State leaders propose temporary facility to house Vermont’s young offenders

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:04 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - State leaders are proposing a new, temporary facility to house Vermont’s youngest offenders.

Thursday, the Department for Children and Families presented a plan to build a secure modular facility on the campus of the Northwest Correctional Facility

The eight-bed facility and improvements to a separate facility at the Windham County Sheriff’s Office would cost about $4.6 million.

If approved, leaders want to build it as quickly as possible. They say there is a big need for the secure setting and that is having an effect on the rest of Vermont’s system of care.

“Nobody would really want temporary buildings unless we had to do it. And we are acknowledging that we have this critical need and we are trying our best to provide for these children and youth in the quickest way possible,” said Harry Chen, the commissioner of the Vt. Department for Children and Families.

The state could house up to 16 people in a secure setting pre-pandemic, but now the state does not have any capacity. If approved, the intent is to have people stay 10 days or less.

A timeline for construction is unknown.

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