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.