Making Democracy Work

Women Incarcerated Study 2009-12

State study of women incarcerated in New Hampshire

Drug Court Graduation

The Grafton County Drug Court, which allowed the League study committee incredible access several years ago to their process, will have a graduation ceremony at the Grafton Court in Haverhill on Nov. 17, 2014. This is the first graduation of the court that has more females than males successfully completing the program that focuses on treatment and changing behaviors as an alternative to a felony sentence. Recent work showed that female drug offenders often need gender-specific protocols to be successful, so this graduation is a milestone. The League's congratulations to the women and men who have turned their lives around.

New Women's Prison plan

The new women's prison, which is moving from the conceptual design phase toward actual plans, will be in Concord on the same property as the men's prison. Site work has begun and the projected occupation date is October 2016.

Transitional Housing Report 2013

November 2013: this report done for the NH legislature reports on the status of the four transitional housing/work units. Shea Farm is the unit for women who are within 6 months of release. While living at Shea Farm the women seek jobs and pay room and board, as a transition to life after release. Download the pdf

Study Articles

LWVNH Incarceration Position adopted April 2012 This position was reached by member consensus, based on our extensive 3-year study of the impact of women incarcerated in NH. The study included visits to the county houses of correction, the women's prison and halfway house, interviews with state and county corrections officials and with inmates, presentations by court officials and others involved in alternative sentencing including several visits to the Grafton county drug court, parole and probation state officials, and extensive reading of current publications about women offenders, both in NH and throughout the country. From this position the League is advocating for improvements in the treatment of women offenders, with a goal of reduced recidivism and improved futures for the women and society.

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Some of our reports to members during our study process can be found on the Publications page as part of our NH Voter newsletters.

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Report of the NH Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission on the Unequal Treatment of women offenders in NH prison (October 2011)

Interview in the Valley News, November 25, 2012, on the League's study: <http://www.vnews.com/search/2822007-95/women-prison-league-county>

The two articles below were the starting point for our study:

Women Behind Bars: a study by the NH Women's Policy Institute [Download the pdf file]

Double Jeopardy: a study by the NH Commission on the Status of Women (2004) <http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/double_jeopardy.pdf>

More recent articles and material we used:

Justice Reinvestment Analyses 2010, report of the Justice Center for the Council of State Governments

Report on Women Participating in Drug Court (Grafton County recommendations) Dec. 2012 Downlaod the pdf file

Sentencing In NH [Download the pdf file]

Court System in NH [Download the pdf file]

Recidivism in NH report on the 2008 cohort

Recidivism in NH report on 2007 cohort <http://www.nh.gov/nhdoc/divisions/publicinformation/documents/2007_recidivism.pdf>

Recidivism in NH report on 2006 cohort [Download the pdf file]

Recidivism in NH report on 2004 cohort [Download the pdf file]

Reducing Recidivism Study: 2009, a national study [Download the pdf file]

NH Department of Corrections Report 2013 http://www.nh.gov/nhdoc/divisions/publicinformation/documents/annual-report-2013.pdf

Incarceration of Juveniles

March 2013 news item--somewhat related to our study. This comes from the NH Child Advocacy Network, of which we are coalition members:

"Locking Up Fewer Kids: New Hampshire and the Nation See Steady Decline in Youth Incarceration

America's rate of locking up youth has dropped by more than 40 percent over a 15-year period, with no decrease in public safety, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

A new KIDS COUNT data snapshot, Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States, reports that the number of young people in correctional facilities on a single day fell to 70,792 in 2010, from a high of 107,637 in 1995. This downward trend, documented in data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, has accelerated in recent years.

New Hampshire's rate of incarcerating youth fell from 186 per 100,000 in 1997 to 97 per every 100,000 youth (a drop of 69 children) and is fourth in the nation for lowest incarceration rates.

The report recommends alternative approaches to youth incarceration, including community based programs. "Locking up young people has lifelong consequences (...)," said Bart Lubow director of the Foundation's Juvenile Justice Strategy Group.

"Our decreasing reliance on incarceration presents an exceptional opportunity to respond to juvenile delinquency in a more cost-effective and humane way - and to give these youth a real chance to turn themselves around." Contact us: 2 Delta Drive,Concord NH 03301 603-225-2264/info@childrennh.org

Incarceration Program

If your community or church group would like to learn more about the issues facing women offenders in NH, including what the public can do to increase the prospects for the future, study leaders will happily bring a presentation to you. Contact Liz Tentarelli via the Contact Us page of this website to arrange for a presentation.

prison privatization bill 2013

The League supported NH House Bill 443 as amended, which bans the privatization of NH's prisons. The care and supervision of inmates is, we believe, a state responsibility that must not be shifted to a for-profit entity. The amendment does allow for emergency placement of inmates into private prisons, on a temporary basis, if the governor declares the situation an emergency (such as a fire that necessitates closing a part of a prison for extensive repairs).

This bill passed the NH House in spring 2013.

After that it was announced that plans to privatize the NH prison system were cancelled. The building of a new prison for women, to replace the Goffstown facility, was included in the 2013-14 capital budget. The prison will be on land in Concord already owned by the state as part of the men's prison site.