New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow prison inmates to reduce their minimum sentences by completing educational courses and college degrees.
However, critics of the measure say it would undermine the state’s truth-in-sentencing law that assures victims of crime that perpetrators will spend a guaranteed time period behind bars, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader
“Victims like to know if a perpetrator is sent away for 5 to 10 years, they’re not going to have to worry about seeing him earlier now because he got a Ph.D.,” said parole board member Donna Sytek, a Republican who served as state House speaker in the late 1990s.
The bill, which has been approved by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, would allow inmates to reduce their sentences by up to 180 days, depending on whether they completed course work for a high school diploma, a vocational program, or a college degree.
More time off would be awarded for each additional course or degree completed.
Supporters of the measure, which is co-sponsored by five Republicans and five Democrats, told the Union Leader that such a program would encourage inmates to use their time in prison more productively and improve their chances of finding employment after their release.
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