Bill discourages jail time for parents with minor children

by Flora Scott

In March of 2021  Rep. Sara Coffey (D-Guilford)  introduced the bill  H.399. The bill would require the court to consider rehabilitative alternatives instead of incarceration for defendants with at least one  child 18 years old or younger.

H399 requires that “unless a sentence of incarceration is required by law, the sentencing court shall, upon conviction, consider the defendant’s status as primary caretaker of a dependent child, including any family impact statement offered, and consider alternatives to incarceration before imposing a sentence. If the court does impose a sentence of incarceration, it shall consider the defendant’s status as primary caretaker of a dependent child in determining the term of incarceration.”

According to Rep. Coffey, Vermont does not track the number of prisoners with minor children. She hopes to reduce the number of incarcerated people through court diversion.  

As a ballpark figure, she said that about 5400 people are now under Dept. of Corrections community supervision, far fewer than the 8,000 in 2019 because of progressive legislation which has the ultimate goal is statewide decarceration and the eventual abolition of systems of punishment.

She and her legislative colleagues have been working with The Council on State Governments Justice Center over the past few years to reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and to reinvest the savings in strategies aimed at reducing crime and recidivism.

Others sponsors of H399:

Rep. Lynn Batchelor (since retired)

Rep. Tiffany Bluemle

Rep. Mollie Burke

Rep. Michelle Bos-Lun

Rep. Jessica Brumsted

Rep. Brian Cina

Rep. Kathleen James

Rep. John Killacky

Rep. Carol Ode

Rep. Lawrence Satcowitz

Rep. Gabrielle Stebbins

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

Categories: Crime

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6 replies »

  1. Well done again, leftist lunatics: Now we have yet ANOTHER set of judiciary standards & protocol for our criminals. I’ll now give serious thought to adoption just so I can go on a violent criminal streak with no fear of any repercussions. And how wonderful it will be to now be able to keep small, vulnerable children with their drug dealing and/or organized crime member and/or violent felon parents! Your insight into justice, public safety, and child rearing is “radical”!

    You people need to be in straight jackets. For real.

    • It says “consider” not give a hall pass. The fact you would even think of going on a crime spree is cause for alarm. Lunatic, radical, straight jacket….the self-projecting is accurate in this case.

  2. Wanting a license to commit crimes with reduced consequences should not be an incentive to have minor children in one’s care. Who votes for these people?

  3. This principle of treating people with children with “kid gloves” has already worked well for migrants crossing our southern border. They just purchase/rent/borrow/steal a child and they get a free pass into the country as a “loving parent”. That just encourages a unique form of human trafficking.

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