New AHS chief proposes prison reforms – Seven Days

The State of Vermont should drug-test corrections employees and change how it investigates itself, new Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said in a report responding to allegations of sexual and drug abuse among state prison workers.

"The report, which was delivered to the governor on Friday and released to the public Monday, includes several other recommendations to reform Vermont's troubled prison system. Smith called on the legislature to require drug testing for all corrections officers, and he said the state must reform the way it investigates employees accused of misconduct. The secretary took particular aim at the state's practice of reaching confidential agreements with those accused of wrongdoing and shuffling them to other positions with similar pay. "While a settlement may be more expedient or limit financial liability to the state, there are clearly deeper repercussions," Smith wrote. "This practice needs to stop."

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