Tags: Voting Rights | new hampshire | incarceration | rate

Rates of Incarceration in New Hampshire

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 07:15 PM

If asked which American state has the highest rate of prison population growth under the guise of incarceration rates, the answer might come as a surprise: New Hampshire.

As Time magazine reported in September 2014, New Hampshire enjoys one of the lowest crime rates across the U.S. Figures have remained steady, but the state’s population has increased since the mid 1990s.

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In spite of the generally positive statistics, incarceration across New Hampshire have been on the rise. The Time piece examined statistical data across each of the 50 states in the preceding four years.

New Hampshire reported the largest increase, at 8.2 percent, followed by second-place Nebraska, where incarcerations rose 6.8 percent. By contrast, the national average during this period of time was a 0.3 percent increase.

The reasons behind the rise in incarcerations appear complex, though state officials frequently point to altered legislation that ironically was intended to reduce New Hampshire’s prison population.

In 2010, New Hampshire legislators had adopted a law that gave the green light to free all of the state’s inmates who had served at least 120 percent of their minimum sentence. As Time points out, an inmate sentenced to 10 years would be eligible for release by the sixth year.

In the first year of the new law, nearly 300 prisoners were reportedly released from the system. Not long after its implementation, however, a sea of political changes in the state capitol transpired, and the bill was gutted.

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Beyond the law change, New Hampshire judges have reportedly handed down stiffer sentences overall, a scenario that has stirred up polarized debates across the state.

In an interview with the Concord Monitor newspaper, Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, asserted a series of unintended consequences were coming down from the stiffer penalties.

"I think, across the country, you’ve seen a crackdown on every level – increase arrests, increased sentencing – and I think there are some real opportunities to re-examine our approach to criminal justice," he said.

However, Scott Murray, Merrimack County’s attorney general, offered a different perspective. Depending upon the offense, Murray has been a supporter of incarcerating convicted criminals.

“I think, in the end, we’re either going to pay to incarcerate those people or we’re gong to pay to deal with them outside the prison,” Murray told the Concord Monitor.

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If asked which American state has the highest rate of prison population growth under the guise of incarceration rates, the answer might come as a surprise: New Hampshire.
new hampshire, incarceration, rate
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2016-15-09
Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 07:15 PM
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