This morning arrived with a reminder from Brian Dubie's campaign that today is the first day of early voting for Vermont's gubernatorial election, along with some mudslinging in Peter Shumlin's direction under the heading of "Brian Dubie promises to keep convicted criminals locked up."
Shumlin's camp responded with a promise to outline a "fiscally responsible law and order plan."
A follow-up question for each candidate, if I may:
Mr. Dubie: How do you intend to curtail the unsustainable growth in corrections spending, given that the Pew Center on the States notes an 80 percent increase in our incarceration rates over the past decade, compared to a national average of 18 percent, with expected growth in costs over the next decade of between $82 million and $206 million?
Mr. Shumlin: Given that the same Pew report cites an abysmal record of people being re-arrested (50 percent within three years), and given that cities like Rutland, Barre and Springfield are overrun with addicts on parole, how do you intend to shut off the supply of drugs in the jails, decentralize the released inmates so they're not concentrated in a few centers with both jails and probation offices to which parolees must report, and guarantee public safety while being fiscally responsible?