resources: research and reports

November 2007

An independent report by David Gee, published in 2007, highlighting the risks posed to young people through joining the military, how young people from disadvantaged communities are targeted, how information available to potential recruits is often misleading and how the terms of service are complicated, confusing and severely restricting. The research found that a large proportion join for negative reasons, including the lack of civilian career options.


Research from the UK and US about suicide and self-harm among those in the military and ex-military.

"The risk of suicide in men aged 24 y and younger who had left the Armed Forces was approximately two to three times higher than the risk for the same age groups in the general and serving populations"

"More U.S. military personnel have died by suicide since the war in Afghanistan began than have died fighting there."


In 2011, the Howard League for Penal Reform published the final report of the independent inquiry into former armed service personnel in prison.

From the report:

"At the present time the most accurate figure would seem to be the product of a joint quantitative study carried out by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice. This asserts that approximately 2,820, or some 3.5 per cent of all those currently in custody in England and Wales, had served in the Forces.

"The study estimated that 77 per cent of ex-servicemen in prison served in the Army, 15 per cent in the Royal Navy and 8 per cent in the Royal Air Force. Furthermore, it estimated that 51 per cent of ex-servicemen in prison are over the age of 45 years and 29 per cent are over the age of 55, which compares to 9 per cent of the general prison population being aged 50 years or over. These statistics suggest that many ex-servicemen in prison have offended a considerable time after their date of discharge.

"Whatever the exact figures for ex-servicemen in prison, it is important to stress that all estimates indicate that ex-servicemen constitute a significant subset."

From the press release:

“While the numbers of ex-servicemen in prison appear stable, evidence from statistical surveys in both England and Wales and the United States show that ex-servicemen are more likely to be serving sentences for violent and sexual offences than the general prison population."