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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 28: Public Institutions and Corrections


  • § 1. Purposes

    (a) The Department of Corrections created by 3 V.S.A. § 3081 shall have the purpose of developing and administering a correctional program designed to protect persons and property against offenders of the criminal law and to render treatment to offenders with the goal of achieving their successful return and participation as citizens of the State and community, to foster their human dignity and to preserve the human resources of the community.

    (b) The Department shall formulate its programs and policies recognizing that almost all criminal offenders ultimately return to the community, and that the traditional institutional prisons fail to reform or rehabilitate, operating instead to increase the risk of continued criminal acts following release. The Department shall develop and implement a comprehensive program that will provide necessary closed custodial confinement of frequent, dangerous offenders, but that also will establish as its primary objective the disciplined preparation of offenders for their responsible roles in the open community. The Department shall ensure that the comprehensive program required by this subsection includes a process by which each offender sentenced to any term of imprisonment other than for life without parole, within 30 days after receiving his or her sentence, shall begin to develop and implement a plan preparing for return to the community.

    (c) In order to implement its programs and policies the Department shall develop and maintain correctional facilities that shall include both residence-centered institutions and facilities reflecting nonresidence principles designed to facilitate the reintegration of the offender into the community. These facilities shall utilize the supporting resources of probation and parole services, the increased cooperation of personnel in the fields of welfare, health, and education, and the increased participation of the citizens of the State in attempts to achieve correctional purposes and objectives. (Added 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 20; amended 2005, No. 63, § 17.)

  • § 2. Construction

    (a) The provisions of this title shall be liberally construed in order to effectuate the general purposes stated in section 1 of this title.

    (b) The discretionary powers authorized by this title shall be exercised in accordance with the criteria stated in the title. If these criteria are not dispositive in a particular instance, the general purposes established in section 1 of this title shall be controlling. (Added 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 20.)

  • § 2a. Restorative justice

    (a) State policy. It is the policy of this State that principles of restorative justice be included in shaping how the criminal justice system responds to persons charged with or convicted of criminal offenses, and how the State responds to persons who are in contempt of child support orders. The policy goal is a community response to a person's wrongdoing at its earliest onset, and a type and intensity of sanction tailored to each instance of wrongdoing. Policy objectives are to:

    (1) Resolve conflicts and disputes by means of a nonadversarial community process.

    (2) Repair damage caused by criminal acts to communities in which they occur, and to address wrongs inflicted on individual victims.

    (3) Reduce the risk of an offender committing a more serious crime in the future, that would require a more intensive and more costly sanction, such as incarceration.

    (b) Implementation. It is the intent of the General Assembly that law enforcement officials develop and employ restorative justice approaches whenever feasible and responsive to specific criminal acts, pursuant to 3 V.S.A. §§ 163 and 164, concerning court diversion; 13 V.S.A. chapter 221, concerning sentencing; and the provisions of this title, concerning persons in the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections. It is the further intent of the General Assembly that such restorative justice programs be designed to encourage participation by local community members, including victims, when they so choose, as well as public officials, in holding offenders accountable for damage caused to communities and victims, and in restoring offenders to the law-abiding community, through activities:

    (1) That require offenders to:

    (A) acknowledge wrongdoing and apologize to victims;

    (B) make restitution for damage to the victims, consistent with provisions of 13 V.S.A. chapter 221 and of this title;

    (C) make reparation for damage to the community by fulfilling a community service; and

    (D) when relevant, successfully complete treatment addressing the offense or other underlying problematic behavior, or undertake academic or vocational training or other self-improving activity.

    (2) That aid in the recovery of victims, recognizing that victims, particularly of violent crime, often suffer lifelong effects and, accordingly, must feel safe and involved in any program offered to assist them.

    (3) That help in identifying the causes of crime and ways community members and municipal and State government can reduce or prevent crime in the future. (Added 1999, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 62, eff. May 24, 2000; amended 2011, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.)

  • § 3. General definitions

    As used in this title:

    (1) "Child" means any person:

    (A) charged with having committed a delinquent act as defined in 33 V.S.A. § 5102 or adjudicated a delinquent and committed to the custody of the Commissioner; or

    (B) charged with being or adjudicated unmanageable as defined by 33 V.S.A. § 5102(3)(C) and (D), and committed to the custody of the Commissioner for Children and Families and subsequently transferred to the custody of the Commissioner.

    (C) [Repealed.]

    (2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Corrections.

    (3) "Correctional facility" or "facility" means any building, enclosure, space, or structure of or supported by the Department and used for the confinement of persons committed to the custody of the Commissioner, or for any other matter related to such confinement.

    (4) "Department" means the Department of Corrections.

    (5) "Inmate" means any person, not a child, committed to the custody of the Commissioner pursuant to the law of the State and subsequently committed to a correctional facility and any person confined at a correctional facility during the pendency of a prosecution against him or her.

    (6) "Law" includes the laws and ordinances of the State, its political subdivisions, and municipalities.

    (7) "Law enforcement officer" means a State Police officer, a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, a municipal police officer, a constable, the Commissioner, or a member of the Department of Corrections when appointed in writing by the Commissioner and when his or her appointment is filed in the Office of the Secretary of State. The Commissioner or such member shall have the same powers as a sheriff.

    (8) "Offender" means any person convicted of a crime or offense under the laws of this State, and, for purposes of work crew, a person found in civil contempt under 15 V.S.A. § 603.

    (9) "Supervising officer" means the highest administrative officer in charge of any correctional facility.

    (10) "Correctional officer" means any person who is an employee of the Department of Corrections whose official duties or job classification includes the supervision or monitoring of a person on parole, probation, or serving any sentence of incarceration whether inside or outside a correctional facility, and who has received training, as approved by the Commissioner of Corrections, as provided in section 551a of this title.

    (11) "Restorative justice program" means a program developed and implemented by the Commissioner, consistent with State policy and legislative intent as provided by section 2a of this title.

    (12) Despite other names this concept has been given in the past or may be given in the future, "segregation" means a form of separation from the general population that may or may not include placement in a single-occupancy cell and that is used for disciplinary, administrative, or other reasons, but shall not mean confinement to an infirmary or a residential treatment setting for purposes of evaluation, treatment, or provision of services. (Added 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 20; amended 1997, No. 152 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 63, eff. May 24, 2000; 2011, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 2013, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 130; 2017, No. 78, § 3.)

  • § 4. Standard measure of recidivism

    The Department shall calculate the rate of recidivism based upon offenders who are sentenced to more than one year of incarceration who, after release from incarceration, return to prison within three years for a conviction for a new offense or a violation of supervision resulting, and the new incarceration sentence or time served on the violation is at least 90 days. (Added 2013, No. 41, § 1, eff. May 20, 2013.)