Vermont has an incarceration rate of 288 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than almost any democracy on earth. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in Vermont and why.
1,500 people from Vermont are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Vermont is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 9,000 different people are booked into local jails in Vermont.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
We inquired about the drop in Vermont's incarceration rate in the mid to late-1990s and learned it was the result of a new intermediate sanctions program and the increased use of furlough. This was a one time improvement after which a new law decreased the use of bail, causing the population to rise again.
Also see these Vermont graphs:
Today, Vermont’s incarceration rates stand out internationally
In the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.
People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails
Vermont's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons
The high cost of being incarcerated in Vermont
Prisons and jails in Vermont are increasingly shifting the cost of incarceration to people behind bars and their families, hiding the true economic costs of mass incarceration:
Vermont failed to utilize one of the most obvious, and easiest, tools for reducing the prison population — stopping prison admissions for technical violations of probation and parole (which are not crimes).
Vermont is one of 15 prison systems that does not have a policy making hand sanitizer widely available or providing free hygiene products — like soap — to incarcerated people.