Daily Chronicle: Drug gangs may affect, but don’t fully explain inmate racial disparity, Sen. Dick Sears says

By Guy Page

Out-of-state, urban drug gang activity in Vermont may play a role in the racial disparity among Vermont inmates, but does not fully explain it, Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chair of Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the Dave Gram Show Tuesday.

Judiciary Committee chair for more than two decades, Sears is perhaps Vermont’s most influential legislator on matters of law and order. During a lengthy interview on the WDEV public affairs call-in show, Sears said the Legislature this year will review and act on recommendations by Justice Reinvestment II, an initiative to cut both crime and incarceration by investing in community crime prevention programs. JR2 must determine why, in a state population just one percent African-American, black people comprise eight percent of incarcerated Vermonters.

Guy Page

A report is due in December. Seeking answers to questions raised in our Oct. 18 report, Vermont Daily Chronicle emailed Gram this request: “Ask him if racial disparities among incarcerated is due in part to big city organized drug gangs in Vermont?”

Gram complied and Sears answered, “I honestly don’t know. That’s part of what we’re trying to find out through Justice Reinvestment, why there are disparities. There may be some of that, but I don’t think it explains the entire problem, of the racial disparity.”

“I think it’s difficult to ascribe it to an opiate problem, when there are I’m sure some people who are incarcerated rom Vermont who came from Albany, New York, Troy, New York, who are persons of color, but that does not explain the entire racial disparity within our criminal justice system,” Sears continued. “I think that is an easy way to get around it. I was at Woodside [Juvenile Detention Facility] last spring – why were there two persons of color there from among 10 kids, and neither one of them to my knowledge was involved in drugs? That was about 20% of their population at the time.”

Gram noted that the Vermont ACLU traces disparity to schools, where a large percentage of expelled and suspended students are minorities. Sears said the state of Vermont can’t even determine how many students are truant — “we don’t even have numbers on that.” The bottom line, he said, is that Vermont needs more information to help its criminal justice and schools reach a point where “incarceration, suspension have nothing to do with being a minority.”

McAllister suspension vote – Sen. Sears was among the 19 senators who voted in 2016 to suspend from the Senate Sen. Norm McAllister (R-Franklin) after he was arrested in 2015 for soliciting prostitution. Last month, after a lengthy court process, McAllister was cleared of all charges. Gram asked Sears about McAllister’s suspension, “Was that fair?” Sears answered with a rueful chuckle, “I don’t know, I really don’t.” He added that at the time, he thought the Senate made the best decision based on the facts it had.

Podcasts for the Dave Gram Show are usually posted several days following the broadcast date. The show can be heard live over the air at AM 550, FM 96.1, and is livestreamed at www.radiovermont.com.

See more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

14 thoughts on “Daily Chronicle: Drug gangs may affect, but don’t fully explain inmate racial disparity, Sen. Dick Sears says

  1. Here you have Senator Sears, who represents a drug infested section of Vermont. In his statements, he is complicit in running cover for the drug dealers by promoting and sending people off track with misleading statistics that would imply our state police might be racist because they don’t arrest an equal ratio of blacks and wihites based upon the populations.

    Senator Sears is running cover for out of state drug dealers with this statement. Why can I say that? Well the statistic they keep intentionally ignoring in every report???? Men are incarcerated at 10-15 times the rate of women.

    So would this imply the state troopers are SEXIST???????

    Of course not, but it might imply that Senator Sears and all those who pose misleading stories backed up by bogus statistics are intentionally, willfully and systematically allowing drug dealers to come into the state under their cover.

    Senator Sears and those who hang with this false profile are an even bigger problem for Vermont, they are running cover for the drug dealers, plain and simple. It is also why there areas of representation have an abnormally high drug problem, ruining lives, families and our state.

  2. Let’s face it Sears doesn’t want to say what it really is…. reality plain and simple. There is plenty of data to answer the question, the problem is that it doesn’t support the fact that Vermonters are racists so they conveniently claim they don’t know. Nice try Senator. The statistics show that the majority of black children don’t have a father figure in their lives. Do you suppose that that might have an effect on their lives. How about the black community and the liberals stop blaming everybody but themselves for what’s happening. Get your act together and stop killing one another in Chicago, marry the woman you got pregnant and take care of your children.

  3. Senator Dick Sears is in total denial of Vermonts drug problem and where the drugs are coming from, he needs to be replaced this election cycle, he is complicate in perpetuating the opiod crisis in our state.

    • Those who believe America’s drug epidemic is a ‘Big Phara’ ploy just to make money are kidding themselves.

      “The standard, uninformed, view of the contemporary drugs scourge, which is ravaging the
      minds and bodies of Western youth and thus degrading the gene pool, is that it ‘just happened’. The financial rewards, according to that argument, are so enormous that there will always be evil forces willing to distribute narcotics for money.”

      “This complacent view is exploded by Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West, which shows conclusively that … Russian and Chinese Leninists have been using narcotics for several decades as a decisive weapon in the ongoing low-level warfare they are waging against Western civilization.”

      Chinese and Russian influence with South and Central American drug cartels is pervasive.


      • Opium Wars, brought China to it’s knees, almost destroyed the entire country.

        The English did that…..

        Follow the money, people of all walks are making money of getting people hooked on drugs. If you looked at all the new building permits for the last 20 years in Vermont, People might be surprised how many and how big all the pharmacies are.

        I’m not anti- pharmacist, by father was and owned a pharmacy. Just saying…there’s a ton of drug dealing going on, legal and illegal, it’s plainly visible.

  4. One would expect Sen. Sears to have access to the USDOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics – here’s a fact that may help him:

    While young black males account for about one percent of the population, they made up about a quarter of all homicide offenders (27%).

    There you go Senator – the work’s already been done for you and it’s in a nice, neat report. I suggest you read it.

  5. Let’s all use the word ‘rueful’ in a sentence:

    ‘Jim gave a rueful chuckle as he drove out of the cemetery with Dick’s stone attached to his truck’.

  6. Vermont’s Jails & Prisons are full of Drug dealers from Major Cities in NY, NJ, CT, PA
    and guess what, most are of color, that doesn’t make a racial disparity all this indicates
    is that we catch a lot of ” Big City Criminals” they just happen to be of color, colors not
    the issue the crime is !!

    Thanks to law enforcement, maybe they’ll push there wares ” Drugs ” in their own state
    if they don’t like our facilities

  7. Are there more men than women in prisons? Is the judicial system and the police sexist too? Please oh please answer that question?

    It’s a 1352 men for every 126 women. Can you please explain that ratio?

    • See this is a prime example, once again on how the Socialists and NWO wannabes frame the argument. Then they own the out come. They want us to look like we’re racist. They want us to argue and they win. They don’t have to do a thing. Even when you argue what is truth and real, they’ll frame it as…..oh you’re racist.

      Meanwhile there is a 15 to 1 ratio world wide of men to women being incarcerator.

      Flip the script. Are they anti-men? Are women getting a free ride? Is this female priviledge?

      What about the homeless ration of men to women? Drugs?

      There whole goal, knowingly or unknowingly is to perpetuate the fighting, to keep the division going. Come together in peace, solving our own problems is the worst fear of any new world wannabe, its’ the bain of any up and coming socialist.

      Peace is the foundation of the United States, Peace is an Inherent value of America.

      Vermont needs to shed is shackles of socialist and new world order righteousness, it’s all a huge scam. Bernie being the biggest purveyor of this scam, but note, he won’t even live up to his own tax plan when he becomes stinkin’ rich via capitalism no less. Time to shed our socialist shackles and embrace freedom, unity, peace and love.

      It’s ok to love America.

  8. If a person commits a crime what difference does it make what their race is? If a student is unruly in class what difference does it make what their race is?

  9. Justice is blind. If you commit the crime you do the time. If the black prison population seems inflated, it just could be that more blacks than whites are breaking the law and getting caught. Why make the issue more complicated by conjuring up all kinds of excuses and theories?

  10. Complete nonsense. We all know why they are in jail and it has nothing to do with their color.

  11. Most normal people would wait until they had the data before they’d comment – but that’s not necessary if one’s a VT Democrat. Ready, Fire, Aim should be their new motto, because it’s exactly what they do.

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