The Vermont Statutes Online
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Executive Order No. 3-88 (No. 03-19) [Justice Reinvestment II Working Group]
WHEREAS, Vermont has a history of implementing innovative and effective policy interventions and evidence-based practices and programs to improve public safety and public health outcomes; and
WHEREAS, between 2007 and 2008, the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG), worked with Vermont state leaders to analyze Vermont’s criminal justice data, interview stakeholders across the criminal justice system, and develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety which resulted in 2008 justice reinvestment legislation which improved screening and assessment for behavioral health treatment needs, increased access to community-based substance use treatment programs, focused supervision resources on individuals most likely to reoffend and expanded transitional housing opportunities and job training programs (“Justice Reinvestment I); and
WHEREAS, Justice Reinvestment I successfully reversed upward pressure on the prison population which, in 2007 was projected to increase 23% by 2018, so that it actually fell 7% between Fiscal Year 2007 and Fiscal Year 2015; and
WHEREAS, resources in our criminal justice system must continue to be deployed to combat crimes in our communities, but we must also thoughtfully evaluate whether we are effectively investing in strategies that break the cycle of crime and incarceration; and
WHEREAS, to better identify, analyze, and address challenges in Vermont-particularly those that lie at the intersection of the opioid crisis and criminal justice-Vermont state leaders have elected to form a working group and seek support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts to gather data, evaluate processes and programs, and make recommendations on policies designed to most efficiently allocate resources while keeping the public safe, thus freeing up funds for reinvestment in strategies that improve public safety and public welfare; and
WHEREAS, this working group will bring state leaders, agencies and interested parties from across our criminal justice and behavioral health systems together to use data and best practices to inform policy changes and improvements.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Philip B. Scott, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor, do hereby create the Justice Reinvestment II Working Group, as follows:
I. Composition and Appointments
The Justice Reinvestment II Working Group shall consist of two members of the administration appointed by the Governor, the Defender General, or designee, the Attorney General, or designee, the Executive Director of States Attorneys and Sheriffs, or designee, the Executive Director of Racial Equity, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety or designee, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections or designee, the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health or designee, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, or a designee with expertise in the public health effects of the opioid crisis in Vermont, a representative from the ACLU of Vermont and a representative from the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Further, the Governor shall invite the Speaker of the House to appoint two members of the House and the Senate Committee on Committees to appoint two members from the Senate.
The Governor shall invite the Chief Justice to serve as Chair of the Commission and appoint one other member of the Judiciary.
II. Justice Reinvestment II Working Group Charge and Process
The Justice Reinvestment II Working Group will assess the population trends and programming in the State’s corrections system and consider criminal justice reform strategies as part of the Justice Reinvestment II initiative with the overarching goals of promoting safer, healthier communities and reducing costs.
The Justice Reinvestment II Working Group will work with the CSG to conduct a review of programming, transitional services and population trends in Vermont’s correctional facilities. The review may include an evaluation of the women’s corrections population in Vermont and the programming and services to meet their needs, the detention population and barriers that exist to reducing the corrections population.
The CSG review shall include direct engagement and learning from interested parties statewide, including, but not limited to Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, Vermont Crime Victim Services, Vermont branches of the NAACP, Migrant Justice and the Pride Center of Vermont.
All departments, offices, boards and agencies of the State shall provide assistance and cooperation to the Working Group and the CSG which may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this Executive Order.
On or before December 1, 2019, the Justice Reinvestment II Working Group report on the data collected, options developed and analyzed and recommendations for policy changes.
III. Expense Reimbursement
I hereby authorize per diem compensation and reasonable and necessary expense reimbursement for travel and food for members who are not full-time State employees pursuant to 32 V.S.A. §1010(e).
IV. Effective Date
This Executive Order shall take effect upon execution.
Dated July 9, 2019.