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October 5, 2008

New Hampshire latest state exploring incarceration alternatives

As detailed in this AP article, New Hampshire can be added to the states seriously exploring alternatives to incarceration.  Here are a few details:

New Hampshire is involved in multiple efforts to evaluate the benefits of alternative sentencing programs for nonviolent offenders. A commission that includes government officials, legal experts and county, prison and mental health care administrators met twice last month to discuss how the state could save money through programs that keep nonviolent offenders out of jail.

"We wanted to get together the people who know the most about these issues and take a judicial approach to how we can deal with inmates convicted of crimes when they are not violent and ask, ’Is sending them to a prison cell the best way we can be dealing with our criminal justice obligations?’" said state Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-Exeter, who sponsored the bill creating the commission....

Next month, a two-day conference will bring county and state leaders together to exchange ideas on creating statewide sentencing alternatives for nonviolent offenders with mental illness or drug dependency. The New Hampshire judicial branch recently was selected as one of four jurisdictions in the country for a national project designed to help states improve court responses to people with mental illness, and the president of the New Hampshire Bar Association said she is making the issue a top priority.

October 5, 2008 at 04:50 PM | Permalink

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