Vermont finalizing choices for out-of-state prison

Published: Jul. 9, 2018 at 3:10 PM EDT
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State officials say they are continuing to review two prisons to move out-of-state inmates in October.

Bids for a state contract have been submitted by the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island and the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Mississippi. State officials say a contract with the state of Pennsylvania to house more than 200 Vermont inmates at Camp Hill has not worked out. There are concerns that inmates are not receiving proper health care and do not receive enough time out of cells.

Agency of Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille says state officials have seen both sites and they are viable options. Now officials must choose one and design a contract that meets the needs of the state and the prisoners. Gobeille says they should consider building a new prison here in the future.

"The question is can we make a contract that would actually reflect Vermont values and allow us to take care of our folks the way we want to," Gobeille said. "I think the answer is we need to build our own facility and we need to fight for that again in the Legislature this year, and that's the right answer. Until then, we're gonna have to pick an option that we may not all enjoy as much as we would like to."

Gobeille says the state will need to move very quickly to seek new bids if a contract is not signed with either prison.