Daily Archives: May 25, 2022

Inquisition Approves Study of Bastinado Reform

The killing of George Floyd, like the Sandy Hook shootings, were once seen as inflection points. So outrageous they were, that serious criminal justice reform seemed inevitable.

Ha. Ha ha ha. Cough, choke, heave.

On the day of yet another school shooting, we’ve got two stories from here in Vermont that depict, in stark terms, the fading (or faded, if you’re feeling especially doomy, which I am) hopes for real change.

First, we have a depressing VTDigger roundup of this year’s legislative “action” on justice-related bills. Worthy ideas were either consigned to the recycling bin, stripped of all import, or vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott.

Second, we have another spin of the Law Enforcement Merry-Go-Round, as Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling moves on to a much more lucrative position at UVM and his deputy (and former interim Burlington polilce chief) Jennifer Morrison steps in as interim.

I knew this hadn’t been a good year for justice-related legislation, but I hadn’t realized just how bad it was until I read the Digger story. Or as James Lyall, head of the Vermont ACLU, put it, a “long list” of police and justice bills “were either gutted or just defeated outright.”

All followed the well-established pattern. A reform bill is introduced, and the hordes of blue shirts immediately pounce. They are one of the most listened-to lobbies in Montpelier, and they usually get their way. They did, bigly, in 2022.

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