ALERT: State House Hearing April 9, 2015 - SB 53

If you care about prison reform you are urgently needed at a bill hearing Thursday morning, April 9 at 11 a.m. Please testify in favor of a proposed amendment to SB 53 before the House Criminal Justice Committee in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.

In its current form, SB 53 simply adds the warden of the women‘s prison to the high level Interbranch Council on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. But the original bill last December added a former woman offender to the Interbranch Council. There will be a House committee amendment to restore the original goal of the bill: to give former offenders a real and symbolic voice in crime policy discussions. That’s not a new idea. It’s a proven policy.

A woman ex-offender served for years on the soon-to-sunset Interagency Commission on Women Offenders, which has completed its primary goal of funding a new women’s prison. Her suffering and recovery reminded policymakers over and over that the tragically crowded lockup in Goffstown is a warehouse for human beings who deserve better. The proposed amendment to SB 53 would appoint either a male or female former offender to the Interbranch Council.

We at Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform believe there are many people qualified for that important role. One of our former board members now in Connecticut spent three years at the Goffstown prison for women. She spoke for us to civic groups about living in a cell when you have a college degree. 

Two of our current board members bunked together for a year at the Men’s Prison in Concord. One is a former doctor who authored several well argued Supreme Court appeals. The other has a Ph.D in counseling. Folks like them have the knowledge, skill and brains to keep conversations about crime policy real.

The presence of an ex-convict on a blue ribbon crime council would say that New Hampshire can forgive, respect and listen to people who have served some pretty draconian punishments for their mistakes. A few of them will testify at the House public hearing on SB 53. Lawmakers will see they are experts on crime, the law and atonement.

For more information contact Chris Dornin, founder of CCJR, at  or 620-7946.