Tag Archives: CoreCivic

Everybody’s Breaking Down the Door of the Emergency Housing Hall of Shame

It’s been a bizarre week or so in Vermont politics, as Our Esteemed Leaders have just been falling all over each other trying not to address the imminent unsheltering of hundreds of Vermonters. (Which will happen on Thursday for those keeping track of such things.) They’re far more interested in positioning themselves and shifting blame than in crafting a humane and eminently doable way out of this mess.

Thursday is the day when some 800 households will lose eligibility for the motel voucher program that’s being allowed to expire for no good reason except, well, as Gov. Phil Scott likes to say, “It’s time.” Another 1,000 or so households will lose their places on July 1 or 29, depending.

The uncertainty stems from the governor’s deft sidestepping of the Democrats’ obvious ploy to trick him into signing the budget (spoiler alert: he vetoed the thing). In so doing, he managed to position himself to the left of the Democrats by allowing a ridiculous 28-day extension for some voucher clients. But not the ones about to lose their accommodations next week, no sirree Bob. The governor’s shift, which flies in the face of his previous insistence that the voucher program just absolutely had to end on schedule, was so hastily put together that this was how VTDigger summarized its impact:

It’s unclear how many people will receive the extra month of shelter. An actual breakdown was not available from state officials on Friday…

To put it another way, it’s just the latest Phil Scott clusterfuck on emergency housing. And yet, he’s in position to look like a hero — relatively speaking — not only for this inadequate extension, but also for the administration’s apparently precipitous issuance of an RFP for creation and staffing of up to 1,000 emergency shelter beds. The Democrats have no one but themselves to blame for their predicament.

Which leads us to the sad figure pictured above: former deputy secretary of state Chris Winters, seen here realizing that his soul is in a sealed jar on Jason Gibbs’ desk.

Continue reading

Through a Monitor, Darkly

More happy tidings concerning the much-ballyhooed “culture change” in the Vermont Department of Corrections in a VTDigger story about how state prisons are being reopened to visitors. The answer is slowly and incompletely, with strings attached. Unlike, say, the Scott administration’s policy toward the reopening of Vermont otherwise, which is to immediately remove all restraints.

The story also contains other tidbits that underscore the administration’s broader attitude toward inmates: that they don’t really deserve to be treated with dignity. There’s an undercurrent of “Inmates did something wrong and must be punished.” You see this over and over again in administration policy.

The DOC refused to prioritize inmates for vaccination, despite multiple outbreaks of Covid-19 inside our prisons. (Human Services Secretary made an absolute hash out of trying to explain that policy.) It put Covid-positive inmates into solitary confinement, which meant cruelly restrictive conditions normally reserved for the worst miscreants.

Now, the DOC is taking a go-slow approach to allowing visitors. “We want to make sure everybody is safe when we do this,” said Al Cormier, DOC director of operations. Gee, too bad that wasn’t the policy when inmates were made to wait their turn for vaccination even though they were demonstrably at high risk, and they could have been easily served because they’re all gathered in a handful of locations.

Continue reading