MONTPELIER, VT. >> Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says the number of prison inmates in custody is at its lowest level since the early 2000s.
On Monday, Shumlin said that when he took office in 2011 there were just over 2,100 inmates in Vermont prisons. Today there are 1,734, a decline of 17.5 percent.
The number of inmates held out-of-state has also declined, from 562 in 2011 to 271 today, a drop of 52 percent.
Shumlin credits a variety of programs and policy changes, including diverting non-violent offenders into substance abuse programs rather than jail.
He says it's helping reduce the rate of increase in the Corrections Department budget.
Inmate advocate Suzi Wizowaty of the organization Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform says the figures are good news, but much more needs to be done.