Out-of-state inmates housed in a Pennsylvania state prison will be moved to yet another state. These inmates are not going back to their home state of Vermont; they will instead be moved to a private prison in Mississippi. The move comes in response to complaints about treatment, medical care and several inmate deaths, reported Lisa Rathke for The Associated Press.
To alleviate overcrowding and address the complaints, Vermont decided to move more than 225 inmates to a private facility in Tutwiler, Miss. This facility currently has 350 beds available for Vermont inmates, according to the AP story.
“If we can’t have all the inmates in Vermont, which is our preferred place to have them, then we’re looking for a system that can provide conditions of confinement that would be more similar to what you would have in Vermont,” Corrections Commissioner Lisa Menard told the AP.
The Vermont Department of Corrections announced the two-year contract in September when it also addressed problems associated with disciplinary segregation, access to lawyers, and medical and mental health fees.
Once moved, the inmates will have access to unmonitored phones to contact their attorneys, something previously not available to them in Pennsylvania.
Despite this, the local ACLU and other Vermont advocates told the AP they object to putting more distance between inmates, their families and other support groups.
“It is time for Vermont to stop moving human beings across the country from one warehouse to another and come up with a plan to bring them home where we can monitor and rehabilitate them properly,” said Tom Dalton, Executive Director of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform.