Despite having a low and stable crime rate, between 1999 and 2009, New Hampshire’s prison population had increased 31 percent, and annual state spending on corrections had doubled to more than $100 million. From 2009 to 2010, the CSG Justice Center worked with New Hampshire state leaders to develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. CSG Justice Center staff interviewed stakeholders and conducted a comprehensive analysis of New Hampshire’s criminal justice data. Signed into law in 2010, the Justice Reinvestment Act (Senate Bill 500):
- Focuses supervision and resources on probationers who are at a high risk of reoffending;
- Enables probation officers to employ short jail sanctions for minor probation violations, when permitted by judges at sentencing;
- Establishes a 7-day intermediate sanction in a halfway house for parole violators; and
- Imposes a 90-day period in prison for people whose parole is revoked for committing technical violations of their supervision.
Prior to passing justice reinvestment legislation, New Hampshire’s prison population was projected to grow to 3,029 people by FY2015. The Justice Reinvestment Act was projected to reduce the FY2015 prison population to 2,342 people, and in the year following passage of the legislation, the prison population fell by 12 percent, or approximately 390 people. In July 2011, however, Senate Bill 52 was passed, modifying or repealing certain policies in the Justice Reinvestment Act.. As a result, New Hampshire’s prison population began to increase; as of March 31, 2015, New Hampshire’s prison population was 2,738.
The CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance to New Hampshire on the implementation of the justice reinvestment policies. In particular, the CSG Justice Center assisted the Department of Corrections with developing a training strategy for staff on effective supervision practices and helped the parole board implement guidelines for release decision making using data-driven strategies and incorporating evidence-based practices.