A headline in yesterday's Washington Post incorrectly described the purpose of a grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to the National Council of churches. The purpose of the grant is to help Vietnam veterans who have been incarcerated for crimes committed after their release from service.
The National Council of Churches has received a grant of $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor to train imprisoned Vietnam veterans for jobs upon their release.
The one-year project will channel money through local veterans' self-help groups for assistance in upgrading discharges, in securing veterans' benefits, skill training and referral for help with stress, drug or alcohol problems.
The associate director for the project is Louise Ransom. She has campaigned for amnesty for Vietnam war resisters and against the war since her son was killed in Vietnam in 1968.
Ransom said that Vietnam veterans' plight differs from that of veterans of other wars because of the "undue guilt" suffered "as direct result of the whole nation's ambivalence" toward the war.
She said that a "disproportionate number of Vietnam war era servicemen came from black and poorer sectors" of society, and that disproportionate representation is further compounded for veterans now in prison.
The Labor Department estimates that there are 129,000 incarcerated veterans. That group makes up one-quarter of the U.S. prison population and is half black, according to the department.
The Incarcerated Veterans Project will subcontract the Labor Department funds to local veterans groups because, Ransom said, veterans "will respond better to a peer operation."