Gorczyk says Springfield prison should open

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(Host) Vermont Corrections Commissioner John Gorczyk says the new prison in Springfield should be opened as soon as construction is completed. There have been suggestions the state could save money by delaying the opening.

Speaking Thursday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Gorczyk said he believes the incoming administration shares his view that it’s best to get the facility up and running:

(Gorczyk) “It appears to me, certainly, that there’s a commitment to get it online and operational as soon as possible. But that has to occur, obviously, in the context of the overall budget. I don’t think the budget going to be a roadblock to that. I think we have to figure out how to integrate into the overall scheme.”

(Host) Because of overcrowding in Vermont prisons, the state currently send over 400 prisoners to Virginia. Gorczyk acknowledged that it’s cheaper to house inmates out of state than it is to keep them in Vermont. But he said there are long-term benefits to sending fewer prisoners to other states:

(Gorczyk) “Their potential to do well when they get out has been diminished significantly if they’re spending a lot of time in a another state altogether. They lose the opportunity to strengthen those connections with family, with community resources, with job possibilities, et cetera. And I think it enhances the potential for them to be re-offending.”

(Host) Gorczyk says construction of the 350-bed prison in Springfield is ahead of schedule and should be completed next summer.

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