Letter: Bring Vermont Prisoners Home
To the Editor:
The Valley News’ coverage of the Grassroots Leadership report highlighting Vermont’s exportation of prisoners and its Nov. 30 editorial response send a potent moral message to all Vermonters. As someone who has been a link to the outside world for a prisoner held in Kentucky since 2004, I can attest personally to the negative, wasteful impact of shipping prisoners off to privately operated, for-profit penal colonies detailed in the editorial. As the editorial states, prisoners are, indeed, isolated from family and community and effectively barred from legal assistance, rehabilitative opportunities and treatment. The sole beneficiary of the $61.7 million paid by Vermont is the Correction Corp. of America. I can further attest that responses to calls made to corrections officials in Vermont on a prisoner’s behalf seeking redress are pro forma, yielding no result. A thousand miles away, Vermont prisoners are out of sight and out of mind.
It is my urgent hope that the combined force of the Grassroots Leadership report and the powerful Valley News editorial can spark a strong and vocal movement to return Vermont prisoners to Vermont. To fuel that movement, a series of Valley News articles focused point by point on the issues raised in its editorial would keep Vermont’s obligation to bring its prisoners home front and center in the public arena. Simultaneously, it would accomplish the further public service of shining a bright light on Vermont’s obligation to make treatment, rehabilitative opportunities and access to legal assistance the cornerstone of its corrections policy. I most sincerely hope the Valley News, with its excellent record of following up on the news, can take up this challenging task.
Patricia F. Carini