Prison club helps connect veterans

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Inmates at one Kentucky prison are using their shared past experiences to create a brotherhood behind bars that also reaches out and helps the local community.

Inmates at one Kentucky prison are using their shared past experiences to create a brotherhood behind bars that also reaches out and helps the local community.

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Clarence Allen served four years in the u-s army in the late 1970’s.

“Fort Dix, New Jersey and I stayed in Fort Hood, Texas,” said Allen.

But then back in the early 2000’s, Allen was arrested on drug charges and found himself serving a different kind of time.



“I just wound up with 16 years. You know I did it to myself,” said Allen.

It was when he came here to Blackburn Correctional Complex that Allen realized he wasn’t the only veteran behind bars.

“I was in the Airforce. My mos was security forces,” said Joshua Larocco, an inmate and fellow veteran.

In the U.S., it’s estimated close to eight percent of all inmates are veterans and because of that many prisons, like Blackburn, offer veterans clubs.

“They like to do a lot of fundraising and they like to be involved with the community and do as much as they can to still serve and help out,” said Tiffany Ratliff, warden of Blackburn Correctional Complex.

One of the clubs biggest annual fundraisers is a food sale for local schools.

This year the club raised $1,000 for Lexington’s Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

“It makes me feel great. You know we have helped someone you know in the community. It makes us feel proud about our-self,” said Allen.

And it’s that sense of pride and brotherhood with his fellow club veterans that has Allen considering coming back and volunteering at the place he’s been confined to for more than 15 years when he gets out of prison in just a few months.

“If I could when I get out and everything went alright, try to see if there was a way to support them and help them. Yes ma’am I would do that,” said Allen.