I just found out that my hairdresser is a hardcore MAGA enthusiast who loves wearing shirts that say “I don’t kneel” and posts lots of pictures with American flags and guns. She does my hair perfectly, but I can’t keep giving her my money, right?!?!
While COVID-19 has put a years-long hold on incarcerated Vermonters performing physically grueling and sometimes dangerous labor for little or no money, dozens if not hundreds of Vermont organizations have used this labor as a way to save money, creating an incentive for municipalities to over-police in exchange for cheap labor.
City Councilor Joan Shannon has hired former Burlington GOP Chair Kolby LaMarche as her campaign manager for her re-election campaign.
When we look at how some of those services are delivered within the correction system, it’s obvious that folks don’t have any choice in where they get those services, or what price points to get those services at, which creates a real problem when you have very limited resources and an inability to earn those resources. And we also see things costing far more within an incarcerated setting than they might for folks on the outside.
For the terminally online, this discourse has been done to death, but if you’re the token Vermonter at the dinner table this topic will likely come up. We want to prepare you for this possibly drunken, certainly awkward conversation.
Vermont, like every other state, has contracts between its Department of Corrections and private, for-profit companies to meet incarcerated people’s commissary, media, and telecommunication needs. The State of Vermont allows these corporations to charge prices that far exceed anything paid by Vermonters on the outside. Moreover, the state receives a portion of the proceeds, incentivizing DOC officials to continue the practice without scrutiny or legislative oversight.
As a growing transphobic reactionary movement throughout the country uses both state and informal power to intimidate trans people out of public life, Vermont media shows mixed ability to cover these issues with sensitivity.
In Part 2 of this series, we look at how Vermont’s incarcerated workers are exploited by the State, the Vermont Department of Corrections, and the many nonprofits and municipalities that employ them.
This November, the Vermont Abolish Slavery and Indentured Servitude Amendment to the Vermont State Constitution will be presented to Vermont voters for approval. The bill intends to update Vermont’s Constitution regarding slavery, clarifying that “slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.”