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Lawmakers look at freeing Vermont's oldest inmates - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lawmakers look at freeing Vermont's oldest inmates

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Vermont lawmakers are looking at giving the state's oldest offenders get-out-jail-free cards.

Vermont's prison population exceeds the state's capacity, forcing prisoners to be held in out-of-state facilities.

The state Senate is poised to pass a measure to furlough offenders older than 65 if they have already served the minimum sentence.

Legislators hope to relieve some of the prison population pressure.

"We are merely authorizing the Department of Corrections through this bill to allow those people to be furloughed should the Department of Corrections deem it to be appropriate. They would of course be under some regulation should they be released," said Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County.

The measure would only apply to nonviolent offenders.

Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito has called on the Legislature to do what it can to shrink inmate numbers. Pallito says no offenders in prison right now would fit the criteria in the bill; with an aging population that could change in the years ahead.

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