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Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform

                         News Alert
           Important State House Hearing
                     February 7, 2018
                     on our bill SB-393      
News Alert                                                                  February 1, 2018
You can help force the Department of Corrections to get its rules okayed by lawmakers.
Please show up for a crucial State House hearing next week on a bill written by Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform. SB-393 would make the Department of Corrections get all of its administrative rules approved by lawmakers. The testimony on the bill starts at 9:20 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House. 
Rules are basically laws written by a state agency. Those rules allow the agency to do what it wants to do. Corrections have been voluntarily submitting some of its rules to lawmakers, but it has done many things without that oversight. It ran the sex offender treatment program for years very badly without any rules. 
Only one other state agency is exempt from the rules approval process, the Parole Board. More than a hundred other departments, including Health and Human Services and the Insurance Department, must go through a withering scrutiny to get every rule approved by lawmakers. We need you to attend the hearing for SB-393 next Wednesday to show senators that prison reformers, wives, parents, volunteers, and parolees care very much how the prisons operate. 
SB 373 is identical to our HB 192 last year, a bill the House retained in committee to make sure the Department of Corrections submits its proposed rules to the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR). That process has already started. 
The Corrections Department heard comments on those draft rules Jan. 12. If you want to read them I can send you a link to four documents on line totaling more than a hundred pages. Below is my written testimony from the first rules hearing in January.  The big issue is probably the sex offender treatment program, which ran poorly for many years without any official rules. 
Later this winter we hope a small army of prison reformers will show up for the State House hearings on those rules. The earliest possible date is Feb. 16, but they will probably start in March. We will alert you as soon as we have a firm date. 
But the immediate battle is over SB-373. You can and must tell lawmakers why you want to rein in the Department of Corrections. The people who jail lawbreakers should publish all of their rules, get them all approved by lawmakers, and let the legislature take a hard look at them. 

Please let us know if you can attend the hearing.

Please direct any questions to Chris Dornin, Legislative Policy Chairman for Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform, -
Comments on the draft administrative rules for Corrections

The Department of Corrections is currently enforcing an 11-page policy for the sex offender treatment program, but that policy sunsets in 2019. The two-page proposed rule for the same program will have force for many years, if ratified this spring by the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. The draft rulemaking should include the 11-page existing policy on the sex offender program in order to let lawmakers approve, reject or amend it.
That policy needs major changes in light of the scathing review the sex offender treatment program received in its 2016 performance audit. We suggest offering sex offender treatment to inmates at the start of their prison bids when it would do them the most good. They should continue in staff-led or even peer-led support groups during their incarceration. Inmates should not miss leaving at their minimum sentences for failure to pass a program they can’t begin  on time. Offering these two programs inside the walls would safely replace the community-based sex offender treatment program. It is wrong to make prisoners wait many years to start treatment that would be far more effective during the initial shock of imprisonment. 
Both the proposed rule and the sex offender program in the existing policy fail to mention the onerous lie detector test that only sex offenders are required to pass before they make parole. We recommend you abolish the lie detector test, because it is unscientific. The procedure is inadmissible in court, and it should be inadmissible inside the walls. We also question whether competent staff are conducting the test, if it is ever valid.
We recommend you abolish the Administrative Review Committee as well. The performance audit confirmed what inmates were telling Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform. That sex offenders had only one parole board, the Administrative Review Committee. There was no description of the ARC in policy, the inmates never went before it, they never read its decisions, they had no way of challenging those outcomes, and those decisions automatically became the decisions of the Parole Board. The Parole Board never received the information it needed to make its own fair and independent decisions. The ARC, together with the badly managed sex offender treatment program, have profoundly harmed hundreds of prisoners. 
We strongly oppose housing women in the men’s prison, but the state has for many years placed them with level five male inmates in arguably the most dangerous unit, the men’s psychiatric unit. The Department of Corrections should publish its own rules to support this dubious practice instead of relying on the Division of Mental Health rules. Perhaps the new women’s prison will have a place for these women. It would somewhat mitigate the wrong of housing the mentally ill with convicted criminals. At least they would all be women.

By Chris Dornin, CCJR Legislative Policy Chairman,  228-9610,
A Word from our Board Chairman,
Dr. Robert Paradise, P.D.

This is your opportunity to have your voice heard. 

If you have an incarcerated loved one or friend you may be aware of real or perceived injustices that have occurred behind the old prison walls in Concord. Over the last couple of years we uncovered numerous complaints and serious issues, especially within the (ISOT) Intensive Sex Offender Treatment Program and or Parole Department.   

Those situations not only resulted in about 200 inmates not receiving the help they need in a timely or effective manner, but prevented them from reuniting with their loved ones at the earliest possible parole date. 

Keeping inmates incarcerated beyond their minimum parole date (through no fault of their own), is a huge financial cost to the state.  Not honoring an official plea bargain ratified by a Court of Law is even more serious.  

Back in July of 2015, Attorney Mary Ann Dempsey, who was serving as Governor Maggie Hassan's Legal Counsel agreed with me that failure to honor a plea bargain is a breech of trust and simply should not happen.

Most everyone convicted of a crime is eventually released.  That being said, it is in the public's best interest to see that rehabilitative programs and science based therapy is afforded to every inmate who takes responsibility for their actions and who exhibits a desire to change.  

Therapeutic programs should be grounded in evidence based practices, and run by qualified therapists who believe that people can and do change. The DOC should do all they can to provide the best practices of therapy and recovery while a person is incarcerated.
Within that context, policymakers should recognize that even modest reductions in recidivism achieved through treatment and other programs can translate into fewer victims, reductions in individual and community harm, and provide a positive return on taxpayer investment by ensuring that all inmates are released at the earliest parole date possible.

It is time to bring the practices and policies of the DOC into the light by having all Department of Correction rules vetted and approved by the officials we elected. SB-393 would do just that. 

How you can help: It is imperative that we have a strong showing at the February 7th State House Hearing. Numbers make a difference to politicians.

We have worked long and hard to expose many unfair practices behind our state prison walls.  We need your help now.  Can we count on you? 

We Need Help Now
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February 2018 - We are actively seeking at least two additional board members. Please click the purple icon to learn more about the open position.  Click the blue Become a CCJR Volunteer icon below to email questions and/or volunteer.

There are also positions open in the following committees: Membership, Financial and Fundraising, Social Planning & Events, Editorial and Public Relations. Some of these positions are posted now, others will be soon.

Due to computer issues we loss some important emails.  If you recently contacted us about volunteering please resend that email

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