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Vermont’s House-Arrest Program Ends--Zaccaro Case Is Unaffected

United Press International

Gov. Madeleine M. Kunin closed the state’s house-arrest program to drug offenders Thursday, but the decision allows John A. Zaccaro Jr. to complete his cocaine trafficking sentence in a luxury apartment.

Zaccaro, 24, son of 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine A. Ferraro, spent less than 30 minutes of a four-month sentence at a Burlington correctional center before taking up residence July 1 in a $1,500-a-month Burlington apartment featuring cable television and maid service.

Kunin closed the program to future drug offenders, ordered corrections officials to set minimum and maximum standards on apartments used by inmates in the program and stipulated that inmates eligible for house arrest spend at least 24 hours in prison.

Corrections Commissioner Joseph Patrissi said Zaccaro’s present apartment would probably not meet the new guidelines. But he said those guidelines will not affect inmates already in the program.

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“Equal treatment under the law is undoubtedly the most basic principle of the American system of justice, and I think we make every effort to provide that equal treatment,” Kunin said. “When there is any perception that there is not equal treatment, certain steps have to be taken.”

Kunin ordered the changes in the 6-month-old program a day after receiving a report on apparent inequities among inmates. She commissioned the study after learning of Zaccaro’s surroundings.

Inmates accepted into the house arrest program have been responsible for finding and paying for their own apartments. Under the new rules, the apartments will be subject to minimum and maximum standards of luxury.

Zaccaro was sentenced in June to four months in prison after his conviction in April of selling $25 worth of cocaine.

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