Women's Prison

A new New Hampshire State Prison for Women, originally slated to open in Concord in the fall of 2016, is running $12 million over budget and will be delayed by one year.

NHPR's newsroom has been covering issues surrounding the current women's prison in Goffstown, as well as the resources and funding issues that have faced New Hampshire's Department of Corrections in recent years. Reporter Emily Corwin was the recipient of a 2014 Gracie Award for her journalism on this issue.

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.” 

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. 

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.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

State lawmakers broke ground for a $38 million State Prison for Women on Monday, thrusting shovels into dirt behind the tall wire fences of the Concord State Prison for Men. The prison will replace a former county jail that was meant to be temporary, but has housed the state’s women inmates for more than 20 years.

The new prison will include a chapel, classrooms, space for prison industries, and a courtyard with a garden.  It came about after female inmates sued the state for not providing the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and other New Hampshire officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of the long-awaited women's prison.

Related: Read Emily Corwin's story on how women's prison will be designed based on data 

Construction is beginning two decades after the state was first ordered to provide female inmates the same services as their male counterparts.