MONTPELIER, VT. >> The state of Vermont is starting to reap the benefits of sending fewer people to prison.

Vermont Corrections Commissioner Lisa Menard told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday there are a variety of benefits.

Statistics show that in January 2011 Vermont was holding 2,103 inmates and projections were it would be holding 2,619 by November 2015. Now the number is less than 1,750.

That has resulted in some inmates being moved back to Vermont from out-of-state prisons and plans to close a Corrections Department work camp in St. Johnsbury. It is also reducing the need to move people as much between prisons and hold fewer long-term offenders in regional facilities.

The decrease is due to a variety of new laws and policies designed to keep people out of prison.