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Vermont DOC Retains Downs Rachlin Martin to Guide Critical Incident Review Process

Waterbury, VT – The Vermont Department of Corrections today announced it retained Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC (DRM) to lead a review process for making public findings from investigations into critical incidents at the Department. 


The Department has a thorough process for handling emergencies as they unfold, including quickly alerting our partners in law enforcement and the Defender General so they can begin their independent investigatory processes,” said Commissioner Nicholas J. Deml. “But we can improve how we demonstrate our commitment to transparency by communicating the findings of these reviews as they conclude months later, which is why I have asked Downs Rachlin Martin to lend us their expertise.” 


The Department’s existing review process includes independent case analysis; interviews with incarcerated individuals, correctional staff, and Department leadership; video evidence; documents; and medical information from the Department’s health contractor. The Vermont State Police, the Office of the Medical Examiner, the Defender General, and the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care (VPQHC) also conduct their own independent investigations. However, the Department has not routinely provided a public report at the conclusion of these processes 


DRM will assist the Department in designing a new system to document findings and actions taken in response to critical incidents following these reviews. The process is projected to conclude with recommendations later this summer. 


Downs Rachlin Martin will also review ongoing death investigations and provide Department leadership with recommendations for areas of improvement.