Dec 3, 2014
Valley News

Report released on housing inmates out-of-state

Criminal justice reform advocates and family members of inmates urged Vermont on Wednesday to stop sending inmates out-of-state to for-profit prisons.

Grassroots Leadership, a social justice group, released a report at the Statehouse press conference on the costs and consequences of sending inmates to private prisons in other states in response to prison overcrowding. [node:read-more:link]

Dec 3, 2014
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus

Report urges bringing Vt. prisoners home

A new report recommends taking steps to bring home Vermont’s out-of-state prison population. Grassroots Leadership, a Texas-based group that advocates the end of for-profit prisons, released a study Wednesday calling for reforms to sentencing and supervision policies, expansion of drug and mental health treatment and a greater focus on transitional housing.

Dec 3, 2014

Advocates Identify Ways to Reduce Vermont’s Prison Population

VCJR is drafting a bill to reduce inmate populations, in hopes of getting a lawmaker to sponsor it. The group also released a study produced with Texas-based national group Grassroots Leadership, which is pushing for the end of private prisons across the country.

The study focuses on Vermont’s out-of-state prison population and advocates for an end to the practice. “This policy is a costly Band-Aid,” said Holly Kirby, who produced the study. [node:read-more:link]

Dec 3, 2014
Brattleboro Reformer

Report targets Vermont’s “shipped away” inmates. Band-Aid Impact: Severs critical supportive ties and leads to difficulty reintegrating into the community

The press conference was called by two groups — Grassroots Leadership and Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, to highlight a report titled "Locked Up and Shipped Away: Paying the Price for Vermont's Response to Prison Overcrowding." The document, which is a follow-up to a 2013 report and is available at, says there are nearly 500 male inmates from Vermont "being warehoused" in for-profit prisons. Most are in Kentucky, though a small number are housed in Arizona.

"The message remains the same: This policy is a costly Band-Aid for a problem that needs real, systemic, sustainable change," said Holly Kirby of Grassroots Leadership. "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." [node:read-more:link]

Dec 3, 2014

Families, groups speak out against state’s inmate transfer practice: Report released on housing inmates out-of-state

The national social justice group Grassroots Leadership released a report Wednesday at the Statehouse looking at Vermont's history of sending inmates to private prisons in other states in response to prison overcrowding.

The report says an over-reliance on out-of-state private prisons cuts ties between prisoners and families, which are critical to keeping inmates from reoffending. It also says shipping inmates out-of-state is costly to families, emotionally and financially.

Humpday Hall of Shame: Vermont paper misses the mark on out-of-state prisoner transfers

The Locked Up and #ShippedAway Campaign is in full force in Vermont, with our friends Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform leading the fight to bring approximately 500 men home from out-of-state private, for-profit prisons. More than a decade ago, Vermont prisoners were shipped away as a tactic, or "temporary solution" to alleviate prison overcrowding, yet little has been done to resolve this crisis. Vermont prisoners remain a steady revenue stream for Corrections Corporation of America, filling their prison beds in Kentucky and Arizona. Now, we are proud to stand with Vermonters and affected families who are bravely speaking out to put an end to this. 

That is why today's Humpday Hall of Shame belongs to the Caledonian Record, a rural Vermont paper whose editors have chosen to attack and intimidate the individuals who are fighting for the return of their loved one from out-of-state private prison. In an editorial comment titled, Keep Away, the authors attempt to shame two women who have spoken out about the pain and struggle they experience having their sons shipped away by calling them "sobbing moms" and exposing details from the two men's court cases. They wrote, "Ship 'em all to Kentucky, we say. Or Siberia for all we care." 

The Caledonian Record completely misses the mark.  The paper can choose to spew hate and attack vulnerable women who are speaking up for their loved ones and for better criminal justice practices.  But, that doesn't solve the problem for Vermonters whose loved ones are locked up out-of-state or for all Vermonters whose best interests include maintaining community ties for incarcerated people who eventually return home and in lowering prison populations and prison spending. At Grassroots Leadership, we stand in solidarity with prisoners and their families and all Vermonters fighting for safe and sane criminal justice policy, one that benefits communities and not private prison corporation bottom lines.  


Organizational Support for Campaign to Bring Prisoners Home Mounts in Vermont

For immediate release: October 30, 2014

(BURLINGTON, Vermont) — A letter signed by nearly thirty Vermont organizations, groups and businesses was delivered to the Administration and to political candidates today calling for the return of Vermonters from out-of-state, private, for- profit prisons. Letter signatories believe taxpayer dollars would be better spent on sustainable supports to keep people out of prison and serve those re-entering society.



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