CCJR Members and Friends:
Let’s pack a vital hearing this Friday morning on proposed rules by the Department of Corrections for the prison therapeutic treatment program and the secure psychiatric unit. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Apr. 26 in room 306 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The Golden Dome is across the street. The public hearing should end before noon, and maybe a lot sooner.
What’s at stake? This struggle started four years ago when Bill Wrenn, the former Corrections commissioner, told 50 of our members that only six inmates a year were going past their minimum sentences because of a backlog in the offender treatment program. We worked hard to bring about a performance audit of that program in 2016. It proved what inmates were telling us all along.
We presented lawmakers four pages of anonymous quotes from inmates who were badly harmed by that mismanaged program ultimately causing them to serve much longer sentences then they had too. In actuality, two hundred prisoners had gone past their minimum sentence every year for four years because the program was so badly run. It was costing taxpayers up to $7 million every year.
The DOC has taken steps to correct some of the issues that the 2016 audit uncovered, but there are still improvements to be made.
I’m currently writing testimony for the committee lawyers to pass along to the senators and reps before their meeting. We will post this testimony on our website www.ccjrnh.org. We need your help and support. Please let me know if you can come or contact me with any questions.