious writing. I thought it was real journalism and popular science publications have much more to offer. But the Internet begins to enrich the copyright smart people – not just politicians who want to have contact with their voters, but most of all really great people providing advice and offering expertise in a particular topic. After reading the contents of this site, I would definitely prefer to look at the development of blogs in Poland. Because I start to believe that this type of content will appear more and more and that will be what to read. And most importantly – how to acquire knowledge in this topic. All, just looking on the web – I encourage you to visit this site. It is really worth. There are a lot of very nice entries, which can change the outlook and give knowledge. And this is extremely important today. After the contents of this blog until he soon found himself wishing to have such a portal and as effectively as living and zeal to share news and other Internet users. I strongly recommend and encourage you – to me the author of the blog is a small God. Keep up the invite to your blog pozycjonowanie stron


  1. Captain Insano - - Mercedes-Benz Discussion Forum - 29/08/2010

    […] Originally Posted by p100 So Sarah Palin says that men in uniform exemplify the values and virtues of America? Sarah has always liked the bad boys… Army, Marines allow more convicts to enlist | Reuters U.S. is recruiting misfits for army / Felons, racists, gang members fill in the ranks – SFGate Military Waivers for Ex-Convicts Increase – US Army recruiting ex-cons […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.