The military draft is an essential part of the armed forces of the United States. Though it isn’t likely there will be a draft in the near future, those who have been incarcerated may wonder if felons get drafted. This post will answer that question and explain what felons need to know about draft requirements.
Major Points that are Covered in this Article:
- A Re-institution of the Draft – Requirements for Service
- The Military Screening Process
- Military Waivers – How They are Granted
A Re-institution of the Draft – Requirements for Service
If the U.S. reinstituted the draft, some felons could receive waivers in order to serve their country. Drafting felons is a process that is similar to enlistment. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines still has to look at the background of the person being drafted or enlisted into the military. Men and women who are drafted still have to go through the same enrollment process as enlistees who choose to join themselves.
Why the Army or Military is Choosier about Enlistees that Sign Up Today
Using the Army’s enlistment criteria as an example, enlistees or anyone being drafted are scrutinized on a case-by-case basis. Because of the current technologies in place, however, the military can afford to be fussier about the recruits they enlist or “draft.”
The Military Screening Process
Background Checks in the Military are Thorough – Even Sealed Records are Opened and Reviewed
When considering a recruit in the U.S. Army, this branch of the military reviews an individual’s criminal history, including his juvenile records, to assess his list of offenses. Expunged records or sealed records are also unsealed and reviewed. In the Supreme Court case, Goldman v. Weinberger, the highest court in the land opined that service in the military is a privilege. Therefore, the Army or any military branch had in its right to thoroughly investigate an applicant’s credentials and background.
Automatic Bars to Enlistment
Whether you are drafted or enlist, you will be automatically barred from enlistment, at least in the Army, if you have been charged with multiple felonies, are currently on probation or parole or incarcerated. This no-waiver policy also includes instances where you may have charges pending, unless the charges cover unpaid traffic tickets. You will not be retained for service, if drafted, either if you possess, again, multiple felony convictions, one conviction or one felony and three more minor offenses for the distribution or sale of drugs.
No branch of the military will want to draft you or enroll you if you possess a dishonorable discharge or bad conduct record for prior military service. Branches of the military cannot allow recruits to serve either who are psychologically or physically dependent on marijuana or who have three or more convictions for DWI/DUI. The Army also does not allow anyone to be recruited for service if he has had at least five misdemeanor convictions within the last five years.
Military Standards for Enlistment
Therefore, you have to equate the draft process with enrollment. After all, the military sets certain standards in place and expects its recruits to follow those requisites as well. Recruits are expected to meet a certain level of fitness in order to carry out orders involving physical stresses and strains. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have established certain standards to cover moral character as well.
Military Waivers – How They are Granted
Crimes Where Waivers May be Granted
If you meet face-to-face with a recruiter in order to enlist, he will usually ask if you have a criminal history. At this point, it is important to tell the truth as the military will still run a background check, regardless of your response. Naturally, it is better not to have a criminal history. However, a waiver can be applied in some instances. A waiver may be granted for crimes such as:
- Minor non-traffic related charges
- Civil offenses
- Certain misdemeanors
- A mix of misdemeanor charges and minor offenses
- One serious misconduct charge, depending on its severity – or a felony
How Decisions for Waivers are Made
Naturally, the number of times offenses have been committed and their nature will be considered. Many offenses point to a poor moral character and the military wants recruits who can be entrusted with life-and-death decisions – recruits who will do the right thing even if they are not supervised. Any decision for a waiver then is influenced by an individual’s conduct after a conviction. Did he or she maintain a clean slate and learn his or her lesson? Did he or she have subsequent issues involving law enforcement?
Therefore, when drafting or recruiting individuals into the military, moral character is carefully reviewed and considered. Usually, if you do have a felony charge, the severity of the crime is considered and your behavior after the conviction is measured and assessed as well. Understanding the criteria used can help you understand why or why not individuals are permitted to serve in the military.
Again, even if the draft was reinstituted, you still would be processed as an enlistee. Therefore, the rules for men and women who are drafted are the same as the guidelines are for individuals who enlist in the military on their own accord.
Do you think felons should be drafted? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.