New Hampshire Governor’s Commission Reviews Justice Reinvestment Initiative Data Analysis and Proposed Policy Recommendations

May 1, 2023

On April 6, 2023, the New Hampshire Governor’s Advisory Commission on Mental Illness and the Corrections System met to review final data analysis and policy recommendations presented by staff from the CSG Justice Center as part of the state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). 

Since March 2022, staff from the CSG Justice Center has supported the commission in actualizing two goals: (1) improving criminal justice and public health outcomes for people in New Hampshire with behavioral health conditions who use the jail systems at a high rate and (2) building better data collection and analysis capacities within the impacted systems.  

Key findings from the advisory commission meeting are as follows: 

  • There is a small number of people cycling through jails in New Hampshire that are using a substantial number of resources at great cost to counties and the state. 
  • People who frequently cycled through jails from 2019 to 2021 had a greater likelihood of being booked into jail for lower-level crimes (like criminal trespassing), probation and parole violations, and failure to appear/bail charges and were less likely to be booked for violent offenses compared to people who were not jail high utilizers. 
  • In the same period, people who were jail high utilizers had increased use of mental health and substance use-related Medicaid services, more visits to emergency rooms, and more often experienced homelessness compared to people who were not jail high utilizers.  

To address these issues, the CSG Justice Center recommended taking the following actions in New Hampshire:  

  • Increase jail behavioral health and reentry services.  
  • Coordinate care across jails and behavioral health systems. 
  • Clarify the use of protective custody holds (a type of arrest where someone is detained by a peace officer for up to 24 hours for being intoxicated or incapacitated). 
  • Expand criminal justice data collection, information sharing, and data monitoring.  
  • Pursue new and existing funding streams to support these changes as well as strategies for sustainability to ensure the changes last. 

Going forward, members of the Governor’s Advisory Commission will identify which, if any, of the policy recommendations to move forward in order to help New Hampshire support the complex and high-need jail high utilizer population and strengthen the state’s data collection and analysis capacities. 

The Governor’s Advisory Commission, a bipartisan, interbranch working group tasked with examining and making recommendations on issues facing individuals with mental illnesses in the corrections system, is overseeing this work as part of JRI. This JRI effort is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts and was jointly initiated by leaders from New Hampshire’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as county leadership. 

This project was supported by Grant No. 2019-ZB-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

About the author

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Policy Analyst, State Initiatives
Stephanie Yaldo-Sheena works on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative helping state leaders reduce corrections and criminal justice spending, reinvest funds in strategies that decrease crime and reduce recidivism, and improve public safety through data-driven solutions. Previously, Stephanie worked as Congressman Andy
Levin’s outreach director in Michigan. Stephanie was a Family Advisor Board member to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), where she advocated for humane treatment of incarcerated people and to increase family connectedness within MDOC. Stephanie holds an MSW concentrating in social policy and program evaluation from the University of Michigan and a BA in psychology from Wayne State University.
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