Gov. Phil Scott’s administration is proposing that Vermont contract with a private company to build a 925-bed correctional facility in Franklin County.
Calling it a "10-year vision," Secretary of Human Services Al Gobeille emphasized that the complex would be constructed gradually over the course of a decade.
Legislators asked the Agency of Human Services to come up with a plan to address the state’s aging correctional facilities as well as shortcomings with its mental health care system. The recommendation is in a reportfrom administration officials to legislators.
The facility would house male and female offenders, including those with mental health diagnoses.
Its construction would cost roughly $140 million, according to the agency’s estimates. A private company would build the facility and then lease it to the state.
Scott’s communications director, Rebecca Kelley, said the governor supports the “vision” laid out in the report and “recognizes there’s a lot of work to do to make it a reality.”
The project would replace the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington and the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center would close. The new facility would eliminate the need to send Vermont prisoners out of state, according to the report. The report suggests that the facility could save the state money over a 20-year period.
The House Committee on Corrections and Institutions will discuss the matter at a Statehouse hearing Tuesday.
“We’re going give the report a full vetting and we’ll do our due diligence,” said chair Rep. Alice Emmons (D-Springfield). “It’s going to be a long conversation.”