(MONTPELIER, Vermont) — A new report released today by Grassroots Leadership, a national social justice organization that works to end for-profit incarceration, examines Vermont’s 10-year history of shipping inmates to private prisons out-of-state as a response to overcrowding. Today, nearly 500 Vermont prisoners are serving their sentences in prisons run by Corrections Corporation of America more than 1,000 miles from home.
Locked Up & Shipped Away: Paying the Price for Vermont’s Response to Prison Overcrowding, written by Holly Kirby, is a supplemental piece to the report released in November 2013 — Locked Up & Shipped Away: Interstate Prisoner Transfers and the Private Prison Industry. The new report focuses entirely on Vermont’s use of out-of-state private prisons, characteristics of the current prison population, and includes written testimony from both family members and Vermont men serving time in Kentucky.
Holly Kirby, organizer with Grassroots Leadership and author of the report, said, “The message remains the same. This policy is a costly band-aid for a problem that requires sustainable, systemic change. Shipping prisoners far from home punishes families and children, emotionally and financially. It severs critical supportive ties between prisoners and loved ones, shown to contribute to better outcomes once released — something that should concern all Vermonters. At the end of the day, the only party that benefits is Corrections Corporation of America because the more Vermonters who fill their prison beds, the better their bottom line.”
Kirby was joined by members of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, including director Suzi Wizowaty, Grassroots Leadership’s Vermont partner in the Locked Up and #ShippedAway Campaign. Other speakers and attendees included affected family members, formerly incarcerated Vermonters, members of the faith community, a steward from the Vermont State Employees Association, a representative of the Prisoners’ Rights Office, members of the legislature, and a representative from the restorative justice community.
Holly Kirby, Grassroots Leadership, firstname.lastname@example.org, (501) 339-1003
Suzi Wizowaty, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, email@example.com, (802) 864-5651