Candidate name: Emily "Em" Peyton
Campaign mailing address, email, and phone:
PO Box 821
Putney, VT 05346
1. Over the last 40 years, Vermont’s population grew by 35% while its prison population grew by more than 300%, resulting in an annual cost to taxpayers of roughly $150 million in incarceration costs alone. If elected, will you commit to helping Vermont reduce its prison population by at least 50%?
Absolutely. I will end export of prisoners to out of state for profit prisons and put money in the budget that was once used to ship people out of state to create safe environments for non violent persons to build self sufficiency skills and self esteem. I will also submit a bill to create a designation between the criminally dangerous and the addicted, and the mentally ill. Those who have committed violent crimes, especially crimes against women and children may continue to be incarcerated and a restorative process will be included in all proceedings.
Those persons who have committed nonviolent crimes will, in the bill I will submit and advocate for, may be held apart in a farming atmosphere (ankle technology), and given access to knowledge for basic self sufficiency, with classes in growing food, carpentry, mechanics, cooking and self help.
The mentally ill may be held apart if needed in a similar farming manner, and money that formerly was used to cage the emotionally unstable will instead be allocated to nurturing programs, round the clock house parenting, and therapy, with classes in self sufficiency.
I am approaching the problem from an understanding that if people knew how to be successful, they would be, if they knew how to be loving they would be. Our programs must strive to create peace within troubled people by elevating their self esteem, so that our communities may be peaceful when they return.
2. Two thirds of Vermont voters want to reduce our prison population and increase alternatives to incarceration. What specific legislative reforms will you advocate in the next biennium to reduce Vermont’s reliance on incarceration, and for each of those reforms, if enacted, how many detainees and/or prisoners do you estimate could be re-sentenced, released, or diverted to alternatives?
There are, according to prisonpolicy.org about 2200 hundred have had their liberty taken from them by force in the State of Vermont in 2015, and as a state we cage 328 people per 100,000, for the purpose of punishment and to keep society safe.
Let’s differentiate between nonviolent and violent crimes, as well as between the mentally ill and the person incarcerated for violent behavior.
We need clarity regarding the pressures of poverty, and how many are locked up because they dealt with and unreasonable scarcity of money and were unable to live with dignity.
I will offer legislation to make differentiations, and allocate funds differently.
The nonviolent and mentally ill will no longer be incarcerated in prisons beyond an initial assessment.
Placement in farm settings using advanced ankle bracelet and in some cases laser fencing along a perimeter. The bill would reallocate money towards hiring local mentors for every person of note, local carpenters and local farmers so the people of note would be taught how to grow and raise their own food, which they would need to do in order to feed themselves. They would also be helped to build their own tiny home, for a reduction of burden on the State when they are released.
Today, even shipping containers are becoming tiny homes. (Google shipping container homes). The members of the host community will be hired to nurture these people, offering self help classes of all kinds. My bill will seek a 90% reduction of incarceration in cages.
My bill would encompass learning environments for non-offending persons of adult age in Vermont who could earn new credentials and money through involvement with these persons of note. The bill would advance work towards Vermont sustainability with tiny homes will be net zero with organic practices taught for food raising.
End slave labor of incarcerated people.
3. Vermont’s Department of Corrections (DOC) does not release aggregate data that would allow for analysis of Vermont’s inmate population by race, gender, age, disability, county, offense, or length of sentence. Will you advocate for DOC to start collecting, analyzing, and releasing aggregate data on Vermont’s inmate population to assist policymakers and the public in crafting smarter criminal justice policies?
Trust would be misplaced to be solely placed in the DOC, the restorative justice network in Vermont should detail parameters of the data needed, additional citizen oversight should be invited. These latter sets of people will direct the DOC to collect the specifics of data, and review its validity or collect their own. These groups will have mandated authority to do so. Surveys initiated by the Restorative Justice group need to be sent ( via mail and electronics) to all people of Vermont to find out who has been negatively affected by the current penal system and who has been served, what their desires are, and ideas are for improvement. Especially all formerly incarcerated or charged individuals need to be asked to respond. Police ( peace officers) need to respond. Would the population be open to farming atmospheres for increasing skill sets of nonviolent persons, including building tiny homes for post housing, and how great is the people's trust and faith in the judicial system, and how great is their desire to see a restorative system, 10%, 50% 100%?
4. Police records show that people of color are disproportionately stopped and searched by Vermont law enforcement, and racial disparities in Vermont’s prison system are among the worst in the nation. What new policies will you advance to better address systemic racism in Vermont’s criminal justice system specifically, and in Vermont as a whole?
I will convene a series : TRUTH and RECONCILIATION, Restitution and Restorative justice for crimes against the first nation, people of color and women. This series currently will mark a beginning of a transformation for our American injustice experience.
We will ask the question, is our Government too violent? Has it committed crimes against the people? How do we make gun control for government?
5. There is growing consensus about the need for public health-centered approaches to substance use and addiction that emphasize decriminalization and harm reduction, increase access to treatment, and do not involve prosecution for drug possession. What new policies will you advance to increase access to treatment and reduce incarceration for drug crimes in Vermont?
I will write a bill with the help of mental health professionals, nutritionists, and educators to create farming environments where the addicted and mentally ill who were formerly routinely incarcerated would be directed to begin the process of learning to grow their own food, for their own consumption. Studies have shown that recidivism is greatly reduced where horticultural activities are encouraged for incarcerated populations. I will take this a leap forward to create environments where self sufficiency is promoted. We know that persons who are arrested (effectively kidnapped) are by that experience alone, traumatized. We also understand that drug use and drug addiction are a response to a world where many feel underpowered to actuate a wholesome life. WE also see that many persons arrive in the corrections system at the height of personal crisis, and our mental health and addiction treatment services are grossly inadequate. WE see that humane manners of severing addictive materials from people are currently not employed, and where ending addiction is self directed a lasting outcome ensues. Keeping unwell persons safe from themselves and others is absolutely possible in a non-cage environment.
When skill sets increase, self esteem does as well. Society is safer with people with adequate self esteem, and alternative therapies are very helpful to meet these goals. Utilizing our natural alternative health system I will strive to transform our statewide response to a profoundly sick society.