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So far megmcc has created 52 blog entries.

Finding Hope Within

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…)

By |2024-06-04T11:55:30+00:00June 3, 2024|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A new prison is nothing new

“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.”


By |2024-04-25T14:17:40+00:00April 25, 2024|Commentary|1 Comment


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…)

By |2024-03-31T17:44:54+00:00March 27, 2024|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Good Things Take Time

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…)

By |2024-02-07T13:25:28+00:00February 7, 2024|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

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…)

By |2024-01-28T13:42:11+00:00January 28, 2024|Commentary, Legislative|0 Comments

Behind the Smoke and Mirrors: The True Story of PRIN

His words were scratching through the poor connection of our video call and interrupted by banging doors and shouting voices, but his conviction could not have been any clearer: “I would rather have never known about the program than have something to invest my hope and creativity into and give ideas that were never brought anywhere. Our ideas never left that room. That’s not just grant fraud, that is spiritual fraud.”

He was telling me about the Prison Research and Innovation Project, known simply as PRIN, which began in Vermont in the fall of 2020. PRIN is a five-year pilot project which brings together a variety of different institutions; it is funded by Arnold Ventures, whose fortune is linked to corporate payouts in the final days of Enron; overseen by the Urban Institute, a DC-based non-profit; studied by researchers at the University of Vermont; and ultimately controlled by the Vermont Department of Corrections. Vermont DOC’s website describes PRIN as an effort at “improving prison environments and ensuring dignity and humanity for all.” (more…)

By |2023-12-11T20:22:25+00:00December 6, 2023|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Vermont Needs a Second Look

On Friday, November 3, 2023, the Center for Justice Reform at the Vermont Law & Graduate School hosted a day-long conference to discuss a proposed bill in the legislature, S.155, also known as “Second Look”  legislation.

Throughout the day, participants heard from various legal and criminal justice experts from around the country about the importance of Second Look. (more…)

By |2023-12-05T23:24:15+00:00December 4, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Keep Children out of Adult Courts

Below is a letter written to Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos concerning the decision to charge a 14-year-old as an adult. You can also write or call Ms Vekos at or 802-388-7931. Also, contact your state representatives and tell them that we should never charge a minor as an adult. (more…)

By |2023-11-13T14:11:32+00:00November 13, 2023|Commentary, Legislative|1 Comment

Illness is not a Crime

It is time for our legislative body to make a full commitment to truly funding meaningful treatment to Vermont’s epidemic of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the creation of appropriate treatment facilities. Where is our opioid settlement money? I concur our state is trying, but the idea of helping a “drug addict” still sticks in some legislators‘ craw. (more…)

By |2023-11-06T17:24:01+00:00November 6, 2023|Commentary, Legislative|1 Comment
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