Vermont Department Of Corrections

Looking down a wing of closed doors at Camp Hill prison in Pennsylvania
Marc Levy / Associated Press file

Vermont's prisons — and how the state treats its incarcerated — has been the focus of scrutiny, possible expansion, and proposed reform. We're talking with Corrections Commissioner Lisa Menard about those reforms, potentially expanding state facilities and the status of Vermonters incarcerated in other states.

The Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield. In a report to the federal government, Vermont disclosed that 17 inmates were sexually victimized in state-run prisons last year.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

The Joint Fiscal Office will do a complete evaluation of the state’s prison health care system.

The exterior sign of Camp Hill Prison in Pennsylvania
Marc Levy / Associated Press

State officials met Tuesday with prospective bidders looking to house out-of-state inmates. In February, the Scott administration announced plans to solicit bids for alternative housing arrangements for the over-200 Vermont inmates housed out of state at a facility in Pennsylvania.

The Chittenden Regional Correctional facility could be closed under the plan proposed by the Scott Administration.
Courtesy, State of Vermont

Key legislative leaders say a new proposal by the Scott Administration to build a multi-purpose 925-bed prison in Franklin County is an ambitious plan that deserves a comprehensive review.

The exterior sign of Camp Hill Prison in Pennsylvania
Marc Levy / Associated Press

Earlier in June, 269 Vermont inmates moved from a private prison in Michigan to a Pennsylvania prison called Camp Hill, but the unit they were placed in can only hold 252 inmates. Advocates say that could be bad news for the 17 Vermont inmates who are now separated from the rest.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/file

Vermont is taking a hard look at how it treats people with mental illness in its prisons.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

A local attorney is asking that Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark release an engineering report on the building where he wants to build a detention center.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

A proposal by the Shumlin administration to drastically cut funding to high school programs for inmates is raising concerns inside prison classrooms. Community High School of Vermont operates in all seven prisons and in several probation offices. Lawmakers are considering closing five of the prison programs and reducing staffing by half.  

Credit: anurakpong / iStock

Over 7,000 Vermont children have parents who are incarcerated, and only about a third of them visit their mothers and fathers in jail.

Many of the people sent to state prison would qualify for Medicaid under the new Federal expansion of the Affordable Care Act. But, by law, once someone is convicted and sent to state prison, the state is on the hook for all of their care. Still, the Vermont Department of Corrections is working hard to ensure that as many people as possible are signed up for health insurance both before they are convicted, and as soon as they are released.