About megmcc

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So far megmcc has created 51 blog entries.

Prisons Are Not Humane

The Vermont legislature appears to be going forward with the idea of building a new prison. The premise seems to be that, if you design a prison to be more humane, and build in more possibilities for training and education, then you are engaging in reform. But will these new prisons be surrounded by several fences and layers of razor wire? Will there still be a vehicle patrolling the perimeter? Will people still be strip-searched after visiting with their loved ones or on returning from a medical trip? Will the use of solitary confinement continue? Will people still be transported in the “chicken truck” sitting on benches in an unheated or uncooled panel truck, with no windows, shackled and unable to even buckle a seat belt? There’s no evidence that ending these practices are part of the discussion. But they are part of the daily trauma of being incarcerated. (more…)

By |2023-09-29T12:23:48+00:00September 28, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Reimagining Vermont

Abolition is about presence, not absence. It’s about building life-affirming institutions.” This quote by one of the prison abolition movement’s leaders, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, encapsulates why I choose abolition. I choose life, not death; I choose accountability not punishment; and I choose love not revenge. I come here today to make the case for abolition and insist that it is the time to transition our state away from incarceration. (more…)

By |2023-09-05T18:35:22+00:00September 5, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Private Prisons: A Bad Decision

It may come as a surprise that some Vermont inmates prefer to “go out of state.” It certainly comes as no surprise, given the abysmal conditions in Vermont’s prisons, that people convicted in our state want to be housed any place that is not home. I have been in both state prisons and housed out of state in for-profit facilities. I speak with some knowledge of both. It’s a fair question as to why anyone sentenced in Vermont wants to be far away. (more…)

By |2023-08-23T15:08:56+00:00August 23, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

VJJ Goes to Montpelier

On August 8, the advocates of Vermont Just Justice met with the legislators of the Joint Justice Oversight Committee to report on our findings from our collection of stories about the state of health care in our prisons. They were joined by several members of the House Health Care Committee. Corrections commissioner Nick Deml also gave a brief presentation. (more…)

By |2023-08-09T13:59:09+00:00August 9, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Health Care Accounts

Since the tragic death of David Mitchell in April, we have been gathering accounts from incarceration-impacted people around Vermont. The resulting stories, from currently and formerly incarcerated people and their friends and family, tells the real story of how people’s physical and mental health is being mistreated if not ignored in our prisons. Below are a dozen examples. (more…)

By |2023-07-07T10:58:53+00:00July 6, 2023|Uncategorized|2 Comments

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
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