Legislature at odds with itself over prison shake up

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Plans for a shake up of Vermont’s prison system are hitting a snag in Montpelier, where lawmakers are at odds about how to continue.

The House Corrections and Institutions Committee voted yesterday to delay implementation of a plan calling for a reorganization of the state Department of Corrections in hopes of cutting burgeoning prison costs. Under it, one facility in Waterbury would be closed and two others restructured, with the money saved going toward the rehabilitation of prisoners.

The state Senate passed the measure last month. But Representative Alice Emmons, who chairs the committee, says lawmakers are concerned the plan moves too fast, at the expense of other options that could keep more jobs in-state.

Corrections Commissioner Robert Hofmann says there are no easy answers for cutting rising costs.

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