Statement on Latest COVID-19 Outbreak in Vermont Prison

The Vermont Department of Corrections has announced another major outbreak of COVID-19, this one in its Newport facility. Despite multiple outbreaks and the obvious, heightened risk to incarcerated Vermonters, Governor Scott still has not taken executive action to reduce the number of people in our prisons or to prioritize them for vaccination.

ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall: “Vermont prisons have experienced multiple, major outbreaks of COVID-19, all of which were predictable and preventable.  For too long, the governor has ignored the fact that incarcerated Vermonters are at heightened risk of harm. That approach is dangerous and inhumane.

Vermonters overwhelmingly support smarter, more humane prison policies.  Vermonters value compassion and responsible government.  In neglecting incarcerated Vermonters and their families, Governor Scott has shown neither.

The people in our prisons are members of our families and our communities, and none of them were sentenced to suffer or die in a pandemic. It’s past time for Governor Scott to start following the science and showing some basic humanity by prioritizing the vaccination and safe release of incarcerated Vermonters.”