More than 200 inmates in prison because of lack of housing
There are 224 Vermont inmates sitting in prison who could be released if they had a place to live, according to data from the Department of Corrections.
It is not clear whether the number represents a trend up or down from past years, although a DOC official said the number of inmates eligible for release except for housing last fall was 194.
Many are people whose crimes complicate their search for a place to live. About a quarter of the 224 are sex offenders, who have restrictions on where they can live. Another 140 were convicted of violent crimes, another factor that limits where they can live.
DOC works with local transitional housing organizations across the state that help offenders find places to live or, in some cases, the state operates a facility itself.
Some leaders at those organizations say Vermont needs more transitional housing, but they also say there should be fewer people incarcerated in the first place.
The 224 includes people who have served the minimum time required by their sentence and are eligible to live in the community if they follow certain rules and are supervised by DOC staff.
That number also includes some inmates who refuse to cooperate with case workers who want to help them make a plan for release.
Prison officials say the solution isn't as simple as adding more housing. Beds must be accompanied by social services, healthy relationships, a job and other tools to help offenders successfully begin new lives.
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