On December 28, 2023

Vermont delegation pushes for Residential Re-Entry Center in Vermont

 

Residential re-entry centers offer transitional services for those re-entering their communities after being incarcerated — Vermont is one of two states without a center

The Vermont Congressional Delegation, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont), and Representative Becca Balint (D-Vermont), wrote to U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters Dec. 13 to express their strong support for the Bureau’s plan to place a Residential Re-Entry Center (RRC) in Vermont. Vermont is one of only two states, the other being Hawaii, without an RRC and a recent study by the Bureau recommended the placement of a center in the state.

“We write to convey the Vermont delegation’s continued full support for this much needed facility which would uniquely serve the needs of our state,” wrote the Delegation in the letter. “RRCs are essential facilities that allow individuals transitioning out of BOP custody to receive critical substance use and mental health treatment while also obtaining employment and housing assistance. RRCs also allow for defendants and probationers in federal court to receive housing and treatment in lieu of incarceration where deemed appropriate by a federal judge.    

“The lack of local resources for Vermonters involved in the federal prison system has detrimentally impacted not only those involved, but all of our constituents who suffer the collateral consequences of the dearth of re-entry and treatment options.    

“The Vermont delegation looks forward to working with the Bureau as it proceeds with a Request for Proposal for a Residential Re-Entry Center. We stand ready to help the Bureau in obtaining this necessary facility for Vermonters,” the Delegation concluded.    

The Delegation’s letter reads in full: 

Dear Director Peters,    

We were excited by your announcement at the September 13, 2023 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the Bureau of Prisons planned to place a Residential Re-Entry Center (RRC) in Vermont. We write to convey the Vermont delegation’s continued full support for this much needed facility which would uniquely serve the needs of our state.    

RRCs are essential facilities that allow individuals transitioning out of BOP custody to receive critical substance use and mental health treatment while also obtaining employment and housing assistance. RRCs also allow for defendants and probationers in federal court to receive housing and treatment in lieu of incarceration where deemed appropriate by a federal judge.    

Currently, the closest centers for Vermonters are located in Boston, MA; Manchester, NH; or Providence, RI. In fact, Vermont is one of only two states without an RRC. The lack of local resources for Vermonters involved in the federal prison system has detrimentally impacted not only those involved, but all of our constituents who suffer the collateral consequences of the dearth of re-entry and treatment options. We understand that a recent BOP study came to the same conclusion and recommended the placement of an RRC in Vermont.    

Our endorsement of a Residential Re-Entry Center in Vermont reflects numerous conversations we have had with stakeholders in the federal criminal justice system in the state. We understand that the federal judges on the Vermont bench strongly support placing a center in the state. Similarly, our conversations with attorneys involved in federal criminal cases have revealed unanimous support for a center. We would be happy to connect with you local stakeholders who can speak in more detail about the immediate need for a center should further information be helpful.    

The Vermont delegation looks forward to working with the Bureau as it proceeds with a Request for Proposal for a Residential Re-Entry Center. We stand ready to help the Bureau in obtaining this necessary facility for Vermonters. Please reach out to our staff with any questions, concerns, or requests for assistance as you move forward.    

Sincerely,  The Vermont Congressional Delegation

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