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Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform

Newsletter - March 30, 2020

 3 Volume 2,  Number                               

The NH Department of Corrections
Virus Concerns

In jails and prisons across the country, concerns are rising of a serious coronavirus outbreak behind bars. We thought it was important that we reach out to you about the New Hampshire Prison System.

Understandably, these are challenging and scary times for all Americans.  The same concerns that you and I have are often magnified for those who reside (or who have loved ones) in cloistered facilities like nursing homes, jails and prisons.

Some may ask,  "Why care about criminals in prison getting the virus?"  The reason is at least two fold: we care about all the people behind the walls both staff and inmates alike.  We also care about the people outside the walls who represent the families of staff and inmates.  Slowing down and stopping the spread of the virus is paramount across all segments of society including prison populations.

CCJR represents hundreds of families with an incarcerated loved one or friend. Most inmates admit to being guilty of some or all of what they were convicted of and most agree they have made some tragic and horrific mistakes. 

What society forgets or simply chooses to ignore is that these individuals are also the beloved sons, daughters, husbands, wives and grandchildren of loving caring people. They were our neighbors and friends and are members of someones family.  Many inmates are also parents who are loved and missed by children all across our Granite state. Children waiting and longing for their dad or mom to come home.

While never ignoring the pain and suffering that crime causes and acknowledging that some criminal acts are so offensive they are or seem to be unspeakable. The truth is that many, many people in jail or prison are good people, who have done bad things. Yes, some very bad things.  A large percentage of these have confessed and do deeply regret their actions.  (Sadly, some do not).

Most incarcerated people are eventually released and return to society and a good portion of those never repeat the actions for which they were arrested or commit new criminal acts. This is a good thing.  People can and do change, and the past does not have to dictate the future!

There is also the genuine concern for DOC staff and Correctional officers who work in these crowded facilities. They too have families that care about them, and they directly work with your incarcerated loved ones.  It is imperative they are healthy when they go to work, and when they come home so not to further spread the virus either inside or outside the prison walls.

This virus pandemic is serious and it can kill. Especially for those in two high risk categories: (1) The elderly (many in prison are senior citizens), (2) those with disabilities or underlying health issues.  There are many in our jails and state prisons that are in these two groups.

We all understand that inmates live in tight closed overcrowded spaces. Packed into a small cells and pods often without enough soap or cleaning supplies.  If they do have them they have to purchase them on a daily wage of a dollar or two a day. Families and inmates alike are very worried about this close proximity.   Inmates would like to be separated and get away from others, but as one inmate stated, "You can't."

We are delighted to share the DOC report that:  "As of 3-27-2020 we do not have any staff members or residents who have tested positive for COVID-19" 

What steps is the NH DOC taking? 

To reduce the risk of spreading the virus all family visits have been suspended in NH prisons.  While this is an appropriate and necessary step that we support, separation from friends and loved ones increases family worry and concern.

During these weeks of separation mail is important but a phone call is the only personal life-line the family has with their loved one. We thank the Commissioner for implementing the following:  Free phone calls to attorney phone numbers and two free five (5) minute phone calls weekly for inmates. They recently posted that they are working on a video visitation option which would be such a blessing especially for those inmates with minor children.

While we have appreciated the guidelines and updates put out by the Department of Corrections, reports from inmates and loved ones seemingly contradict some of this information.

On March 23, 2020 we sent the email shown in black below to DOC Commissioner Helen Hanks to ask about some of these.  To date, we have not received a reply.

If you have any information about the issues stated below or any other concerns please let us know and please consider calling Commissioner Hanks and/or the Warden of the specific facility where your loved resides. You will find those addresses and phone numbers here and on  the DOC website.
Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform
Dr. Robert Paradise, Ph.D.
PO Box 3942
Concord, NH 03302

March 23, 2020
Ms. Helen Hanks, Warden
Department of Corrections
PO Box 1806
Concord NH 03302-1806
Dear Commissioner Hanks,
We trust that his email finds you and yours healthy and safe amidst these uncertain and dangerous days of the COVID virus outbreak.
We have some four hundred members many of whom have a loved one or friend incarcerated.  We have received several concerns from those members residing in our New Hampshire prison facilities.  
Many say they have read the helpful updates put out by NH DOC over your response and plan regarding potential COVID19. However, the inmate families are telling us that what their loved ones are telling them does not match what is being publicized. 
One mother’s son is located at the transition work center. As of Thursday March 19, he reports that there is not a directive from CO's or any other staff regarding cleaning or sanitizing.  Further they have stated they have not been given cleaning supplies, bleach or wipes of any kind.
Others indicate they have not witnessed any correctional officers passing out cleaning or disinfecting supplies and on Tuesday night (3/17) the shared bathroom on the south wing didn’t even have soap.
Another reported that an eight man room in the north wing is being transferred into a quarantine room. While having a designated room is a good idea the bathrooms and showers are still shared common areas. The expressed concern is that they are not being properly treated or even stocked with soap or disinfectant.
Understandably families and inmates are concerned.  The concern increases for those men and women who have preexisting or underlying health issues and living in these close facilities where the virus could spread more easily.  
These are difficult times but we would appreciate an update addressing the above concerns and any further information on what the DOC is doing to safeguard the staff and inmate population.
With appreciation,
Dr. Bob
Robert Paradise, Ph.D.
NARSOL Calls for An End to In-person Sex Offender Registration

Nation’s largest sex offender rights organization cites concerns over virus.
Along with the concern for our prison population we have some serious concerns about the mandatory requirement for people on the sex offender registry to continue in-person check-ins during this pandemic. Many registrants are required to go to a local police station to verify their home address and other information has not changed. During these dangerous times a phone call could be used.
As stated in a letter (below in black) we sent to Governor Sununu and Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn  we are requesting that New Hampshire temporarily suspended this in person check-in requirement especially while our Governor Sununu has just issued a stay-at-home order effective through May 4, 2020.  
NH Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform and the civil rights organization National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws believes it’s unwise to unnecessarily put people in harm’s way during these uncertain and dangerous times of COVID-19.  Many states including our own have suspended school, requested that restaurants, stores and other non essential business close.   All NH residents are hunkered down and told not to go out in public unless absolutely necessary. 
The civil rights organization calls on responsible state officials and local law enforcement agencies to suspend in-person check-in requirements for people who are on a sexual offense registry anywhere in the nation. NARSOL believes it’s unreasonable to put people in harm’s way unnecessarily, including government and law enforcement employees as well as registrants and their family members and loved ones.
We will let our membership know as soon as we receive a response from Governor Sununu and Commissioner Quinn.
Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform
Dr. Robert Paradise, Ph.D.
PO Box 3942
Concord, NH 03302

March 26, 2020

NH Department of Safety
Robert L. Quinn, Commissioner
33 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305

Dear Commissioner Quinn,
NH Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform and the national civil rights organization National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws believes it’s unwise to unnecessarily put people in harm’s way during these uncertain and dangerous times of COVID 19.  Many states including our own have suspended school, requested that restaurants, stores and other non essential business close.  In fact, Governor Sununu has just issued a stay-at-home order effective through May 4th which could also increase if things do not improve.  All NH residents are hunkered down and told not to go out in public unless absolutely necessary.  
People are scared and taking all kinds of precautions to comply with social isolation in order to slow down the spread of the Corona virus.  
In accordance with these safeguards we are requesting that all in-person sex offender check-ins be temporarily suspended.
We have received concerned calls from registrants who are senior citizens and others who are younger but suffer from a variety of health issues any one of which puts them at increased risk of contracting or even dying from the COVID-19.  These registered citizens are concerned that they will be exposed by leaving their homes and going into police stations.  As you know many registrants live with children or senior parents, so the concern is not only for themselves but their families.  There should also be a concern for government and law enforcement employees as well.   
We are calling on responsible state officials and local law enforcement agencies to suspend in-person check-in requirements for people who are on a sexual offense registry in New Hampshire.  
Not only are many registered individuals in the high risk group of senior citizens but even some younger registrants suffer from a variety of health issues, any one of which puts them at increased risk of dying from the virus should they contract it.  
If infected these registered men and women also run the risk of spreading the virus to their families and other innocent individuals.  In our state and across our nation people are under self quarantine and most families are isolating from the general public.   This is no time to allow anyone to take health risks that are not absolutely essential.
While I do not have the NH reporting statistics NARSOL reports that nationally over 90% of registrants are in compliance at any given time and in many locations virtually 100% are compliant and have been for years.   “Verifying this information year after year is busy work at best, and for those who are not in compliance, studies have determined that they are at no greater risk of reoffense than those who are,” said Sandy Rozek, NARSOL’s communications director.
Brenda Jones, NARSOL’s executive director recently stated “There are other options,” “Verification can be done by telephone; it can be done by postal card; it can be done electronically, and for those who are banned from electronic usage, this would be an equally good time to suspend a ban that serves little to no public service benefit.
As it now stands, every state and often individual counties are making their own rules on this issue, and many are making it up as they go,” continued Jones.  CCJR is requesting that a decision is made by the governor and/or Dept of Safety so there is a standardized approach and directive for registrants in New Hampshire. 
The health of those who meet with registrants is also of vital importance; these individuals are crucial to the safety of all citizens and also must not be put at risk in this manner. If employers across the nations are safeguarding the health of their employees to the extent that they are requiring them to stay at home, can our state and the employees of law enforcement and other government workers, do less?
We humbly request that you suspend all required in-person check-in verifications for those on sexual offender registry until the health issue has subsided and/or Governor Sununu lifts the stay at home request and businesses, schools and agencies are reopened.
Sincerely yours,
Robert Paradise, Ph.D.
Chris Sununu, Governor of New Hampshire
State House
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
This is usually a very busy time for CCJR as we monitor and attend new legislative bills at the state house.  We speak with legislators, attend hearings and testify for or against new laws.  

STATE HOUSE ANNOUNCEMENT:  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution the General Court has suspended all legislative activities through May 4th. During this time, the State House will be closed to legislative members, legislative staff, and visitors.

When the Governor lifts the stay at home order we expect the state House will pick up their legislative session and we could use help in research and tracking bills, attending hearings etc.   

Volunteers needed for Committees and for our Executive Board - Scroll down to the Help Wanted Volunteer Positions and click the link for more information.

Helping Inmates During the Pandemic

We were contacted by a group of caring individuals who are working to raise money (in their personal time) for people incarcerated in NH's jails and prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to pass along this information.  Additionally I will be asking our board to send them a donation to help with this worthwhile effort.

You can use  this form to send them an inmate's information.  Please remember the goal is to help those inmates with little to no outside support who have very little in the way of canteen (commissary) cash.

Here is their Notice:
"We recognize that incarcerated people are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and that the nature of incarceration makes it difficult or impossible to take basic precautions against the pandemic, such as frequent hand-washing and social-distancing. We hope that access to commissary supplies like soap, other hygienic products, and food (so that people can avoid congregating in mealtimes) will help stem the spread of the virus behind the walls. At bare minimum, we hope that it will give people in New Hampshire's jails and prisons more of a sense of agency and support during this frightening time."
"We will apply the money that we raise directly to the commissary accounts of people who are incarcerated in New Hampshire’s jails and prisons. We are focusing initial efforts on people who are particularly at risk of contracting COVID-19—people over the age of 50but aim to reach as many people as possible in the coming weeks. We are starting by contacting all of the jails in NH to get access to their lists of incarcerated people. We have already identified 50 people in this category and are in the process of sending those people our donations. We will also send letters to everyone who receives funds explaining their purpose."
"We are reaching out to organizations like yours throughout NH in the hopes that you will help us spread the word. We are also hoping to reach the loved ones and community members of incarcerated people so that they can send us names of people who might need help through this form."

Update from the group:
"As of now, we have identified close to 50 people who are over 50 in Belknap County and the State prison. We are starting with those donations because Belknap's list of incarcerated people is public and it is possible to search for names of people on NHSP's website. We are donating $30 to each person so far, just in the interest of contributing to as many people as possible. I am in the process of obtaining lists of incarcerated people from the other jails in NH and will donate to those individuals next. We have raised enough so far to donate that amount to a little over 100 people."

The Latest Virus Information from WMUR

More than 150 Granite Staters have tested positive for coronavirus disease COVID-19, which was first detected in Wuhan City, China.

New Hampshire data:

  • Number of positive COVID-19 tests: 214
  • Number of deaths attributed to COVID-19: 2
  • Number of hospitalizations: 33
  • Number of pending COVID-19 tests: at least 285
  • Number of negative COVID-19 tests: at least 4,524
  • Number of people being monitored: 925 (approximate number)

In New Hampshire**

Around the United States:
More than one-third of U.S. cases of the coronavirus are in New York, where a partial lockdown has been in effect for a week. The healthcare system there is already overwhelmed. The rate of new cases may be slowing, but the governor says it may take 21 days for the state to hit its peak.
Areas around Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans are emerging as coronavirus hot spots. Illinois has more than 2,500 reported cases. Michigan’s roughly 3,000 cases are nearly a tenfold increase from March 19. And earlier this week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said cases in the state were growing faster than anywhere in the world.

Here’s what else you need to know about COVID-19 around the world:

  • In the U.S., there are more than 105,000 cases, surpassing the number of cases in any other country.
  • Globally, the number of cases has surpassed 621,000 with more than 28,600 deaths.
  • President Trump signed a historic $2 trillion aid package late Friday, hoping to curb COVID-19’s economic impact.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved a portable coronavirus test from healthcare giant Abbott that gives results in minutes.
For Updated Information in New Hampshire:  LINK


Officials said symptoms might appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

According to the CDC, emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face


The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, officials said.

Here are ways to protect yourself:

  • Frequent hand-washing with soap and water (or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact through social distancing (at least 6 feet from someone)


There are steps that can be taken to avoid spreading coronavirus:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes and then washing hands afterward
  • Stay home and avoid public places when sick
  • Avoid being within 6 feet of a person when sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Avoid sharing drinks, smoking/vaping devices or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva

"If anybody is sick, we encourage them to call ahead to their health care providers to talk about their symptoms and any potential travel," New Hampshire State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said.


The following locations, dates and times indicate when and where people were potential exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who spent time in these locations and develops symptoms like fever and respiratory issues is encouraged to call their health care provider immediately. Anyone without a health care provider can contact DHHS at 603-271-4496.

Honey Dew Donuts in Salem (March 17-19)

Health officials said someone with COVID-19 was at the Honey Dew Donuts location on South Broadway in Salem during the following dates and times:

  • March 17 -- 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • March 18 -- 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • March 19 -- 5 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Coe-Brown Academy (March 14)

A person with COVID-19 attended an event that began at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at the Garrish Gym at Coe-Brown Academy in Northwood. The risk of exposure applies only to this specific event and not to anyone who attended the school or other school activities, officials said.

Concord Coach Lines buses (March 11, 13, 14 and 16)

A person with COVID-19 rode on the following buses, officials said:

  • March 11 -- 3:15 a.m. bus from Concord, NH – Boston Express Londonderry – South Station – Boston Logan Airport
  • March 13 -- 5:40 p.m. bus from Boston Logan Airport – South Station – Concord, NH – Tilton – Plymouth – Lincoln – Littleton
  • March 14 -- 5 a.m. bus from Concord, NH – Boston Express Londonderry – Boston Express Salem – South Station – Boston Logan Airport
  • March 16 -- 1:40 p.m. bus from Boston Logan Airport – South Station – Concord, NH

DMV location in Manchester (March 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10)

Health officials said that a person with COVID-19 was at the Manchester Division of Motor Vehicles location at 377 South Willow Street on the following days:

  • March 2 -- from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • March 3 -- from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • March 4 -- from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • March 5 -- from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • March 10 -- from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Donate Now
Did you know that everyone in our organization is a volunteer?  No one receives a salary or compensation of any kind.  In fact, our only source of funding is from membership payments and donations. We understand that these are difficult times and a lot of people are struggling financially right now.  However, if you are financially able please support CCJR-NH and help us as we continue to advocate for a system of justice that protects the community while promoting the rehabilitation of offenders and the well-being of inmate families.  We need your help!

April 2020 - We are always looking for volunteers to serve on the board or any of  our various committees. Please click the purple icon to learn more about open positions.  Click the blue Become a CCJR Volunteer icon below to email questions and/or volunteer.

We have a website page devoted to inmate stories from one or more authors about their experiences pre and post incarceration. While we are eager to provide this forum, the views and opinions expressed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of CCJR. We hope that you will enjoy "Notes from the Land of Oz."   

Why Oz?
The Wizard of Oz, was notable for popularizing the phrase: "There's no place like home"; in contrast Oz ”, an HBO dramatic television series about Oswald State Penitentiary used the tagline: "It's no place like home".  Like Oz, a tornado effect comes into the convicted person's life and deposits them into another world that is a parody of the real one. While there you long for home and it seems like there is little rationality to how you get back there - ruby slippers, indeed!

Click here for "Notes from the Land of Oz"

Help make a difference.
Become a member of CCJR-NH. 
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When you join CCJR-NH you support the important work that we do and we keep you updated with newsletters and emails. You will also receive Action Alerts and updates on pending legislation and CCJR-NH campaigns on the local and national level. Your annual membership payment is vital to the ongoing work and effort of Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform.

Membership categories (other than Life-Time) are good for one year and are renewable annually. (Membership status is considered inactive without the payment of annual dues.)

NOTE: Membership lists are held strictly confidential and are tax-deductible.

Renew Your Membership Now Click here
With almost 400 members it is an overwhelming task to contact each and every member on their annual renewal date.  To simplify the membership fee system the board voted on March 28, 2017 to implement a new policy.  We are asking every member “to submit their annual membership fee between January 1st and March 31st in order to maintain active member status.  Since we are beyond the renewal window this year we are asking all of our members to send in their renewal fee now.  Please take care of this as soon as possible.

Membership dues and generous donations allow our volunteers to continue the important work of criminal justice reform in New Hampshire. To renew your membership click on the icon above and choose the category that applies, Individual, Prisoner, Family or Organization.  In the "Tell Us Where you Heard Us" block, please mention that you are renewing your membership.

Did you know that for a one time gift of $100.00 you can become part of the Life-Time Membership Club?

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