Commissioner Briefs Legislative Committees on Corrections Issues
(Concord, NH) New Hampshire Department of Corrections Commissioner William L. Wrenn briefed a joint session of the New Hampshire House Finance and Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committees on recent department activity and outlined some goals for the future.
Commissioner Wrenn said the department faces many challenges in the area of sentencing, alternative sentencing, mental health, and female housing issues.
“The state needs to review its sentencing processes and determine whether we are being smart on crime. We need to take a hard look at these issues,” the Commissioner said.
“We would like to see a complete review of the sentencing and criminal statutes to see if what we set thirty years ago were what we wanted to do today,” Commissioner Wrenn said.
He announced that there had been great strides in the mental health treatment for inmates and the management of psychotropic medication. A new automatic medical system was implemented that provides medication on a short-term basis, which results in savings in the pharmaceutical costs. A new fulltime psychologist has been assigned to provide services to female offenders who have not had the same kind of access to these services as male offenders.
Commissioner Wrenn reiterated the need to build a new women’s prison because the population continues to grow. “The construction of a women’s prison is the department’s number one priority in our capital budget request.”
The Commissioner also told the committees that he is working with New Hampshire Correctional Industries Administrator Fred Nichols to put together a more viable business plan that could expand these programs and potentially increase profitability.