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Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform

Established January 2010
Newsletter - August 2021

 4 Volume 2,  Number                               

You are invited to attend a ZOOM Meeting with
Mike MacFadzen, Executive Director
NH Belknap County Restorative Justice Program
September 21, 2021

Restorative Justice works on the principal that the effects of crime are best addressed by involving the offender, the victim, and the community in repairing the damage caused by the offense. 

Restorative seeks to repair the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational.  It emphasizes accountability, making amends, and — if they are interested — facilitated meetings between victims, offenders, and other persons.

In the midst of a renewed national conversation about criminal justice reforms, CCJR and other advocates believe communities should employ more restorative justice practices — "the practice of addressing the harm caused by crime rather than viewing incarceration as the only solution—as an alternative to other more punitive processes." Source

Did you know that NH law has a provision for Restorative Justice programs?  Did you also know that some NH County jails do use Restorative Justice Programs? Come and listen what Belknap County is doing and learn how you might help advocate for more restorative justice programs in our State.

Registration is Required -

ZOOM Presentation on Restorative Justice in NH
Hosted by NH Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform
with Mike MacFadzen, Executive Director of
NH Belknap County Restorative Justice Programs
WHEN: September 21, 2021 @ 7:00 PM Eastern Time
If interested in attending, please send your name, email to: and you will receive information on how to register for this free presentation.

The Belknap County Restorative Justice program goals are to:

1) Encourage a sense of responsibility and accountability on the part of the offender for their illegal acts,
2) Save the county money/resources by minimizing the offender’s involvement into the justice system,
3) Help build stronger communities by leading in the effort to address the needs of crime victims and community reparation, and
4) Provide appropriate education to reduce the amount of re-offending (recidivism).


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This letter will serve as my annual report on the organization.

There is no denying that all of us have faced numerous challenges in the last year.   Family, businesses, schools, and most every aspect of our personal lives have been affected in some way. 
The virus has killed more than 619,000 people in the US and left millions more to deal with economic turmoil.

Although we have made progress and have turned the corner in many ways, life in New Hampshire and around the world has not completely returned to “normal.”  There is talk now and fear that we may even be going backwards as COVID maybe surging and continues to affect every aspect of our lives.

We all have stories about the effects of the pandemic in our lives.  These effects have also touched non-profits like Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform.  As an organization we have struggled with pandemic-related challenges financially and operationally.

During tirst few months of the COVID shutdown we were paralyzed and like so many other businesses and volunteer groups nothing was happening. We lost volunteers and more importantly momentum. Even our Statehouse was shut down so legislation and advocacy also came to a halt.

It is has now been about 18 months since we have met in person as a board. Initially, our Articles of Incorporation and By-laws only allowed in-person meetings.  As the pandemic and shutdown continued we did rewrite our organization by-laws to allow meeting and voting via zoom; we hold regular Zoom calls now.

A small handful of us started CCJR just over ten years ago.  In that time we have been involved in numerous battles and efforts to bring positive change to the NH legal and prison system. While we have seen many great successes the need was always greater than the amount of time and people we had to invest. 

Like me, some of our dedicated volunteers have been doing this the entire ten years and honestly we are tired. As an organization we must take an honest look at how we  move forward in year eleven.  We are definitely at a critical juncture where we need to reorganize and revitalize, or perhaps the juncture we now face has led us to the terminus point in our organization. So the question we face Is CCJR worth saving?

What is the alterna
tive?  Who will stand in the gap if CCJR ends?  Who will NH inmates and their families turn to when injustices and/or abuses occur within the system? 

Without CCJR who would have been there to help muster strong opposition to a bill in 2011 that would have shipped 600 NH inmates out of state to the lowest bidder to help balance the budget. We quickly acted and at our behest some forty people from the "Families Now Involved" support group for inmates showed up and explained to lawmakers how they could never travel to Kentucky or Arizona to stay in touch with loved ones. They described the pain and harm that would cause to their families. We explained that family support is one of the best deterrents to re-offending. That bill was defeated.

Our organization also helped stop NH from prioritizing our prison system.  Our fledgling alliance met almost weekly for a year to keep the state from accepting one of the four ensuing bids to privatize the New Hampshire prison system. A horrible idea.  The coalition became an informal organization called Prison Watch, complete with a savvy website and a public information campaign built around seven showings of the film “Billions Behind Bars,” a scathing documentary on prison profiteering.

The alliance went on to sponsor a bill to stop private prisons in NH, House Bill 443, which prevailed by a vote of 197-136 on the House floor March 21, 2013. A related bill strongly backed by the same coalition.

We were also instrumental in the planning of the new women’s prison and former board member, and ex inmate, Becky McGuire spoke to the state leadership about the need for specific programming that deals with women’s issues.

If our organization was not there who would the more than 150 inmates (who contacted us back in 2015) tell about issues and problems within the therapeutic program at the prison. Our advocacy helped bring about a state audit of the prison therapy program; needed changes and the dismissal of at least one therapist..

Without CCJR who will stand against or oppose unjust laws proposed by NH politicians running on so called "tough on crime" policies that do more harm than good and do nothing to change lives or lessen the revolving door back to jails and prison?

In 2013, our bill on inmate earned time was passed into law and signed by the governor. This has assisted many inmates in getting out of prison earlier and reunited with their families quicker. This was one of our major accomplishments along with playing an important roll in ending the death penalty in NH. *(The death penalty was abolished in 2019 when the State Senate overrode the governor's veto.)

We fought hard against the NH death penalty.  Several CCJR board members were active supporters of the New Hampshire Coalition Against the Death Penalty.  That issue was one of our top research projects and CCJR is an official and proud organization partner with the Coalition. LINK

We worked hard to successfully address four towns with residency restrictions for former offenders and their families, informing them of the unconstitutional nature of these laws and putting them on notice that they may face a legal suit. Our attorney Mike Sheehan sent the town officials a letter indicating that we were (and are) prepared to take them to court if these practices continued.

We enjoy a respectful and cooperative relationship with the the Department of Corrections and over the years we have met numerous times with DOC officials to discuss inmate issues or ideas for improvement.

I could go on and on with what we have done and tried to do over the last ten years. We have had many important accomplishments. So either our membership and our donors see and appreciate the value of our organization or they do not. We need financial support and we need boots on the ground by way of volunteers.

What happens next?  The facts are simple.  We need additional board members and we need active and committed volunteers who are willing to donate time by serving on one of our committees.

According to our Articles of Incorporation and By-laws we are supposed to have no less than 9 board members and no more than 17.  While we still have 7 voting members and myself as chairman we fall short of the minimum needed. 

Volunteers come and go. 

We look for and ask for a 2 to 3 year commitment.  Over the last 10 years we have seen 19 other people come and go on the board some staying no more than 2 or 3 months.  Some departures were after years of service and some were unpreventable due to life circumstances and other serious personal reasons.  Others were to say the least; disappointing and discouraging.  In hindsight, a few board appointments were simply a mistake.
We desperately need new blood and new energy.  Some of us were able to invest many hours a week in the organization as we started and grew.  Incredible amounts of time. The first few years a couple of us were able to give as much time as a full-time job in the private sector would require.

Due to personal schedules some valued members could only give the 2 hours a week for the board meeting.  Still their input and advice was welcomed and valued and we were and are glad to have them.  Others could give an additional few hours, some gave 2, 5, 10, or as many as 25 - 30 hours a week.  Sometimes that number surplussed those amounts as we created our articles of incorporation, by-laws, job descriptions and designed our letterhead, pamphlets, website and our data programs for membership etc.  That is what it took to get the organization up and running. I actually enjoyed every moment of it. 

I believe that those who have been with the organization now 7, 8, 9 and 10 years are simply weary and tired.  I know I am.  We are still blessed to have some of these people remain and their value now is in their experience and wisdom. We don't want to lose them.  However, we need new volunteers to become the active front line workers. 
Additional Board Members – minimum of 9, Maximum 17. How about you?
Membership Secretary and Committee: We need someone to be an active secretary and we need 2 or 3 active committee members to organize rolls and create membership campaigns to actively seek our new members.   We cannot grow or thrive without this secretary and committee actively working. 

Membership Fees: Did you know that other than Life-Time, membership is renewable annually. We count on each member for their continued support. Because our members all joined on different days and months we sought to simplify the member renewal process.  We asked our membership to please send in their renewal fee at the first of every year.  

At the bottom of this and every newsletter there is a reminder to please send in membership fees each year between January 1 and March 31st.  Maybe ten members out of more than 400 have ever done this and we do not have the time or volunteers to write and send out a renewal letter to each member.

(LPC) Legislative Committee Chairman and Committee Members – We need someone to invest time in tracking NH bills and who is also able to visit the state house (when COVID restrictions allow) calling or meeting with legislators to discuss bills and to represent our organization. This chairperson with an active LPC committee would organize volunteers to attend legislative hearings and possibly speak for or against proposed laws, as well as advocate and seek out sponsors for bills we might write.
Finance and Fund Raising Chairman and Committee Members:  While we have a good cash balance on hand there is no active fund raising taking place which we would need if or when we begin a new active campaign, program or law suit. We do have designated dollars for legal action we have never used graciously given by individuals and organizations.  
Social Media Manager – Someone to contribute time and energy in maintaining CCJR  Facebook and Twitter Pages and possibly our website.  The media manager would keep these sites current with relevant postings. I do try and give some time to FB and our website to post some current information but we need someone dedicated to this task. Our Twitter page has been stagnant since our previous Twitter volunteer and board member resigned. 
Public Relations Chairman or CCJR Spokesman – This has always been a huge need.  A spokesperson's major responsibility is to provide a public voice for an organization whenever needed.  This might be with a business, other non-profits, news outlets  or a state or government agency. Within that role, a spokesperson usually conducts most correspondence with media outlets, such as newspapers and radio stations. A spokesperson may also communicate with members of the public who have questions about an organization.  This person would need to be familiar with CCJR policy and would rely on position papers for their talking points.
Social Planning & Events Chairman and Committee Members –  We saw many positive results from having public annual meetings and social BBQ events.  These types of gatherings helped our members feel part of the organization and fostered a sense of community.  I believe these types of events play an important role.  Nowadays,  with the uncertainties of COVID it does make social planning very difficult and for a while impossible. Hopefully, that will change.
Ad hoc committee on Grant Applications – Currently Inactive.  Writing and applying for grant money.
Ad-hoc Committee on Litigation – Currently Inactive
One of my biggest disappointments is that other than the Amicus brief we filed in support of John Doe v. NH we were never able to go forth with a law suit to help alleviate the burden and unfairness NH registrants endure which was the main reason a few of us started the organization.
Ad-hoc Committee on Sponsoring Movie Events – Inactive
Ad-hoc Committee on Newsletters – I was happy to design our newsletter and volunteered to serve as editor.  Former board member and co-founder Chris Dornin and I wrote the articles.  We have put out several email newsletters and a three US Mail inmate newsletters to a small portion on the prison population.   I know that the inmate newsletter was welcomed and enjoyed by those who received them. We actually received a $500 grant to do that project.  Newsletters require a lot of time and effort and if we continue we really need help to make it a success. 

The above positions are just some of the needs and is an transparent portrayal of the needs we face to keep our organization active.

So do you agree that the criminal justice system needs reform?  Are you a believer in Restorative Justice principle that views people as redeemable? Do you agree that, "Good people do bad things, but people can and do change?"   Have you or a loved one been affected personally by the NH criminal justice system?  Did you find justice and fairness or were there also areas you truly believed were wrong and unjust? Are you someone that believes that change starts with you? 

What can you do?  Good Question.

Honestly, we need help and we need you.  If you are committed to working in an all volunteer organization please reach out and let's see where you might fit in our organization.



New Hampshire COVID-19 updates: Numbers for vaccinations, cases, variants.

New Hampshire Data August 16:

  • Number of people diagnosed with COVID-19: 102,659
  • 7-day total test positivity rate (PCR & antigen): 4.5%
  • Number of deaths attributed to COVID-19: 1,394
  • Number of active cases: 1,513
  • Number of patients who have recovered: 99,752
  • Number of current hospitalizations: 58
  • Total individuals fully vaccinated: 731,326 (53.8% of NH population)
  • Number of B.1.1.7 variant (Alpha; UK) cases: 1,204
  • Number of B.1.351 variant (Beta; South Africa) cases: 1
  • Number of P.1 variant (Gamma; Brazil) cases: 197
  • Number of B.1.617.2 variant (Delta; India) cases: 122
  • Number of MIS-C cases: 1-24 (per CDC)

** Town-by-town COVID-19 case data **

Leaders of New Hampshire's largest teachers union said the organization will support mandatory vaccination requirements for educators.   STORY HERE

COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire have risen to their highest point since early May, state health officials said Monday.  Story

Health officials said there are 1,704 active cases of COVID-19 in the state, the highest total since May 8.

NH Department of Corrections: NHDOC covid video   Length: 02:47


New Hampshire Department of Corrections COVID-19 Residents Testing Information

New Hampshire Department of Corrections
COVID-19 Residents Testing Information


# Residents COVID-19 Tests Administered ****

# Active Residents Positive ******

Total # Residents who have tested positive since March 2020

# COVID-19 Deaths



26 0



134 1



258 2



23 0



19 0
Tests conducted at the request of community healthcare providers before a community healthcare appointment. *****



Resident Total



460 3

Table data updated August 10, 2021 *This data is as of 12:00pm

NHDOC COVID-19 Staff Testing Information
Total Number of NHDOC Staff = 851 as of March 16, 2021

Staff Total

Staff Positive - Total

Staff Positive - Active

-----851----                              189


Donate Now

August 2021 - 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. 
Click here to join.

Yes!! I want to support New Hampshire Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform and become a member today! 

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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