Legislators taking Vermont backward!

Video by Vermont State Employees Association

The proposal to close Vermont’s Windsor prison is a real step backwards for Vermont! This is not just any prison, they have been integrated into Vermont’s food security infrastructure. This is a deficit in understanding that there is more kinds of capital than just financial. Let them know what you think of this – http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/

Excerpt from VTDigger article FOOD PROGRAM MAY BE HURT IF WINDSOR PRISON CLOSES (below) by Tommy Gardner, of the Stowe Reporter, in which it was first published March 19, 2015.

Acost-saving proposal to close a prison in Windsor is causing alarm, because the inmates prepare vegetables to help feed the hungry in Vermont.

Salvation Farms, a Morristown-based organization, works with area farmers to get their surplus late-season crops to food shelves, schools and hospitals.

The nonprofit group has been employing inmates from the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Windsor to do some of the work and recently raised $156,000 to renovate a prison building to increase output.

Just last week, Vermont lawmakers proposed closing the Windsor prison.

The House Appropriations Committee is trying to close a $113.2 million gap in the state budget, as revenue continues to lag behind projections.

The committee is now discussing about $13 million worth of cuts, including $820,000 from closing the Windsor prison. The prison houses 100 inmates.

The shutdown would also put the Salvation Farms’ project in limbo, which is already underway. The nonprofit has raised $73,500 from 130 individuals and businesses and $82,500 from 10 foundations to renovate the food processing facility at the prison.

The organization has spent $20,000 for design expenses and invested $7,000 in Black River Produce, which trucks the produce between the prison and the various food shelves and institutions.

“For a small organization of 1.75 employees, it’s taken a lot of energy and determination, and it would be unfortunate to lose this,” Theresa Snow, Salvation Farms’ founder and executive director, said last week. “It has substantial program implications for us, as we try to build the Vermont Commodity Program.”

Deb Krempecke, director of Lamoille Community Food Share, has been receiving fresh produce from Salvation Farms since 2005.

Krempecke was “really upset” to hear that the prison could be on the chopping block, “especially now that (Snow) finally got it together. As a small organization, we’re in awe when someone can raise that amount of money.”

The Vermont Commodity Program, launched at the prison in 2012, “gleans” surplus crops that might otherwise rot on the vine or wind up in the compost pile. So far, according to Snow, 275,414 POUNDS of gleaned produce has been processed at the prison with the help of about 50 inmates. That volume — more than a quarter-million pounds of crops such as potatoes and winter squash — came from only 14 farms over three harvest seasons. More than half of it, 187,000 pounds, has gone to the Vermont Foodbank.

Last Friday, Snow asked the House Appropriations Committee to reconsider the plan to close the prison….

(Full article)

Related Article HOUSE LAYS OUT $13 MILLION IN NEW BUDGET CUTS

Some of the comments from Budget Cuts article:

– How does closing that prison help? The prisoners still need to be kept somewhere. Instead, we should stop sending them out of state (to be held by private for-profit low-ballers).

– I agree with Moshe, closing the only prison that does any form of rehab is a stupid idea- though typical of Montpelier. Bring the ones home that are out of state makes more sense.

– The cost of incarcerating a Vermont prisoner in Windsor work camp is about $74000 a year, these beds will be made up by shipping prisoners out of state where the average cost is $26000. Sounds good until you look at what you get for the money, CCA provides zilch in terms of services, and this is an effective tax on families who travel thousands of miles to maintain family ties. A completely bogus idea

– Private prisons are NOT cheaper. That’s why some states are doing away with private prison contracts. Private prisons pick and choose which prisoners they will take and who they will not take. That makes it distorted. If a private school only accepted A students without special ed. from 2 parent families, making over $100,000 per year, it would cost less per student. Private prisons are exactly the same. Closing Windsor would be just another boneheaded move by amateurs who, haven’t a clue what they’re doing.

This budget is in trouble for one reason: Incompetent leadership. This administration has squandered money, denied reality, blamed others and hired nincompoops based solely on their political background. It’s their way or the highway. I think Vermonters are fed up.

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