Press Release

Welch Presses Bureau of Prisons Director on Stalled Plans for Residential Reentry Center in Vermont

Feb 28, 2024

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) pressed U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Colette Peters on why Vermont remains one of only two states without a Residential Reentry Center (RRC), despite unanimous support for an RRC from the Vermont Congressional Delegation and other federal stakeholders in Vermont’s legal community. 

At a September committee hearing, Director Peters announced the development of an RRC but later stated she misspoke and intended to place another type of facility in Vermont. Crucially, Director Peters said she would reconsider her decision if the Vermont Delegation presented support for the facility, which it did in a December letter to the BOP. At the same time, Judge Geoffrey Crawford, Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, sent Director Peters a letter expressing the federal judiciary’s strong support for a residential facility in Vermont. Senator Welch followed up on those letters and the BOP’s continued refusal to place an RRC in Vermont in today’s hearing. 

“As you know, individuals with 12 months or less on their sentence are eligible to transfer to that residential facility. It really makes a big difference; they can receive assistance with housing, treatment, unemployment, and it’s been proven, as you know, to reduce recidivism. And Vermont—this is really pretty shocking to me, and to Senator Sanders, and to Congresswoman Balint—Vermont is one of only two states that does not have the benefit of that facility,” said Senator Welch

“I know that when we spoke about this, you had indicated we were going to get one, but you had clarified you misspoke, and it was going to be a reporting facility instead. A reporting facility is not worth it. A reporting [facility] would mean that people have to go to Providence, Rhode Island—it’s a long way from Burlington. Or they would have to Manchester, NH—a very, very long way. Or maybe Boston. So, it just doesn’t do the job. 

“After you clarified that you indicated that if the Vermont Delegation researched the matter and determined that a residential facility was necessary you might change course. And we did our research,” Senator Welch continued

Senator Welch concluded by expressing his intention to continue advocating for a residential reentry center in Vermont.  

Watch Senator Welch’s full remarks here