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Forum, Nov. 30: Another example of Vt.’s failed criminal justice system

Published: 11/29/2019 10:00:22 PM
Modified: 11/29/2019 10:00:13 PM
Another example of Vt.’s failed criminal justice system

It was recently reported that Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s administration wants to close the Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Colchester, the only one of its kind in the state, because the 30-bed facility was empty for the first time ever (“Officials move to shutter Woodside,” Nov. 27). The closing of Woodside will not solve the problems associated with juvenile crime but will be another example of the failed criminal justice system. The policymakers have no clue. To close the Woodside facility because it’s not used is a scripted way to justify their liberal approach to justice. The same tactic for “proving” the facility is no longer needed was done to Windsor prison and other facilities.

There will be no justice here for victims or for the perpetrators. No accountability regardless of the pain and loss. Instead of closing mental health and correctional facilities, we should be building more of them. The public safety demands it, the victims deserve it and at the same time, with properly run facilities and programs, the perpetrators can be given a chance to turn their lives around. If they choose not to, then they at least are kept from hurting others.

In the last 40 or so years, in the most tragic chapters in Vermont’s criminal justice and mental health history, the state closed the Windsor state prison, the Brandon Training School and the Weeks School. Later, even before Tropical Storm Irene’s flood, the state hospital in Waterbury was targeted for closing. We threw away these tried and true facilities to move into an untested area of community corrections and community mental health. Now we want to do it again. Such small-minded thinking should be a red flag for Scott, who should review the past before he repeats its mistakes.



A son’s pride at his mom’s good work

Growing up in Norwich afforded me an advantage in an competitive world, and it wasn’t just the schools. I was also blessed with incredible parents, two people ever-present in the community and the institutions that uphold it.

I’m proud of my mother, Cheryl Lindberg, who, 25 years into her tenure as Norwich town treasurer, is still paying attention. The recent email scam that almost cost the town $250,000 of hard-earned tax dollars could easily have been worse if not for her watchful eye. It demonstrates the vulnerabilities municipal governments face today and the need for good public servants.

I’m often asked what inspired my own passion for civic involvement. It started at Tracy Hall. I was in the third grade and recall standing outside on a frigid March day waving a support sign. It was Mom’s first campaign and it’s one of my most-cherished memories. I hope you are someday able to experience the pride involved in seeing a loved one commit to serving the community; there are many ways to do so.

My mother would tell you that her “career achievement” was serving as president of the New England States Government Finance Officers Association this past year. She focused her tenure on developing the talent pool in municipal finance and ethics — doing her part to pass along the baton.

On Dec. 12, Mom will also receive another honor. She has the chance to join a select group of 100 “Women Municipal Leaders” at the White House, where she’ll discuss issues of strategic importance to municipal governments across the country. Another fantastic opportunity to influence the future for the better.

My wife, Brittany, and I frequently seek more of Grammy Cheryl’s time, working to persuade her to wind down her commitments in town politics to help with her next challenge: diapers and Dr. Seuss. However, I often find myself wondering who will take over when she does decide to move on. Either way, I hope you can join me in congratulating her on a job well done.


Sioux Falls, S.D.

Working to improve animal welfare and reduce suffering

I write in response to the article on the Student Rescue Project, an organization I’m familiar with because my sister is a volunteer board member (“Puppies’ deaths raise questions: Owners shocked after pets die days after adoption from Norwich nonprofit,” Nov. 16).

They are trying hard to improve animal welfare and reduce suffering — good things. Few good things are without risk. I’m grateful for the organization’s work and for the love and companionship of my two Puerto Rican rescues.


East Thetford

A cruel reward for Miss N.H. contest

Miss New Hampshire is recognized for her leadership and achievement. But, as a reward for her accomplishment, she receives a symbol of cruelty and death — a coat made of the furs of several animals.

How did those animals’ coats become Miss New Hampshire’s coat?

Men (most trappers are men) set baited and concealed steel-jaw traps and wire snares to catch animals. Once caught, animals can linger for several hours and sometimes days as they die slowly of shock, starvation and dehydration while others succumb to exposure in freezing temperatures, suffocate in neck snares, are killed by other animals, or die from the crushing injuries of the trap itself.

Some trapped animals, especially mothers desperate to return to their young, often chew through their legs so they can escape.

Trappers kill the exhausted and helpless survivors by bludgeoning, stomping, drowning, shooting or strangling them to death.

Not only are traps cruel, but every year dogs, cats, birds and other animals are “accidentally” crippled and killed by traps.

The American Veterinary Medical Association condemns steel-jaw traps and has classified them as “inhumane.” They are forbidden in 88 countries and their use is banned or restricted in several U.S. states.

Help put a stop to this cruel tradition.



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