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Letter: New prison requires adequate staffing

As a parent of someone incarcerated at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown I have become increasingly aware of recidivism, the return to prison of those released. Goffstown has one of the highest recidivism rates in the country. This is measured as return to prison within three years time from release, and the most recent rate is 41.7 percent.

High recidivism shouldn’t be a concern only to family and friends of women at the prison but also to every New Hampshire taxpayer. Recidivism costs money, and every woman who fails to make it in the outside world represents the failure of our state to rehabilitate and prepare inmates to be productive members of our society.

It took a lawsuit to motivate the Legislature to finally appropriate money to replace the deplorable prison at Goffstown, and this step is long overdue. I was pleased and impressed during last week’s stakeholder presentation by the Department of Corrections in Concord to learn about the proposed plan for the new women’s prison. It is designed with rehabilitation in mind and with the goal of preparing inmates, upon their release into New Hampshire society, for successful assimilation and productivity. However, without proper staffing, this new prison will be unable to fulfill the task for which it was designed.

I urge the Legislature and all taxpayers of New Hampshire to support the financial commitment required to staff this new state-of-the-art facility. It behooves all of us to support the successful building and staffing of our new state prison for women.

JANET URQUHART

Milford

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