February 2, 2018
February 2, 2018
In May 2017, WIA reported on the Vermont DOC signing a new contract with its Pennsylvania counterpart to house 250 Vermont inmates in two Pennsylvania prisons. The deal came with a hefty price tag of $7.1 million annually for three years (with extensions possible). Many questioned the move, because at the same time the deal was being negotiated and signed, several State officials and lawmakers were publicly declaring that it was the goal of Vermont to return all of its out-of-state inmates back to their home state. Even larger questions arose after it was divulged that the deal required the Vermont inmates to relinquish their rights and essentially become Pennsylvania DOC inmates. Now, Seven Days reports on January 31 that, less than a year in, Vermont inmates are alleging mistreatment and abuse.
From the story:
“Unlike past housing arrangements with private contractors, Vermont no longer makes the rules for how guards treat its out-of-state inmates. That puts Pennsylvania in charge of holding guards accountable for the way prisoners are treated. [Vermont] Inmates such as Wool have reported both threats and intimidation.”
“Because of limited phone access, Camp Hill inmates rely mostly on letters and a pay-per-message online system similar to email. In letters to Seven Days, three inmates detailed threats they say corrections officials have made since mid-December.
Vermont’s deputy corrections commissioner, Mike Touchette, told the House Corrections and Institutions Committee on January 9 that budgetary concerns restrict Vermont’s ability to force Pennsylvania to change conditions for Vermonters.
‘The more demands we place on the receiving state to provide services or follow our policies and procedures, it requires additional staffing, which drives the price up,’ he said.”
The story concludes that Pennsylvania officials refused to comment on the specific allegations being made to Seven Days.
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