A prisoner and guard (Image Source via Associated Press)

It's chow time in "The Barracks," the Gwinnett County jail's brand new housing unit just for military veterans, and Jack Cleveland has just finished his potato chips.

He crumples up the bag and, arms flush with colorful tattoos, welcomes a reporter to the table he's sharing with two other incarcerated veterans.

Cleveland, 37, admits that he's done plenty of wrong in his life. His current stay at the jail is the result of the latest in a lengthy string of arrests; the accrued offenses range from disorderly conduct and drug possession to family violence-battery. He is, as he puts it, in the dregs of his life.

"I just feel like I don't know what to do with myself when I'm on the outside," he says.

But Cleveland has done good, too. He was in Marine Corps basic training when the Twin Towers fell. He worked on aircraft and served his country in a time of war. It was the best, most meaningful time of his life.

Like a growing number of similar initiatives across the country, The Barracks is aimed at reminding Cleveland of what all that was like — and giving him a better chance of success when he gets out.

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Associated Press/Don Heupel

Veterans accused of crimes often share similar trauma from their time in the service.

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Courtesy photo

Timothy Wynn enlisted in the Marines in 1999, but when the Corps extended his contract, he was sent overseas. In 2003, Wynn deployed to Iraq with 2nd Military Police Battalion as part of the initial invasion.

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