According to this excellent story published in today's Rutland Herald, even the small but incomparably beautiful state of Vermont is grappling with the exorbitant costs of a growing inmate population.
The number of Vermonters in jail, on parole or under the custody of the Corrections Department in some other manner has jumped from 3,037 in 1975 to just less than 14,000 in 2006.
That's not only a loss in human potential, but a staggering expense to Vermont taxpayers who have to shoulder the $41,602 per inmate prison price tag, supervision expenses and other costs that climb with the corrections population. The annual cost of the corrections budget jumped to $120 million in 2007 from $16 million two decades earlier.
The numbers are so troubling to some state lawmakers that the House Judiciary and Institutions Committees are devoting every Thursday afternoon to understanding the problems and searching for solutions.