‘Good Time’ Is Not an Option for Many Vermont Inmates


Vermont is the only New England state that does not offer good-behavior credit to its prison inmates, reports the White River Junction Valley News. Many states eliminated earned released time as part of the draconian criminal justice policy changes beginning in the mid-1990s. Vermont came late to the trend, taking away good time credit in 2005. When the recession arrived in 2008, good time came back in vogue. Today, at least two-thirds of all states offer some form of a good-behavior break–typically, up to five days credited toward early release for every 30 days served with good conduct.

But Vermont is not one of them. And its prison system has a troubling bifurcation: Those convicted of crimes committed after July 1, 2005, are not eligible for good-time credit, while those involved in earlier crimes are. “If you're trying to transform prisoners' lives, you need to have some incentives,” said Ryan King of the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. The newspaper says reform is not forthcoming in Vermont because lawmakers have no political will on the issue.

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