Prisons

NH News
5:00 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Grafton County's Half-Full Drug Court Excludes Many Addicted Defendants

James Johnson's charge for selling heroin made him ineligible for drug court in Grafton County
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

While addiction and related crimes are on the rise in Grafton County, the county’s Drug Court is struggling to fill enough seats.  That’s even though clients who get a drug court offer can avoid incarceration, get access to affordable high-level addiction-treatment programs, and often have their conviction vacated after completion.

It's Lonely In Here

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Word of Mouth
4:00 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

3.22.15: The New Prison Work Programs, Gross Solutions To Serious Problems, & Misophonia

Macro shot of a Crunchie candy bar.
Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

When you hear about prison work programs, you think license plates or chain gangs – not farm-raised Tilapia, or buffalo milk cheese. On today’s show, artisanal foods and other the under-the-radar products made by prisoners for next to nothing.

Plus, a project aims to solve two global problems by turning sewage into drinkable water, and why revulsion may prevent it from becoming a reality. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments. 

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Word of Mouth
2:20 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

3.16.15: From Prison To Table, Last Meals, & Swearing In Modern America

Cañon City, Colorado is the home to nine state and four federal prisons and penitentiaries.
Credit Granger Meador via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/cfu46W

When you hear about prison work programs, you think license plates or chain gangs – not buffalo milk cheese. On today’s show, we’ll look into the artisanal foods and other under-the-radar, prisoner-made products that line the shelves of stores across the country.

Then, in 1939 Rhett Butler stunned audiences when he uttered the now famous line in Gone with the Wind: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” We’ll talk about the history of onscreen cursing, and how four letter words have come out of the shadows and into the mainstream.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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NH News
5:00 am
Thu December 18, 2014

As Drug Sentences Spike, New Women's Prison May Be Too Small

NH State Prison for Women in Goffstown
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

New Hampshire's new $38 million prison – which is being built in Concord as I write this – may be too small.

 The fact that the state’s prison population has been growing steadily is well known. What’s new is a striking increase in the number of female inmates in state prison over the last six months. It’s 13 percent higher compared to 2013. That’s roughly four times the rate of increase among male inmates. 

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Word of Mouth
4:08 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Reporter Graeme Wood Responds To Critics

Credit Thomas Hawk via flickr Creative Commons

On September 21st, Shane Bauer wrote an article for Mother Jones, How Can The Atlantic Give Us 5,000 Words on Prison Life Without Interviewing Prisoners? Bauer called out Graeme Wood and his article for The Atlantic, How Gangs Took Over Prisons, for not interviewing any prisoners, as well as for his depiction of solitary confinement c

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Word of Mouth
2:10 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

9.23.14: The Origins Of The Prison Gang & Rejecting Corporal Punishment

Credit Still Burning via flickr Creative Commons

California’s Pelican Bay state prison houses gang leaders high on the food chain. Contrary to popular myth, they run the joint like a well-oiled machine, with chains-of-command, communication networks, even a system for intake.

On today’s show: a glimpse into the surprisingly orderly life behind bars, and the influence of gangs on life on the outside.

Also today, an African-American woman says it’s time to reject the notion that beating kids is part of black culture.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

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NH News
8:23 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Prison Program Allows Children To Spend Time With Incarcerated Parents

The N.H. Women's Prison in Goffstown
Credit Cheryl Senter / NHPR

Two children will spend the day with their mother who is serving time in a New Hampshire prison as part of program to strengthen families and reduce recidivism.

The program started in 2012 to give children a chance to paint, play games and dine with their incarcerated moms or dads while also attending a traditional two-week summer camp.

The program had to be scaled back this year when the overnight camp in Penacook closed for the summer due to a bed bug infestation.

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Newscast
8:32 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Department Of Corrections To Hold Job Fair

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.

NH News
9:16 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Forced Overtime Exhausts Prison Officers, Costs State Millions

Inmate Eric Grant, who sits on an Inmate Communication Committee, says occasionally Correctional Officers fall asleep on the job.
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

Overtime Exhaustion

For more than a decade, New Hampshire prisons have been under enormous pressure.  The prison population has gone up as staff numbers have gone down.  Aside from the inmates, few feel the consequences as acutely as the state’s correctional officers.

Corrections Sergeant Justin Jardine represents prison officers with the State Employees’ union. “I'm working approximately 3 double shifts a week, so 64 hours a week,”says Jardine.  Younger officers, Jardine says, work 4 or 5 double shifts -- around 80 hours a week.  

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Word of Mouth
12:59 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

7.08.14: Misused Science Terms, Women's Prisons, And Mental Illness In The NBA

Credit various brennemans via Flickr Creative Commons

Prove it, innate, survival of the fittest, organic… scientific terminology is part of our everyday language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today we’re testing the theory of misusing scientific terms. And, with the state breaking ground on a new women’s prison next month, we’ll consider whether the specific needs of female inmates can be addressed by re-thinking prison design. Then, mental illness creates a stigma that is almost impossible to erase, even for sports celebrities. We wonder: why isn’t Delonte West in the NBA?

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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NH News
3:57 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

On The Inside: NH's Women Behind Bars [Infographic]

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Increasingly, corrections officials are looking to statistics to inform their decisions around all aspects of prison practices. As NHPR's Emily Corwin recently reported, inmates’ gender and trauma statistics are helping inform the design of the state’s new women's prison in Concord.

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NH News
6:21 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Trauma Statistics Inform New Women's Prison Design

Jodi Holmes (left) and Kara Bouchard converse at a table in the "mall" area at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

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. 

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn

Credit 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
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Word of Mouth
12:15 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

2.25.14: Solitary Confinement, Viral Images, Giant Of Cardiff, Ethical Failures & NH Biathlon

Credit George Oates, Nathan Fixler & Chris Griffith via Flickr Creative Commons

Today on Word of Mouth, we delve into the consequences of solitary confinement. Then a trip to the Internet reveals that cyberspace is chock full of fakes and fails; Photoshopped images can quickly become viral and shared as authentic. But history is full of giant hoaxes, too, as we learn from Nate Dimeo of the Memory Palace Podcast.  Then we hear about The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure,  which isn’t one of those Darwin Awards-style coffee table books. It’s a real government document that catalogs bribery, graft, and other infractions in the Department of Defense. Finally, NHPR's Sean Hurley visited the Jackson biathlon range - the only dedicated course in New Hampshire - to find out more about this unusual sport.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
3:21 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Word Of Mouth 04.27.2013

Credit Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky  from Crime and Punishment

In this fearless edition of Word of Mouth, we take new steps and utter new words about crime, punishment and everything in between.

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NH News
5:00 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Female Inmates' Lawsuit Spurs Action Among Lawmakers

Women cook their own meals at the Goffstown Women's Prison,but unlike their male counterparts, they can not receive culinary certification.
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.

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Word of Mouth
11:55 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Why Private Prisons Don't Want Immigration Reform

Thirty years ago, Corrections Corporation of America opened its first private prison. As demand for border patrol increased over the decades, so has its earnings. Last year, CCA brought in $1.7 billion dollars in revenue – a quarter of which came from government agencies enforcing immigration policy and incarcerating non-citizens in the US. Lee fang is Reporting Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He probed the connection between prison profits and stiffer immigration policies and came up with some unsettling answers.

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Word of Mouth
11:55 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Why Private Prisons Don't Want Immigration Reform

Thirty years ago, Corrections Corporation of America opened its first private prison. As demand for border patrol increased over the decades, so has its earnings. Last year, CCA brought in $1.7 billion dollars in revenue – a quarter of which came from government agencies enforcing immigration policy and incarcerating non-citizens in the US. Lee fang is Reporting Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

The Exchange
10:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

New Hampshire Commissioner Of Corrections, William Wrenn

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:

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The Exchange
3:56 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Privatizing Prisons: The Pros and Cons

Tim Pearce, Los Gatos via Flickr

This year, there’s been a lot more talk about New Hampshire going the route of as the Governor and others explore the idea of private companies running our corrections institutions.  But questions remain -- about the rehabilitation of prisoners, inmate and employee safety, and whether, in the end, the cost savings would be enough to make this shift worthwhile.

Guests:

Harris Kenny: policy analyst, Reason Foundation

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Latin America
3:52 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Violence Exposes Crisis In Latin American Prisons

In Honduras, female relatives of inmates killed during a fire at a prison argue with soldiers as they try to enter the morgue in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, on Feb. 20. The fire at Comayagua prison on Feb. 14 killed more than 300 inmates.
Esteban Felix AP

A series of fatal riots inside Mexican prisons last week and a deadly blaze at a penitentiary in Honduras are prompting calls for major penal reform in Central America.

Violence at three different penitentiaries in Mexico last week left 48 inmates dead, while the inferno in Honduras earlier this month killed 360 prisoners.

These deadly events underscore the problems of corruption, overcrowding, prison gangs and crumbling infrastructure that prisons face throughout the region.

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