Administrative building at the Northern State Correctional Facility
The Vermont Department of Corrections placed the leaders of a state prison in Newport on administrative leave Friday, according to Commissioner Mike Touchette.
Superintendent Joshua Rutherford and assistant superintendent Scott Martin of the Northern State Correctional Facility were both relieved of command, Touchette said.
“I cannot comment on specifics, but a credible report was made that warrants further assessment,” Touchette told Seven Days in a written statement. He did not immediately return a call seeking additional comment.
The moves come during a time of turmoil for the Department of Corrections. Last week, Seven Dayspublished an investigation of another state prison, the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, revealing a pattern of misconduct and retaliation. In response, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith removed the South Burlington women's prison from the department's
chain of command and assumed operational control of it.
Touchette remains in charge of the state's five prisons for men, including Northern State.
Greg Hale, the superintendent at Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton, will serve as interim superintendent at the Newport prison, Touchette said. Hale, in turn, will be temporarily replaced in Swanton by his two assistant superintendents.