Vt. Parole Board to stick with online hearing format

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 6:23 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - While some courts have the capability to allow for in-person hearings, Vermont’s Parole Board says they plan to stick with an online format.

Since the start of the pandemic, Vermont Parole Board hearings have been held remotely through Microsoft Teams. Before the pandemic, the office would travel to the prison for hearings.

According to data from the office, participation in these hearings increased during the pandemic, noting a 10% decrease in the number of people waiving their hearings between 2019 and 2022.

Parole Board director Mary Jane Ainsworth says the pros outweigh any potential cons. “More individuals are being placed on parole, whereas prior there were more individuals on furlough supervision. It really gives the Parole Board the opportunity to have a quicker response in some cases too, where they may not have, where they’re just going to one site once a month,” she said.

Furlough supervision is designed for offenders who pose a low risk to public safety, and can be monitored by the Department of Corrections.

Ainsworth says remote hearings are also more accessible for victims and family members to attend.