Corrections Head Supports Recidivism Bill

04/28/11 7:04AM By Patti Daniels

(Host) Vermont's Corrections commissioner says a bill that targets the problem of repeat offenders takes the right approach.

The bill is called the "War on Recidivism Act" and it gives the Corrections Department more flexibility in how it deals with non-violent offenders, especially those whose crimes are related to drug addiction.

Commissioner Andy Pallito says substance abuse treatment programs would be a better option than prison for some of these offenders:

(Pallito) "One of the things we see in the Department of Corrections is that 70 plus percent of the people who come to the DOC in a given year - and so there are thousands of people flowing through our doors - have an addiction in their past or in their present. And so really getting at the heart of that issue is what this focus is all about."

(Host)  Pallito points out that the Department of Corrections is part of the Agency of Human Services, and that the department take a human services approach to preventing further crime:

(Pallito)  "The focus right now is on substance abuse, but also case work, mental health and other things. And if you can get to those root causes, you can prevent crime that way, rather than using the punishment model, which you know, doesn't really, doesn't really have a lot of good outcomes on it."

(Host) The recidivism bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee, and is expected to pass. It passed the Senate unanimously earlier this month.

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