Vermont's 'progressive' Legislature is moving to relax laws governing criminals and prisoners, while increasing regulations on businesses. The only state to suffer a credit downgrade last year, Vermont has embarked on some desperate if dubious efforts to "grow the economy."
The latest boondoggle is an effort to essentially eliminate prison for most criminals, to save money via "decarceration." Called "Justice Reinvestment II," Vermont's progressive push to push criminals back out to "work" (the streets) proposes to increase time "earned" off sentences for good behavior and count probationary periods as time served. One proposal is to give those on probation "credit" for good behavior while on probation and thereby shorten the probation period. The rationale for these reforms?
[I]ncarceration, while necessary for public safety in some cases, does not achieve behavior change and can undermine or disrupt a person's ability to obtain and maintain treatment, housing, and employment.
(Translation: "Research has shown that imprisoning violent criminals protects the public but disrupts violent criminals' lives.")
Burdensome regulations have created a horrible business climate in Vermont. Rampant taxation impacts poor wage-earners, contributing to growing despair and crime rates. Vermont's inverted "solution" is to eliminate accountability for criminals under the justification that it will help the economy. The "Justice Reinvestment II" report found that "felony convictions have grown, primarily due to increases in for assault, domestic violence, and sexual assault." Working-class Vermonters are fleeing the state because of the high cost of living; policies that favor crime and criminals are an additional "incentive" for émigrés to pack their bags.
Vermont spends huge sums getting addicts on suboxone while in prison and now expunges most criminal records. It is by some measures the #1 drug-using state in the nation, and policies that label police as racists for arresting drug-dealers will ensure that the street supply is robust when inmates are churned through the revolving door to reoffend. Vermont fathers whose licenses are suspended for nonpayment of child support will be unable to drive to work; illegal aliens are not stymied by such obstacles. One 2020 bill proposes to legalize prostitution.
Democrats seek to impose rent controls (which will drive up rents) and minimum wage increases, European-style "good cause" termination requirements, and family leave policies that will discourage businesses, reduce hiring, and spark inflation. They invoke "climate-crisis credit downgrades" as justification to launch ambitious initiatives, ignoring the economic effects of overspending and overregulation.
Vermont is weighing laws to create a "Bill of Rights" for homeless people to "prevent discrimination," even as its Legislature enacts policies that will undermine private-sector employment, spike taxes, and thus discourage property ownership. It is favoring criminals over victims, blacks over whites, women over men, illegal aliens over native-born taxpayers, urbanites over ruralites, regulators over farmers, administrators over students and patients, and legislators over voters. The state has launched all of these insane initiatives in the clarion call of social justice and "creating equity," but the result is visibly the reverse.
Meanwhile, Vermont's progressives have introduced a number of new gun laws, in one of the safest states in America. With social engineering indoctrination that ensures increased rates of taxation, poverty, suicide, domestic violence, drug use, and fiscal implosion, it is only logical for the liberal elites who are gentrifying the Green Mountain State to seize the guns of law-abiding taxpayers, lest they revolt.
Many Vermont voters perceive that Vermont's most dangerous criminals are in its Legislature. For sensible citizens, their revolt is their vote, in 2020.