MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — The Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) will provide funding for 15 agencies that will create 274 housing units to help people transition from prison to the community.
“We are promoting the opportunity for individuals—under correction supervision—to develop the life skills and tenancy record and investment in community life,” said Derek Miodownik, DOC’s Community and Restorative Justice Executive.
For the first time, the DOC is expanding transitional housing in Lamoille and Orange counties. Miodownik says they plan to spend $5.8 million to shift away from group housing and prioritize what they call “scattered sites.”
Miodownik says that this year, nearly 80% of their housing partners offer scattered sites. “It really is the opportunity to live in as deinstitutionalized a setting as possible—consistent with public safety—with the benefit of clinical supports, coaching, and other necessary skills to hopefully optimize the likelihood of that individuals success,” he said.
Miodownik describes them as, “Essentially, individual apartments, where there are not multiple people living under that roof.” He says that the DOC previously invested more in group settings, but they didn’t yield the best results. “We experienced, unfortunately, a higher percentage of individuals who did not successfully exit those congregate programs.”
According to the Council of State Governments, nearly 80% of all prison admissions between 2017 to 2019 were for violating the terms of release.
According to Maria Moore, Communications Director at housing program Pathways Vermont: “Independent housing and supportive services are key in preventing recidivism and promoting community integration. Pathways Vermont has been awarded funding to provide four beds in Lamoille County.” Pathways Vermont also has field offices in Bennington, Brattleboro, Rutland, Burlington, Middlebury, St. Albans, Barre, Morrisville, and Springfield. More partner organizations can be found on the DOC website.