Vermont Court Records
The Vermont State Prison System
The Vermont state criminal justice system consists of law enforcement, court departments, and agencies. The Vermont Department of Corrections and the Federal Prison Bureau are responsible for convicted criminals. The Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) provides criminal offenders with housing, punishment, and rehabilitation to prevent future offenses. The DOC is also responsible for maintaining and disseminating public records regarding prisoners, offering victims’ assistance programs, supervising probation and parole, and overseeing risk intervention services for offenders.
What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Vermont?
Jails and prisons both serve to house individuals who have committed crimes, but the two vary in security level. In Vermont, jails are run at the city or county level by the sheriff or local law enforcement. Jails exist as a holding area for alleged offenders to await trial. Following an arrest, the arresting officer brings the individual to the jail in the county where they were charged. Jail also serves to hold low-level offenders and individuals that violate local ordinances. Typically, the length of stay in Vermont jails is no more than one year.
Prisons are facilities meant to hold high-level offenders for a more extended period. Many individuals held in prisons awaited trial in jail. The judge at trial is responsible for assigning penalties if the defendant is proven guilty and convicted.
How Many Prisons are in Vermont?
Vermont is home to six correctional facilities:
- Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF) in South Burlington
- Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility (MVRCF) in Rutland
- Northeast Correctional Complex (NERCF & CCWC) in St. Johnsbury
- Northern State Correctional Facility (NSCF) in Newport
- Northwest State Correctional Facility (NWSCF) in Swanton
- Southern State Correctional Facility (SSCF) Springfield
How do I search for an Inmate in Vermont State Prison?
The Vermont DOC provides a search engine to find inmates held in the state. Vermont considers inmate information public record in Vermont, and any individual can use the search tool. The only required information is the first and last name of the inmate. The tool also allows viewing all inmates, only released inmates, or only inmates currently being held. After the search, the results will show parties the last name, first name, middle name, date of booking, date of release, and facility. Individuals can also contact the facility where the inmate of interest is held to obtain information. The Vermont Department of Corrections website provides the contact information for all prisons in the state.
Are Incarceration Records Public in Vermont?
Yes, Vermont incarceration records are public records. Incarceration records are part of individual criminal history information but pertain specifically to records created as a result of incarceration. The Vermont Public Records Law clarifies that individuals in Vermont have the right to search for and obtain all records and documents that the court deems public. In requesting a criminal history record, individuals can access:
- Identifying information about the subject (full name, nicknames, date of birth, nationality, and gender)
- Current and recent addresses
- Mugshot and fingerprints
- Details regarding charges and convictions
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How to Look Up Jail Records in Vermont?
Individuals who wish to obtain jail history, arrest records, and criminal history information can do so by contacting the specific facility where the person of interest is being held. It is also possible to obtain full criminal records by downloading and completing a Public Request Form and sending it, along with the $30.00 fee, to the following address:
US District Court
11 Elmwood Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
Telephone: (802) 951–6301
Can Jail Records be Expunged in Vermont?
Title 13, Chapter 230 of the Vermont legislature allows for some charges and convictions to be expunged after a specific amount of time has passed. Expungement, or removal, of records, means that the record is destroyed and no longer viewable by the public. The rules and regulations regarding expungement vary depending on the severity and number of convictions. Individuals who wish to expunge their criminal record can petition the criminal court where the conviction took place. Federal conviction typically cannot be expunged.