Facing aging prison facilities, Vermont lawmakers consider whether to build new or patch old

With Vermont's prison facilities aging, lawmakers are beginning to grapple with whether to build new or patch up the old.

The state Department of Buildings and General Services shared data with a legislative committee this past week on the maintenance costs of all eight Vermont facilities and the estimated cost of replacing them.

For example, the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility faces nearly $11 million in deferred maintenance costs over the next 20 years. The estimated cost of replacing it would be about $28 million.

Officials say some facilities sit so tightly on their lots that they would be very difficult to expand.

Meanwhile, state officials say expansion may be needed to accommodate a corrections system that is trying to focus more on rehabilitating inmates than on warehousing them.