Department of Corrections

A prisoner in New Hampshire is suing the state after he was placed in secure housing for failing to shave his thick, bushy beard in violation of prison rules. A federal judge in July ordered prison officials to give 35-year-old Frank Staples a lower security classification and transfer him to a less restrictive housing unit pending the outcome of his religious rights lawsuit.

Courtesy Photo

Chris Rocket has been in prison for 19 years. His convictions are for second degree murder and robbery. The crimes, he says, were the result of an alcohol addiction.

His addiction to heroin and prescription drugs?

He got hooked on those while incarcerated at the state prison in Berlin.


New Hampshire Department of Corrections

  State corrections officials say a female inmate walked away from a Transitional Housing Unit in Concord, shortly before a male inmate who had also reportedly walked away was taken into custody.

The Department of Corrections says Christy Blondeau of Manchester had given permission for a two hour outing at 7 p.m. Friday, but did not return to the Shea Farm Transitional Housing Unit as scheduled. Officials placed her on walkaway status at about midnight.

Blondeau is serving a 1 ½ to 3 year sentence on a Forgery conviction.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A new state prison for women, originally slated to open in the fall of 2016, is running $12 million over budget and will be delayed by one year.

The building was supposed to cost $38 million and take two years to build. Contractors broke ground in August.

Now, Jeff Lyons with the Department of Corrections says, “the project is costing more than it was originally anticipated to cost, so we now have to look at our options.” 

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections is holding a job fair on Thursday in Concord.

The event is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Howard Recreation Center Auditorium at 129 Pleasant St.

Participants also can meet with Department of Corrections staff at The Teamsters at 53 Goffstown Road in Manchester earlier that day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They can provide a snapshot of day-to-day life in the corrections field.

While you’re binging on new episodes of Orange is The New Black this week, here in New Hampshire, architects are working with the Department of Corrections to design a real $38 million state prison for women. 

And unlike most women’s prisons around the country, this 224-bed prison is being designed for the particular needs of women inmates.  To find out more about what New Hampshire's new prison may be like, NHPR visited a women's prison designed by the same architect, and with the same principles -- in Windham, Maine. 

Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn

Apr 3, 2014
unionleader.com

We're sitting down with Corrections Commissioner, William Wrenn. We'll talk about the national trend toward prison reform, as well as the issues in front of his department, including plans for the new women's prison, and the state of New Hampshire's halfway house system.

GUEST:

  • William Wrenn - New Hampshire Department of Corrections Commissioner
http://www.nh.gov/nhdoc/facilities/concord.html

With rising numbers of Granite Staters incarcerated, and ever-present budget constraints, some argue that it’s time to reform our approach to crime and punishment. But balancing innovation with public safety remains a concern. We’ll look at that latest thinking about some of the ideas out there- from alternative sentencing to rehabilitation.

GUESTS:

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Nearly 24 years after the courts first ordered a new facility for female inmates, the New Hampshire House has approved a capital budget with $38 million set aside for a 224-bed women's prison in Concord.

A class action lawsuit is driving lawmakers to act now.

2013 is a year in which New Hampshire Commissioner of Corrections, William Wrenn will face some considerable challenges.  Facilities are packed, jobs have been cut, there's the on going problem of recidivism, and a huge debate over the privatization or partial privatization of prisons.  Add to that, a lawsuit filed last August against the State suggesting that women inmates aren't receiving the same treatment and access to services as their male counterparts.  Today we sit down with Commissioner Wrenn about this and take your calls.

Guest:

Tim Barry
Amanda Loder / NHPR

With Christmas a week away, shoppers are crowding into malls, outlets, and downtown shopping districts looking for last-minute gifts.  But, for those looking for unusual handmade gifts, there’s another, unorthodox, option available.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

Four female inmates are suing the Department of Corrections for what they say is a disparity of opportunity compared to the male prisoners in the state.

Four women in Goffstown and Concord prisons have filed a suit alleging that the Department of Corrections is out of compliance with the 1987 federal court order that required the state to provide female prisoners with services male inmates already receive.

These services include vocational education, mental health treatment and housing programs.