Department of Justice grant will help New Hampshire expand model programs
(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and New Hampshire Governor John Lynch announced today that the New Hampshire Department of Justice has received $400,000 through the U.S. Department of Justice's Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative to develop innovative approaches to prisoner reentry that will lower recidivism and help former offenders retain housing and employment.
New Hampshire has been recognized for developing model prisoner reentry programs, and this grant will allow for program expansion with the goal of creating a recidivism reduction program that can be replicated elsewhere in New Hampshire and across the country.
"Formerly incarcerated men and women can pose security risks and an economic burden to communities," said Shaheen. "We need to make sure they reenter society safely and can become productive members of the community. That's why recidivism reduction programs are so important, and I'm happy this federal funding will help New Hampshire to reduce recidivism and keep our citizens safe. New Hampshire has model prisoner reentry programs and this grant will allow the state to continue to lead the nation in this important area."
Under Governor Lynch, New Hampshire is undertaking a number of efforts to reform its prison system in order to lower crime and reduce costs.
"A significant portion of our prison population is the number of repeat offenders. Men and women who leave prison and then commit new crimes are a serious public safety concern and a serious financial concern for the state," Gov. Lynch said. "Many of the people who go to prison will re-enter society. To lower crime rates and to reduce costs, we must provide the support and programming that will help former prisoners become productive members of society once they are released."
"This grant will complement the work we are doing to reduce the number of repeat offenders returning to our prison system," Gov. Lynch said.
The State of New Hampshire recently announced a new partnership with the Pew Center for the States to examine how the state can best lower the recidivism rate, increase public safety and reduce the growth in corrections costs into the future.
In the recent budget, the state created a Community Corrections Division at the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, which will work to ensure that successful support programs available inside the prison walls are also available on the outside in an effort to prevent New Hampshire's prison system from becoming a revolving door.
The new partnership with the Pew Center will provide data that will allow the state to work to reduce the recidivism rate in an effective and efficient manner.
The Department of Corrections will use the Second Chance grant to create community corrections positions, train staff in evidence-based reentry practices, and create stronger connections with the new community-based caseworkers and parole officers to reduce recidivism. This grant will primarily be used in Concord, which has the state's largest prison and the highest concentration of reentering offenders. The funding will pilot an evidence-based re-entry process designed to reduce recidivism in Concord by 50 percent in 5 years, also enhancing public safety.
"The Department of Corrections is pleased with the decision to award us with a Second Chance Act grant. The national corrections trend is to emphasize comprehensive evidence-based re-entry services to offenders returning to community," said New Hampshire Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn. "This grant is a strategically planned initiative designed to enhance the offender's ability to stay out of prison while increasing public safety and lower costs."
"The Department of Justice is committed to working collaboratively with other agencies across state government and beyond to reduce our recidivism rate. We were pleased to receive this grant, which will greatly assist our efforts," said New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney.
The successful grant application involved a collaboration of the State of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
The Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative seeks to ensure that the transition people make from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful. For more information on the Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative, please visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/SecondChance.html.