|Baker, former VSP chief, named interim corrections leader|
|By benningtonbanner.com- Luke Nathan|
ARLINGTON — Former Vermont State Police director Jim Baker will serve as interim commissioner of the Department of Corrections amid an outside investigation of the department that is expected to last about four months.
Baker will temporarily fill the position vacated by Mike Touchette, who resigned on Dec. 18 following the publication earlier that month of a Seven Days article detailing allegations of sexual misconduct and drug abuse by officers at the state's lone prison for women.
Vermont Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith announced the appointment in a Dec. 27 news release.
The outside probe will be led by Tristram Coffin, former U.S. Attorney for Vermont, along with his legal team at Downs Rachlin Martin and an unspecified "corrections expert," according to the news release. Investigators "will have access to all correctional facilities in Vermont," Smith said in the release, "but the majority of the work will focus on Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility," a prison for women since August 2011.
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