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Vermonters Imprisoned Out Of State May Teleconference With Family

Vermont’s Department of Corrections is trying to make it easier for out-of-state male prisoners to maintain contact with their families. The move follows a judge’s opinion that men are being treated differently from women when it comes to incarceration beyond Vermont’s borders.

Last summer, a Superior Court judge ruled that a father who was then housed in a Kentucky prison should be returned to prison in Vermont, so that he can see his children.

The state has decided not to appeal the ruling that sending only men out of state is unconstitutional. Kurt Kuehl, general counsel for the Department of Corrections, says there is not enough space for male inmates in Vermont, but there is enough space for females – so sending women out of state makes no sense.

“That would not enable us to bring 50 men back,” he notes.

In her ruling, Judge Helen Toor suggested that men who need to see their kids could at least be sent to a location that's not as far away as Kentucky. Or they could be added to the in-state prison population. In the short term, at least, the DOC has a different solution: Next week, a program will resume that allows teleconferencing between out-of-state inmates and their families.

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