Monday, October 20, 2014

Vermont Lawmakers Quiz the State's Private Prison Company

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 4:50 PM

CCA officials from left, Daniel Kaman and Kevin Myers, talk to Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) during a Joint Legislative Corrections Oversight Committee meeting. - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • CCA officials from left, Daniel Kaman and Kevin Myers, talk to Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) during a Joint Legislative Corrections Oversight Committee meeting.
A series of assaults last year inside a Kentucky prison that houses 400 Vermonters stemmed from a culture of drug use that involved prison guards and inmates, officials from the company that runs the prison said today.

Representatives from the Corrections Corporation of America made a rare appearance in Vermont, testifying before the Joint Legislative Corrections Oversight Committee. The told the committee  they have made improvements since a series of violent incidents inside Lee Adjustment Center last year alarmed Vermont officials. However, CCA officials faced sharp questions from lawmakers about their staffing levels and security measures. 

CCA managing director of operations Kevin Myers said that a spate of violent assaults last winter that eventually led to a weeks-long lockdown arose from “culmination of a lot of things coming together at one time.”

The prison received two batches of new Vermont inmates in October 2013, Myers said, including, “a lot of people from New York and the Bronx that had been arrested before.”  Those inmates were brought into a prison where a network of buying and selling drugs was already established, Myers said, and only made things worse. 

“When they got to Lee Adjustment Center, we had a system where people there were dependent on drugs, and those [new] people maximized that opportunity and took advantage of that opportunity," Myers said.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

New Evidence Could Cloud Shelburne Toddler Murder Case

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The prosecution of a Shelburne man charged with murdering his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son could be undercut after experts recently discovered that skull fractures and other injuries suffered by the boy occurred as long as two weeks before he died, according to court documents.

Prosecutors have charged Joshua M. Blow, 26, with second-degree murder. Blow was the only one home with Aiden in the hours before he was pronounced dead on July 21, and gave conflicting stories about what happened to the child in the moments before he ran next door and had neighbors call 911.

Aiden died a few hours later at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

"This was not an accident," Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan told reporters after Blow's arraignment in July. "This was intentional."

Now, a Chittenden Superior Court hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday to discuss revelations from Vermont Chief Medical Examiner Steven Shapiro that Aiden Haskins' skull was fractured at least five days and as many as 15 days before he died on July 22. Shapiro also found that Aiden suffered compression fractures to his vertebrae "days to weeks," before he was found dead.

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