The Military Justice System

Click to Call 253-317-8494

The military justice system offers a unique sampling of society. If you think about it, the people that we have in military justice, the people that go through the military justice system, who go through court martial cases, they don’t represent the full cross section of society that your average state court or county court would see.

We’re talking about service age personnel. We’re talking about people between the ages of generally 18 and 58 years old in that sort of middle 40 year window of their life. We rarely see a service member in their sixties. We occasionally do. Most of our personnel are in their twenties, which is, for those of you who are social science majors, know that that is prime age for a lot of things. It’s prime age for sexual activity. It’s prime age for crime and criminal activity. It’s prime age for violence. And so we have sort of a overrepresented population of quasi-juvenile offenders potentially. And then you add some interesting things to the mix.

If you think about it, military living is a unique pressure cooker. You have young people, many of whom are away from home for the first time, and they are subjected to a lot of responsibility. They’re also subjected to a lot of intense training, a lot of expectations of them. And then they’re housed together sort of away from everyone else. There’s no parents or family or uncles or other adults sort of in the mix with them. They’re in what we call barracks or billets or dormitories if you’re the Air Force.

But they’re in military group housing. Which to be fair in 2022 is much better than it was say in the 1950s where it was essentially large groups of people living in bunk beds in the same room. Most of our junior enlisted members have maybe a single room mate where they have a room to themselves and they share a suite of rooms off a common bathroom. It’s much more like college dorm living in terms of the arrangement. But unlike college dorm living where it’s only for a year and then there’s a turnover and a mix, and you grow and you leave, it’s a perpetual living environment. So you’ll have individuals who may be 19 years old living with someone who is 29 years old depending on when they entered service. We have individuals entering military service anywhere from their late teens, 17 technically for those who want a delayed entry program all the way up to people who may have a waiver based on prior service who come in the end of their twenties or even early thirties. And that’s a pretty big age range to have sort of housed together.

But when you think about the typical young service member, we’re talking about somebody who is in their early twenties, who has a high school diploma. Typically we do have some GED folks, but with current standards in the United States, in the military, we don’t see a lot of high school GED folks. We see a lot of graduates and some college among our junior enlisted personnel. But they are relatively young. They’re away from home for the first time. They have access to money because they’re getting paid. They have a very intense and structured lifestyle in work. And then they are suddenly sort of after hours and on the weekends cut loose.

And so if you can see where this is going, this combination of youth resources a mix of alternating restriction and freedom and opportunity sort of creates, a dynamic where we have a fair amount of crime.

Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 253-212-958

You Might Also Like These Articles


How To Fight Administrative Separation

On any given day in the U.S. Armed Forces, multiple servicemembers will get written notice from their unit telling them that they are getting kicked ... Read more

Court Martial Bloopers Part 2

Court martial bloopers part two. I hope you guys are liking this because I am. Okay, so this one is from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, circa around 2012.

Understanding The Consequences Of An Administrative Separation For Misconduct

Officially, the military’s method of formally prosecuting misconduct (and “kicking out” those who commit it) is through a court-martial or military trial. What many don’t ... Read more

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.