When society consigns criminal
offenders to jail, the clear purpose is to remove them from the community.
Whether it's to ensure public safety, provide criminals an opportunity for
"penitence" and reform, or simply to punish them is a perennial debate. But one
thing is certain: Most offenders eventually will rejoin us in society-at-large.
The goal of Vermont 's offender work programs is to prepare them to earn a
living when they do, and to be contributing members to our communities and
Vermont's Offender Work Programs
primarily consists of VCI - Vermont Correctional Industries. VCI operates
independently, much like a business, out-side of the Department's General Fund
appropriation. All of the state- employee staff, the inmate workers, and the
costs of production are paid from the sale of goods and services. By law,
VCI's customer base is limited to federal and state agencies, municipalities,
and non-profit organizations. These restrictions strike a compromise between
the important goals of protecting private companies from unfair competition and
providing meaningful work and job training to help offenders succeed when they
return to their communities.
VCI operates within the three
"central" facilities, which primarily house inmates whose cases have been
adjudicated and who have begun serving their sentences. VCI models itself upon
free-enterprise employers: inmates seeking employment must go through an
application and job interview process, and the company maintains employee
records so that workers are accountable for their performance and can be
promoted, maintained or dismissed appropriately. On average, about 120 Vermont
inmates are employed by VCI at any given time.