Monthly Archives: September 2022

A Police Shooting in Ludlow

I live in Chester and have wondered when an officer-involved shooting with resultant death was going to occur in our “neck of the woods.” I consider Ludlow our “neck of the woods,” a town where my husband has worked for 37 years.

On Aug. 15 of this year, a local man was experiencing a crisis. According to all reports he had called 911 more than two dozen times that afternoon. Not sure what else a person in distress is able to do to notify his very community that he was in need of help. Not sure what the 911 protocol is when they receive multiple calls from an individual in crisis. Shouldn’t there be a non-police crisis intervention team sent to respond in some way? Work the phones, call the family, call the neighbors, something other than what happened here on this very sad day? (more…)

By |2022-10-08T19:07:44+00:00September 27, 2022|Commentary|0 Comments

Solitary Confinement in Vermont

“Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole, Secure Housing Unit… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion technique,”
— Juan E. Méndez , UN Special Rapporteur on torture, 2011

The United Nations considers solitary confinement, particularly anything beyond 15 days, as torture, and should be banned as a punishment technique. It is defined as “confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more a day without meaningful human contact.” If so, then surely it is not used in any correctional facility in Vermont, right?

Wrong. (more…)

By |2022-09-22T20:52:19+00:00September 22, 2022|Commentary|3 Comments

Words Matter

Society puts labels on some people the from the moment they are born. Sometimes it takes a little longer. For the most part, we no longer accept some of the cruel epithets we apply to people who are different from ourselves. Except for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.

Walk through the gates of any jail, and most of your human identity will be stripped away. You are no longer “you,” a person with a name, history, family and friends, home and education. You’re a six-digit ID, a cell number, living in a cookie-cutter cell block, unit, or pod. Now you’re a convict, a prisoner, inmate, felon, lifer, and every LGBTQ+ insult and swear word imaginable. Your crime/s — that’s your identity. Junkie, crackhead, death-dealing scum of the earth. Thief, rapist, kidnapper, murderer. (more…)

By |2022-09-16T12:39:49+00:00September 14, 2022|Commentary|0 Comments

Reflections on Restorative Justice

I thought I might just give you a few reflections today, to try to relate a few of my experiences as an agent in the traditional criminal justice system for over 30 years with the experience I had with the restorative justice model more recently.

But, first, permit me to read:

The Law is a rational entity represented by a collection of individuals endlessly replaced, whose good intentions and whose memories are, like themselves, itinerant. The [courts and the police ] in their diverse functions can do nothing to prevent crime, but they are constituted only to deal with cases as they arise.

These words, published in the 1840’s in France, resonate with my experience of the traditional criminal justice system, even today. The author of these words, the novelist Balzac, goes on to bemoan the lack of legislative support for a more robust preventive role for the police and, today, despite some advances in community policing, the situation today often remains unchanged. (more…)

By |2022-09-05T13:40:43+00:00September 5, 2022|Commentary|0 Comments
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