In 2009, New Hampshire’s incarcerated population reached 2,731 people, a 21 percent increase since 2000. Data analysis of the state’s corrections system identified three key drivers responsible for prison population growth: increased recidivism rates for people on parole, inefficiencies in the parole process, and limited community-based behavioral health resources. From 2009 to 2010, the CSG Justice Center worked with New Hampshire state leaders to solve these challenges.
Passed in 2010, Senate Bill 500 addressed these issues by establishing a 90-day recommitment period for technical violations; requiring parole for people convicted of nonviolent, property, and drug offenses who had served 120 percent of their minimum sentence; and mandating presumptive parole 9 months before most people reached their maximum term of sentence. To that end, New Hampshire implemented several changes to policy and practice.1
New Hampshire’s prison population initially decreased 12 percent with a savings of $225,000 during the first year of JRI policy implementation, which helped the state achieve its goals of containing prison population growth.2
For more information, see Justice Reinvestment in New Hampshire.
JRI-Driven Policies and Practices
- Revise parole hearings/decision/eligibility standards
- Establish/expand earned discharge (probation/parole)
- Authorize administrative jail sanctions
- Establish mandatory reentry supervision
In early 2022, state leaders in New Hampshire launched a Justice Reinvestment effort for the second time. The focus of this effort is to address people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders who are high utilizers of the public health and safety systems. For the project, CSG Justice Center staff are conducting extensive analysis of case-level data from county jails as well as Medicaid claims data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Examining these data will reveal information about local trends in jail populations, including identification of behavioral health needs, participation in treatment and services within jails, and services accessed by people before and after incarceration. This effort is ongoing.3
Other JRI-Funded Projects
In New Hampshire, individual agencies, in partnership with the CSG Justice Center, participated in the Justice Counts initiative as part of a larger criminal justice effort.
1 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in New Hampshire, New York, NY: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, retrieved May 18, 2023 from https://csgjusticecenter.org/projects/justice-reinvestment/current-states/new-hampshire/.
2 The Urban Institute, Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report, Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, retrieved May 19, 2023 from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/22211/412994-Justice-Reinvestment-Initiative-State-Assessment-Report.PDF.
3 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in New Hampshire.