Courts & Corrections

VTDigger covers criminal justice issues including Vermont legal issues, Vermont courts and the Vermont Department of Corrections. Elizabeth Hewitt covers the criminal justice system for VTDigger. She can be reached at [email protected]

State looks at inequity in school discipline of disabled, minority students

Vermont Legal Aid's release "Kicked Out! Unfair and Unequal Discipline in Vermont’s Public Schools” was released January 6, 2015. Courtesy of VT Legal Aid.

Vermont is investigating how students are expelled or suspended at school, after a study revealed much higher discipline rates resulting in suspension among minority and disabled students.

Slideshow: Vermont State Police recognize officers

Members of the tactical team who helped in the search for the Dannemora Prison escapees.

At the annual ceremony, the Vermont State Police honored the tactical team that aided in the capture of the two escaped Dannemora prisoners, as well as many veterans of public safety in Vermont.

Eric Miller sworn in as Vermont’s top federal prosecutor

Clyde Robinson/Creative Commons

Vermont’s new U.S. Attorney calls opiate abuse “the most critical issue facing this office and this state.”

Vermont’s out-of-state inmates arrive at Michigan prison

The Department of Corrections confirmed Tuesday that 280 Vermont inmates housed at private prisons located out of state have been transported to a prison in Michigan. The news comes the day Vermont’s current contract with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is set to expire. It will be replaced by a new agreement with the […]

Fentanyl found in heroin that killed two brothers

Investigators found signs of heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate, at the Ward Street residence where two brothers died in the same room June 18 in Burlington. Police suspect that brothers Sean and Dennis Thibault, ages 32 and 34 respectively, died from a drug overdose. If so, they will be the latest fatalities in […]

Six weeks after, Vermont officials await details of out-of-state inmate’s death

Creative Commons photo

James Nicholson, a Vermont inmate housed at a private prison in Kentucky died May 18, but Corrections officials and lawmakers have yet to receive confirmation of the cause of his death.

12 indicted in federal court on charges of trafficking drugs and guns from NYC to Bennington

Crack cocaine. Wikimedia Commons photo

In the indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday, prosecutors allege that between 2014 and 2015, the 12 conspired to sell controlled substances in Vermont and elsewhere.

SPECIAL REPORT: Inmate took his own life after mental illness treatment needs went unmet

Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

Prison was not the place for Fennessey to receive treatment for mental illness, but he returned to a cell several times because the state and community partners could not coordinate what they deemed a suitable re-entry plan before he took his own life.

Groundbreaking ceremony held for new state police barracks in Westminster

Shumlin Westminster state police barracks

New facility, delayed when Tropical Storm Irene diverted designated funds, will consolidate the police force and close the barracks in Rockingham and West Brattleboro.

For one Vermont lawmaker, historic ruling hits home

Bill Lippert

When Hinesburg Rep. William Lippert received a call from a filmmaker producing a documentary on Vermont’s path to same-sex marriage, he never envisioned he’d attend the movie’s world premiere this month, only to see the U.S. Supreme Court affirm a nationwide right to wed a week later.

Vermonters celebrate their role in same-sex marriage victory

Stan Baker who, with his now-husband Peter Harrigan was one of the original plaintiffs in Baker v. Vermont, and former Rep. Tom Little, who helped guide the state's civil union law through the Legislature in 2000, took this photo Friday while attending an Episcopal convention in Salt Lake City. Courtesy photo

Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that states cannot block same-sex couples from marrying is cheered as a movement that owes some of its success to Vermonters who pioneered gay rights.

SCOV Law Blog: The question of bail


When there’s no constitutional right to bail and the State has a plausible case, the presumption is that the defendant will be held rather than released.

DOC prepares for new policy to cut down contraband

Sears and Emmons

Staff will be subject to random searches, including pat-downs and metal detectors, in an effort to cut down on the forbidden items that make it inside Vermont’s prisons. The effort comes less than a month after two convicted murderers escaped a maximum-security prison just two hours away, in N.Y.

Former state employee sentenced to 18 months for embezzling $217,000

A Plainfield woman was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for embezzling $217,000 over six years while working as a Vermont state employee. Lisa Peduzzi, 52, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of embezzlement and will spend 18 months in prison, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Peduzzi worked in the Office of Risk […]

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