The state's first correctional unit designed specifically for incarcerated veterans, at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction here in Billerica, had a special visitor on Thursday: Gov. Charlie Baker.
Eighteen inmates are housed together in the new Housing Unit for Military Veterans, which opened in mid-January.
Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian says the unit creates a community among incarcerated veterans who can share their military experiences and support each other. Governor Baker says the program is a good idea.
"And I think this type of program will give a lot of these folks, simply though the opportunity to be with one another, to start to believe that they they can, and I think that's a very good thing," Baker said.
Baker and Koutoujian held a roundtable discussion with a group of six incarcerated veterans on Thursday.
Many of the inmates in the unit suffer from addiction and PTSD. Programs offered are tailored to address the veterans' needs.