The opportunity for employment is only available to sentenced incarcerated persons. The job selections range from custodial type jobs, to painting, and kitchen work. In each housing unit, there are two laundry worker positions and a unit cleaner position. Generally, there is also a living unit cleaner who handles the exterior hallways between units. Maintainence positions cover mowing the grass, sweeping and/or shoveling walkways and maintainence and repair of the appliances in each unit – microwaves, washers/dryers. They also handle the loading dock responsibilities. Due to security issues, all of these positions are so heavily supervised, everything takes twice as long… and due to the lack of proper wages and unskilled laborers, everything is done less than half as well. Officers are overworked and taxed with with not only being a correctional officer, but also a personnel manager and supervisor. (more…)
During the recent discussion about Proposal 2, which, if passed, would prohibit slavery and indentured servitude in the state constitution, its effect on incarcerated people working inside our state prisons came up. Are these people working as slaves of the state?
In a September 20,2022 article in VtDigger, we read:
“Rachel Feldman, a spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections, told VTDigger that the department does “not see any issue with Proposal 2 and our current policies and practices” around employing incarcerated Vermonters. Those workers do earn less per hour than minimum wage, Feldman said, but they are not forced to perform labor, and they apply for their positions at correctional facilities.”
This is true, but the facts as stated here don’t describe the situation in the facilities. To say that the workers earn less than minimum wage is an understatement. the great majority of them make $1.25 a day (yes, per day), or less. A handful of jobs requiring more skill can pay as much as $7 a day. Still, there are not enough jobs to go around, and people are grateful for the small amount that they can earn. (more…)
During my journey as a parent of an incarcerated loved one, I have discovered some interesting and perplexing things about Vermont‘s Department of Corrections. One of the most disappointing is the lack of chaplaincy in Vermont‘s facilities. When my loved one was first incarcerated, I was aware he was deeply depressed and needed support. While I am not necessarily religious, I have worked with prison chaplains over the last 10 years in different capacities. I’ve always found them to be interested in listening, and willing to give and receive messages to loved ones. They are often the only person who can go to restricted housing units and visit with inmates in a supportive capacity. They can bring in religious texts when needed. (more…)