Finding Hope Within

June 3, 2024|0 Comments

There is a unique exhibit at Brattleboro’s Brooks Memorial Library for the months of June and July. Finding Hope Within showcases writing, drawing, collage, and crochet from women incarcerated in the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, Vermont’s only women’s prison. The show includes some poetry that has been set and illustrated in letterpress by A Revolutionary Press in South Burlington, one of the exhibit’s curators. The library is also hosting some events related to incarceration to complement the art exhibit. (more…)

A new prison is nothing new

April 25, 2024|1 Comment

“The traditional closed institution has a consistent record of failure over the last 200 years. With increasing caseloads and steadily rising costs, Vermont cannot afford programs that are proven failures and will only become more wasteful of money and human potential.”

These words were written not by some radical activist, but by Department of Corrections Commissioner Kent Stoneman in a 1972 report titled “A Comprehensive Proposal for Corrections in Vermont.”



March 27, 2024|0 Comments

March 15th was the last legislative session before crossover. Crossover is when bills that have passed out of one chamber, house or senate, get passed to the other, senate or house, to be taken up, And since this is the second year of our legislative biennial, any bill that hasn’t “made the crossover” will need to be refiled the following year. (more…)

Good Things Take Time

February 7, 2024|0 Comments

A Common-Sense Approach Can Address Addiction and Crime

Haste makes waste, an old adage that rings true today. The ability of opioids to take root in our very state, towns, neighborhoods and families took time. Yet the recent Bill H.534 demonstrates how quickly lawmakers jump to increasing multiple retail theft penalties into some serious jail time. Quick to make this choice, versus meaningful rehabilitation time for those repeat shoplifters, likely stealing to support a pernicious opioid addiction. (more…)

The “tough on crime” approach won’t solve our problems

January 28, 2024|0 Comments

Criminologists talk a lot about the pendulum swing between “tough on crime” strategies and those that rely more on human services than punishment. These swings are evident in legislation, and other policy measures. We are seeing it now at the Vermont Statehouse: a swing back to the “tough on crime” approach. Being tough on crime means a few different things. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable response; of course we don’t want to be “tolerant” of crime. But what it means in practice is costly laws passed in response to (understandably) fed-up and worried constituents, without sufficient thought to the long-term consequences, and more importantly, what the existing evidence-base shows to be effective.

I appreciate the constituents’ worries and the legislators’ desire to be responsive. But there is clear evidence that as states increase investments in criminal legal apparatuses, they reduce investment in human services/welfare. And naturally, as we divest from human services, and funding that would raise those most in need, we see more social problems in the form of houselessness, untreated mental illness and substance use disorder. (more…)

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Vermont Just Justice is an all-volunteer organization. Help us continue to support Vermont’s incarcerated people and change our state’s criminal legal system.