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Controversy over planned cuts to Vt. Corrections - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Controversy over planned cuts to Vt. Corrections

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Controversy over cuts planned for the Vermont Department of Corrections.

Gov. Peter Shumlin's budget plan calls for a $2 million cut to the Community High School of Vermont. That is the high school run by Corrections for offenders in prison and out on parole. The school is accredited, awards high school diplomas and has a $4.5 million budget. The Shumlin administration plan would cut the budget and number of staff in half.

Critics say cutting education will drive up the risk for inmates to reoffend.

But Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito says the program is serving a dwindling number of young people. And he says if lawmakers do not approve the cut, his next option may be to close a prison and send offenders to a less expensive out-of-state facility.

"Closing a facility is probably the least risky. It's the most disruptive because you have more people out of state and you're running people out of state, but in terms of our public safety in the community it would be probably the next thing on the list," Pallito said.

Next week in our series "30 Schools in 30 Days," our Kristin Kelly goes inside the Community High School of Vermont to see how the program works and where the money goes.

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