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H.749

AN ACT RELATING TO WOMEN OFFENDERS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  STUDY; WOMEN OFFENDERS

(a)  The core team of the agency of human services incarcerated women’s initiative, so-called, shall study and propose solutions to problems as they relate to women offenders in Vermont.  In particular, the core team shall:

(1)  Explore whether and to what extent women are incarcerated at a higher rate than men who are convicted of the same offense.  If the study determines that there is indeed a difference in the incarceration rate, then the committee shall attempt to determine the causes underlying this determination and propose potential legislative responses.

(2)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the family‑related issues facing many women inmates, including issues of guardianship.

(3)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the issues many women inmates face upon release from the facility relating to the need to find suitable housing.

(4)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the issues many women offenders face relating to the need to access adequate mental health and substance abuse treatment, both within the facilities and in the community.

(5)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the need for alternatives to incarceration for women, to reduce overcrowding in prisons, to reduce the impact of separation of mothers from their children, and to reduce the separation of women from their home communities.

(b)  The core team shall also consider and recommend responses to the issues outlined in subsection (a) of this section to the extent that they apply to male offenders.

(c)  The project manager of the incarcerated women’s initiative shall convene the first meeting to address the issues presented in this section on or before July 15, 2006.  A member of the core team shall verbally report on the team’s progress to the joint corrections oversight committee at each oversight committee meeting during the summer and autumn of 2006.  On or before November 15, 2006, the core team shall provide to the joint corrections oversight committee a report detailing its work and proposing legislative solutions to address the issues it identifies.  If applicable, the report shall include a budget detailing the cost of initiating and operating any proposed services, including potential nonstate funding sources, and a projection of the financial impact the proposals would have on future state capital and general fund appropriations. 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us