Corrections Hearing

The man in charge of Vermont's prison system says there's been an increase in violence behind bars in the state, and that much of it appears tied to gang activity.

Andrew Pallito told lawmakers on Thursday that many of those engaged in violent gang activity are people who come from out of state and get misdemeanor drug convictions while in Vermont.

He says many such people had been housed under contract with the Franklin County Jail and House of Detention in Massachusetts, but that contract recently expired.

Members of a Vermont legislative committee are blasting the state's parole system for paroling a convicted murderer to serve a separate federal sentence, and then using a fabricated arrest warrant to get him back into state custody when the federal sentence was done.

Douglas Mason was serving a 15-to-30-year sentence for second-degree murder when state parole officials paroled him for purposes of serving a three-year federal prison term for threatening the judge who presided over his murder trial.