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Vermont Faces Shortage of Beds for Juvenile Offenders

Vermont is facing a dangerous shortage of places for juveniles charged with crimes other than a list of serious offenses called the “Big 12” — which includes sexual assault, murder and kidnapping — who are tried in family court, reports Peter D’Auria for VTDigger. Currently, the state has only 97 beds, which are almost always full, and many are inappropriate for youth involved in violent crimes.

In addition, officials are reluctant to house violent offenders with other juveniles with less serious offenses, and the Department for Children and Families employees are ill-equipped to care for them. Vermont officials have attempted to send juvenile offenders to the Sununu Youth Services Center in New Hampshire. Still, that facility is scheduled to close next year due to many lawsuits and criminal investigations for abuse. As a result of the shortage, four minors have been housed in adult corrections facilities since 2020, with one corrections official indicating that the figure might be higher.

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