Why Vermont Sends Minors In State Custody Out Of State

Aug 27, 2018

Vermont’s Department of Corrections has more than 200 prisoners serving their sentences in out-of-state prisons. But what about the roughly 1,350 juveniles in state custody?

Ken Schatz, commissioner for the Department for Children And Families—the agency responsible for the vast majority of Vermont minors in out-of-state programs—explains how residential treatment programs, and not delinquency concerns, drive those out-of-state placements.

Treatments include mental health, substance abuse or sexually aggressive behavior, and Schatz says residential programs are considered only when "it's not appropriate [for an individual] to be in a family-like environment." 

Currently Schatz says Vermont has 58 minors placed in out-of-state treatment programs, with 47 in programs in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, "relatively close to their homes."

He adds that eleven more have been placed outside the region for more "intensive" programs that can't be met "close by."

"Being a small state," Shatz says "there are certain types of situations where we simply ... don't have large numbers of youth who have certain types of behaviors. So we do need to take advantage of those programs in other places."

Broadcast live on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.