Concord tries to drive its demons out of town

Concord tries to drive its demons out of town
Dear friends of smarter crimal policies:
The City of Concord, historically one of the most progressive places in the state, is on a course to drive out its homeless people and many others at grave risk because of their criminal records or mental health issues. At the hub of the crisis is RRT Associates, a counseling center that treats folks who have been victimized and also serves the perpetrators of such abuse. Below is an op ed by CCJR board member Tom Adams running in today’s Concord Monitor that will catch you up on the issue.
If you would like to be heard, this email also gives you contact information for city councilors and zoning board members. This is your fight even if you do not live in Concord. The larger panic has swept Chichester, New Hampton, Franklin, Dover, Nashua, Tilton, Sanbornton, Northfield, Manchester, Derry, Londonderry, Pembroke, Hooksett and many other New Hampshire towns in the last several years. Maybe it’s something post 9/11, post Cold War, post Boston Marathon the whole country is responding to. Whatever the root of it, the hysteria is real. We are running out of time to slow it. RTT and its clients badly need your help.
I have learned that RTT plans to appeal the adverse ruling, so the ZBA will have to weigh in. You might ask to have your comments entered as written testimony if and when the matter comes up for formal review. You could also ask that it be included in the public file for RTT. The reporters pore through it every few days.
City officials should care about the unintended (or maybe intended) consequence of sending 100 sex offenders back to prison for violating their parole condition of taking a sex offender program in the community. That’s what might happen if RTT closes or scales back its operations to just its Manchester office.
The city council has no authority to overturn a zoning decision, but the issue is front and center on the long term council agenda to create a just and safe Concord for all. Until now this city has been a role model to others that have chosen to drive out the problem and feel good about doing that. The state capital is maybe our last defense line.
Chris Dornin, founder, Citizens for Criminal JustIce Reform
(603) 620-7946