Nov. 21, 2023

Contact: Stephanie Gomory, Communications Director, [email protected], 802-223-6304 x111

Montpelier, Vt. --  Governor Phil Scott announced yesterday he thinks “the pendulum has swung too far on some of our criminal justice reforms” and that he would be sending “bold” policy proposals to legislators for consideration in the coming session. 

ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall: “The people of Vermont have consistently said they want to invest in people, not prisons, and they have made substantial progress toward that goal.  They know the safest communities are those with more resources—for housing, treatment, healthcare, and education. Unfortunately, their governor isn’t listening to them.

“Governor Scott has opposed the very initiatives that are needed to build stabler and more resilient communities, opting instead for the same failed policies that brought us an era of mass incarceration.  

“Decades of experience show the governor's approach has not made us safer, and has cost all of us dearly.  Now he wants to blame recent reforms for the impact of years of underinvestment and ‘tough on crime polices’ that have frayed the social fabric of our communities.  No one should be fooled.

“For healthier, more vibrant communities, we need to learn from the mistakes of the past—not repeat them.  That means proven, evidence-based strategies that work for all of us—not more of the same costly, punitive, and ineffective policies that have failed us for so long.”