Don’t send violent criminals to jail, Chittenden County State’s Attorney says

By Guy Page

Should people arrested for committing violent crimes be sent to jail? Sarah George, Chittenden County State’s Attorney, doesn’t think so. Most violent perpetrators need mental health services instead, she said Friday on WVMT’s Morning Drive.

Host Kurt Wright said to George, “During the protests in Battery Park, there was a report of a man who attacked someone in Battery Park. He was later on Church Street attacking someone with a club.” He attacked police when they arrested him, Wright said.

Wright: “He was back out on the street in 24 hours. … Public safety has got to be the number one issue. And when somebody like that is back on the street in 24 hours, it has people scratching their heads, ‘what the heck’s going on here?’”

Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs/Public Domain

Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George

George: “Some people think, and perhaps you’re one of them, Kurt, is that somehow jail is going to fix that. And it doesn’t. It makes it worse. People come out more likely to recidivate. They come out with worse mental health problems, trauma, sometimes sexually assaulted in jail.”

Wright: “But for whatever reason, having them out on the street is not the answer, though.”

George: No, that’s exactly where they should be! They should be getting services in the street, in the community where they have roots. They don’t get those services in jail. They don’t get anything in jail.”

Wright: “The one thing we do know, though, is that when they’re not in jail, they’re not taking a club to somebody on Church Street.”

George: “Of course. But the second they come out, they might again, and they might do something worse, because they’ve been in jail and not getting any services.”

Wright: “So, at what level do we put them in jail? If they’re violently attacking someone, we don’t put them in jail?”

George: “(Scoffing sound). We can agree to disagree on this all day, my point is that some people need services first. Putting them in jail for whatever period of time does not work. It’s not the answer. We’ve gotten so used to that being the solution, just throwing someone away, instead of trying to see what they’re underlying problems are and fixing them.”

Co-host Marcus Certa jumped in:  “We have a lack of mental health beds. I can see both of your points. But if we don’t have a place to put them, to get them the care that they need? Is it a problem because we don’t have a place to put them?”

George: “The burden of getting someone hospitalized is very high. It’s easier to put someone in jail than in a psychiatrist facility. A lot of people don’t need that level of care, they just need something. … A lot of people don’t have toothbrushes … then they lose their teeth and they can’t eat.” George emphasized that meeting such basic needs would go a long way.

Then it was time to go to the Morning Drive phones. When the first caller noted that “people who are victims of crime lose their freedom,” George answered: “Public safety to me is the most important thing. I am really tired of people thinking that all victims want is for people to be put in jail. They [victims] want to know why it happened, and will it happen to someone else. They rarely want jail. They want services.”

The next caller suggested to George, “Maybe you should be a psychologist and not a DA.”

George responded that inmates “might get programming” but not legitimate psychological counseling in prison. “Prosecutors have become social workers. Law enforcement have become social workers. We are constantly trying to get these people services,” she said.

Wright returned to his central theme: “People have been accosted over and over again by the same person. … People have great concerns. There is a problem somewhere. And we need to fix it.”

George said, “What I’m disagreeing with is that all of those people deserve to be in jail. It’s not fiscally responsible, it’s not what our jails are made for. We need to fix the rest of the system.”

George also said requiring cash bail is “a racist and classist tool” because only people who can’t pay are held for lack of cash bail.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs/Public Domain

27 thoughts on “Don’t send violent criminals to jail, Chittenden County State’s Attorney says

  1. 1. If wrong doing as a function of deterministic forces does this eliminate the volitional agency of personhood? People don’t make mistakes they are driven to it? Personal freedom is an illusion? Not convincing.
    2. As a practitioner optimistically invested in the proposition that mental health services effectively change people I would suggest that this is still more an asperation than a fact. If a criminal wants such services to change themselves can’t we make them available while they’re incarcerated?
    3. If we back away from incarcerating violent criminals will we re-ignite the flames of vigilantism that court sentencing extinguished?

  2. Thank god we have a different State’s Attorney up here in Grand Isle County!!! He doesn’t put up with criminals and their crap, and believes in punishment and deterrence. A far cry from who Chittenden County has representing them. Sad…

    • I completely agree!!! State’s Attorney DiSabito is the best. I live in South Hero and was victimized by a career criminal. Mr. DiSabito made sure my voice was heard and the jerk who stole from me was punished. Ms. George should become a public defender. I’m glad my family and I don’t live down in Burlington. Stop coddling criminals and start listening to victims Ms. George!!!!!!!!!!!

      • AGREE 100%! She should watch how SA DiSabito handles cases and criminals in the Islands. She is promoting violence and not trying to stop it. It’s no wonder there’s violence, shootings and stabbings in Chittenden County. She should be ashamed of herself, and removed from office. Ms. George—STAY OUT OF THE ISLANDS!!!! You’re policies are not welcome here—and YOU should go work as a public defender.

  3. Don’t send ” violent ” criminals to jail, Chittenden County State’s Attorney says,
    sounds like Ms.George is just a left-leaning fool and we as taxpayers are paying
    her to do a job, like supporting our laws and jailing ” Violent” criminals.

    I would like to see all the crime data from the State’s Attorney’s office on the percentage
    of “violent criminals” that are actually ” mentally ill “, not just a criminal mind !!

    We used to have Mental Institutions, but liberals thought this was a cruel punishment so
    they shut them down and let the patients out on the streets to fend for themselves…..Pathetic.

    A person doing ” Violent Crimes “, is a violent criminal ………. no excuse, lock’em up !!

    How about a States Attorney with a little backbone, I don’t care what gender you are
    just follow the laws on the books.

  4. How does the wave of shootings that has plagued Burlington in the past few months fit into Ms. George’s thinking?………Then compound her thinking with the city’s dysfunction and a Burlington City Council bent on defunding the police.

    Armed predators roaming Burlington’s streets………One has to ask: Are there any responsible adults left in Burlington to restrain the mayhem what has been going on for months and protect honest citizens?

    Just a few years ago, no one could have imagined Burlington, VT being in such a sorry state of civil disorder……..What’s happened?

  5. This is the craziest thing I have ever seen, what is the mental status of this woman- one wonders.
    This is yet another fantasyland dweller.

    Tell me where in the Constitution it says that the taxpayers are supposed to fund all this baloney.

    The fact that so many crazy people are wandering the streets shows us what the failure the entire system has been all along the way. Lets look at what went on back when these people were growing up.
    How did their education go?
    Clearly, they were not caught and treated Waaaay back when they were growing up and something could have been done about all of this.
    This is the endgame of failed education- where so many people fall through the cracks in systems that don’t meet their needs.
    But then, look at the money that Failure creates..lots of gubbamint jobs.

  6. I have done prison ministry for 20 years. They get three hots and a cot and by law medical care. I am sure it is pretty much the same around the country.

  7. Perhaps she needs some roommates, she can personally work with them and show us her stunning results! Surely she knows, what to do and can lead by example. She can have inmates for roommates!

  8. Earth to Sarah George – There are actually some people who are either unable or unwilling to be “fixed”. Time for airheads like Sarah to accept the world as it IS, NOT HOW SHE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE.

  9. She’d change her mind if she was on the receiving end of a felons club, but if it didn’t, she’s the one that has the mental health issues.

  10. People with mental health problems have many rights. They have the right to refuse medications. They have the right not to be restrained. They have the right to refuse treatment. They do not have the right to attack and do bodily harm to others They know this but they also know they will not be held accountable because they have a mental health problem. They know well how to use the system.

    • We know what is wrong with our mental health system but we never fix it. We as a society , have failed those with mental health problems. We have failed the care providers. We have failed our police. I have given this considerable thought over the years. I think the biggest problem is the mental health system does not treat people with mental health problems until they are a danger to themselves or others. Then, it is too late.

      • A lot of mental health problems start right in the schools.
        Being taught by Marxists that hate darn near everything there is, is certainly not a healthy environment for the growing. developing mind.

        Go read about Red For Ed, a great many people that we are seeing out there in the streets today protesting are teachers. Many teachers today are literally Political Activists.. and we wonder why there is a mental health crisis?

  11. Violent criminals would just roam around at large?
    Not even Socialist Sweden is that naive!

    Defund Police as well?

    Open borders is OK as well?
    Let illegals from all over just walk in?

    UVM professors teach that nonsense?

    Instead of Defund Police, defunding the UVM law school would be better, or have some purging of the faculty, including tenured faculty.

  12. Well, that is what Mrs. Harris, you know her, Biden’s latest sniffing target, has done in California. That is exactly what groping, quid pro joe will do by opening the borders to all sorts of scofflaws and even giving them money to live on. Obviously this woman is of the same deranged mentality.

  13. Ms. George, since you think that violent criminals should not be sent to jail how do you feel about law abiding citizens maiming or killing one of these violent offenders in self defense. Or do you feel people that defend themselves should be the ones imprisoned ?

  14. Commit a ‘violent crime’ against any member of my family and the only ‘services’ required would be those rendered by a funeral home.

  15. The Citizens of Should Rest Easier Knowing That This “Public Servant” Doesn’t Believe That Jail is the Appropriate Place of Violent Offenders !

    OMG – It’s time to fire all the law professors who are teaching minds full of mush like Chittenden Co. State’s Attorney Sarah George that the rights of violent repeat offenders are more important than those of innocent unsuspecting citizens !

    Just a reminder from the Vermont Constitution Chapter 2, Section 64:

    “To deter more effectually from the, commission of crimes, by continued visible punishments of long duration, and to make sanguinary punishments less necessary, means ought to be provided for punishing by hard labor, those who shall be convicted of crimes not capital, whereby the criminal shall be employed for the benefit of the public, or for the reparation of injuries done to private persons: and all persons at proper times ought to be permitted to see them at their labor.”

    But no worries liberals like Sarah George have no respect for our governing documents, heck it’s doubtful she is aware of its existence ! Elect fools to positions of power and authority and you shouldn’t be surprised when you get foolish (and dangerous) results !

  16. Violent criminals NEED to be placed in jail for the protection of the other citizens.
    Most people that commit lesser crimes are placed in jail.
    Mental patients should NOT be left walking around committing more crimes.

    Its not rocket science! Wake up!

  17. People like George are alive and among us, they were “living” in Battery park for weeks.

    Maybe these violent folks can bunk in with the Psychiatric staff at Vt law School….. after
    every one of these violent outbreaks.
    Wait, why not lodge these violent offenders with Sarah George, a very compassionate person.

    Public Safety is far from this prosecutor’s mind. She should find a job that suits her ambitions

  18. Another jackass graduate of Vermont Law School sent out into the world with the most radical and foolish ideas. VLS is a cesspool set on making life miserable for normal, decent, hard working Americans. Wait until she is assaulted/raped/robbed and see if she holds with this crazy idea of putting violent criminals back on the street. As more and more police departments are either defunded or emasculated and more and more of these useless prosecutors are put in place with the help of George Soros, expect to see Americans taking up arms and solving the problem themselves. We will only take so much!

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