Monthly Archives: May 2023

Older and Sicker

When asked why the death rate in Vermont prisons has gone up so drastically, Corrections Commissioner Nick Deml replied that the prison population is getting older and sicker. It might have come as a surprise to some that we have so many old and / or sick people in our prisons. Some people might think that the people that we lock away are there because they’re scarey and dangerous. That they are there for our protection. In fact, they are there because we as a society insist upon punishment. They remain behind bars until they are old and frail because we feel they haven’t been punished enough. And so we have a geriatric, or long term care unit, where people are in wheelchairs and with walkers, some in various stages of dementia, are waiting to die. And we have people who die in prison. (more…)

By |2023-05-30T21:19:14+00:00May 30, 2023|Uncategorized|2 Comments

What’s Wrong with Vermont Prison Healthcare?

In December 2019, a man named Kenneth Johnson in the infirmary at the Northern State Correctional Facility was gasping for breath and begging staff to bring him to a hospital. Another man in the infirmary with him reported that he banged on the window for help, but was told by a corrections officer to knock it off or he’d take him to the hole — solitary confinement. Mr Johnson died before the sun rose the next morning. (more…)

By |2023-05-23T14:44:58+00:00May 23, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Vermont Prisons’ For Profit Healthcare

On May 4, 2023, members of the Vermont Just Justice organization held a rally at the statehouse to bring awareness to the accepted practice of denying healthcare to incarcerated individuals. Vermont law 28 VSA 801 (a) clearly states the following: The department shall provide healthcare for inmates in accordance with prevailing medical standards. A quick look up for the VitalCore Kansas-based provider states the following under cost containment: VitalCore controls costs by ensuring that the patient receives the right amount of care the first time. And there is an emphasis on their staff being trained to make medical judgement calls and only sending patients offsite when needed. (more…)

By |2023-05-17T14:35:16+00:00May 17, 2023|Commentary|0 Comments

Change is Overdue at DOC

Your spouse, or loved one, or sibling, or child, has an encounter with the law. It can happen, doesn’t matter why. What then begins is a journey through our criminal justice system. The experience for the folks on the outside can be frightening, and is always hard, and frustrating, constantly disappointing, and is heartbreakingly real. The reality so stunning in the not-what-you-expected, or thought-you-knew or understood about the system ­— only to be horrified by the actual facts. From the moment of arraignment to the first days of incarceration to trying to navigate their draconian rules just to be a parent or loved one and to attempt to protect your loved one from the pitfalls of the system ­— and to try to work with the system — only to be slapped in the face with the reality that the system is broken. And they want it that way. (more…)

By |2023-05-09T17:06:48+00:00May 9, 2023|Uncategorized|2 Comments
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