New Vermont prison proposal

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) The Scott administration is again asking lawmakers to consider a new, larger prison in Vermont.

Administration officials want to begin a discussion with lawmakers about how to best deal with aging prisons that don't provide inmates with the services and programs they need.

The administration pitched a plan that would close down aging prisons and bring more than 200 prisoners housed out of state back to Vermont. The concept was raised last year, but lawmakers immediately rejected it.

Agency of Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille says the administration isn't asking lawmakers to fund the plan. He just wants them to consider options for the future.

House Institutions and Corrections Chairwoman Alice Emmons thinks lawmakers will be more open to the idea this year.

"I think it will be different because people understand it more. Last year, people got hung up on thinking it was a big, big size and how we were going to build it," said Emmons, D-Springfield.

"We think this is a much better way to do corrections in our state and so we'd love to talk with the Legislature about it. But to be clear, it's not in our capital bill and so it's about having a good conversation, not about trying to explain a budget," Gobeille said.

Emmons says lawmakers do need to develop a plan to address aging corrections facilities and will continue discussions about that.