According to the ACLU, Vermont currently incarcerates approximately 1,700 people. That’s three times the number of people it incarcerated in the 1980s and 50 percent more people than in the late 1990s. According to the Sentencing Project, Vermont imprisons Black men at a higher rate than any other state. All this comes at great cost: the FY17 budget for the Department of Corrections was $142 million.
On January 24, 2018, the ACLU of Vermont launched Smart Justice Vermont. This is part of the National ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice that was launched in 2014 with a goal of cutting the national prison population of 2.3 million people in half. We discuss how Vermont, and the US, can take concrete steps to end mass incarceration. Cobb also discusses his experience being incarcerated in Pennsylvania. (January 24, 2018 broadcast)
James Lyall, executive director, ACLU of Vermont
Bill Cobb, deputy director, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice
Katrina Battle, founder, Milton Inclusion & Diversity Initiative