In Tarrant County’s ‘Vet Pod,’ Inmates Who Served Their Country Serve Their Time

A special section of the Tarrant County Jail known as the “vet pod” holds a unique group of inmates – veterans who once served their country and are now serving their time.

About 20 vets are housed together in Pod 41-C at the Green Bay detention center in North Fort Worth.

"It's more like brotherhood," said Carl Marshall, a Marine who is serving six months for assault.

Another inmate, Kyle Pierotti, was convicted of assault and violating a protective order after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

"It's nice to know I'm not the only one," he said.

The pod is supervised by detention officer Patrick Navejar, himself a Navy veteran.

"It's unique," Navejar said of the assignment. "At first I was against it. You know, I was like, they're inmates. But after you get to talk to the guys, find out their experience, you find out you have a lot in common with them."

The vet pod includes classes on things like anger management.

"It's good," Pierotti said. "It's real rehab."

It also focuses on issues common with veterans like post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

"I get tired of being angry and don't understand why I'm angry. It's getting to the point now where it affects me and society.," Marshall said. "So this program did a lot for me. More than people would know."

Leroy Alston, a former felon jailed for possessing a gun, also served in the Marines.

"We have to make sure we show respect to everybody who's around -- just things like that keeps us back to our military bearings," Alston said. "When we get out, on the outside, we'll be able to cope with some of the things we're dealing with out there."

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn started the vet pod in October 2017.

Jail administrators say it's to measure recidivism rates for the veterans but those interviewed said they were confident they wouldn't re-offend thanks to the special counseling they receive.

"We all have a bond," Pierotti said. "We all served."

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