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For Immediate Release

January 21, 2004

Contact: Jeff Lyons
Public Information Officer
Phone: 603-271-5602

NH-DOC TO ADDRESS CONCERNS OF FEMALE OFFENDERS AND IMPROVE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

(Concord, NH) Mrs. Les. S. Dolecal, Acting-Commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, announced temporary personnel changes that are geared to a thorough overhaul of the inmate classification system and programs for female offenders. Warden Richard M. Gerry of the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown will become a liaison between NH-DOC and the state leadership on a study of issues pertaining to female offenders as well as accepting some agency-wide operational responsibilities. Deputy Warden Greg Crompton of the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord will oversee the voluminous classification project.

The classification system drives much of prison management. It guides how inmates are assigned to housing units, treatment programs, custody levels, and work assignments. The state-sentenced female offender population continues to grow and NH-DOC must develop a thoughtful plan for the future, which will include treatment programs and meaningful training opportunities.

Acting Commissioner Dolecal said, "We realize that times are changing and will continue to change. We cannot continue to do things the way we've always done them and expect to meet our responsibility."

"If the department is to successfully move forward, we need to influence and direct the steps that we take," Acting Commissioner Dolecal added.

The current classification system has been in place for fifteen years. The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a bill to study the needs of female offenders.

Warden Gerry will continue to have ultimate responsibility for the women's prison but he will be relocated to NH-DOC headquarters in Concord. Major Ross Cunningham of the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin will be Goffstown's interim on-site operations manager. In Deputy Warden Crompton's absence, Assistant Director of the Division of Field Services Michael McAllister will be temporarily reassigned as Deputy Warden at the Concord facility.

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