State Prison

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Incoming mail to New Hampshire prison inmates is getting a closer look after people at other correctional facilities got sick.

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections says it is holding all mail, including packages, for a short time as it implements new safety measures. The move was prompted by reports from Ohio, Arkansas and Pennsylvania about inmates and staff becoming ill after coming into contact with unknown substances.

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

 

New Hampshire's Corrections Department says a federal audit of the men's prison in June concluded the prison met or exceeded all 45 standards required under the law.

The audit included all of the housing, programming and treatment units located on the grounds of the prison.

Standards included security of the physical plant; supervision and monitoring of people in the department's custody; and access to medical and mental health care.

For nearly two decades, the Furniture Masters of New Hampshire have been leading a program at the state men's prison in Concord. They teach a woodworking skill to inmates in the hobby shop, and return a month later to check on the progress.

For some inmates, these workshops have opened the door to mastering the craft of furniture making; and to a changed perspective on the world.

On this week's episode, we hear from these inmates, and from a UNH professor and woodworker wants to bring the same skills to incarcerated women.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

 

A New Hampshire man who fought his incarceration in a prison psychiatric unit is back at home.

Andrew Butler, 21, of Hollis, was committed to the state psychiatric hospital last fall after police found him running in the woods and punching trees. Though he wasn't charged with a crime, he was transferred to the state prison's secure psychiatric unit in January under a policy that allows such moves if someone can't be safely housed at the hospital.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

 

Lawyers for a young New Hampshire man say his incarceration in a prison psychiatric unit violates a law governing emergency medical treatment, but state officials are rebutting that claim.

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A judge has scheduled a trial on a lawsuit filed by The Disabilities Rights Center against New Hampshire corrections officials to obtain records about the death of an inmate with mental illness.

The non-jury trial was scheduled by U.S. District Court Judge Landya McCafferty for March 2019.

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A New Hampshire state prison center that serves families has a new program that provides counseling services to children and incarcerated parents.

Family Ties hopes to strengthen communication among families to increase emotional support and practice coping skills for the child and caregiver. Both will meet with family therapists and the incarcerated parent will participate via the internet or televisiting.

Studies show that many children are traumatized by the loss of a parent to prison.

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New Hampshire prison officials have begun providing records to a disabilities rights organizations investigating suspected abuse or neglect in the death of an inmate with mental illness.

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Late last year, a 34-year-old man died alone in his cell at the state prison for men in Concord. He was in the prison's residential treatment unit, which houses inmates with a mental illness who are unable to function in the general inmate population. Now the Disability Rights Center New Hampshire has filed a lawsuit in federal court trying to get access to Phillip Borcuk's records and documents related to the investigation into his death. 

DRC staff attorney Andrew Milne joins Peter Biello to talk about the case. 

Sununu Seeks to Hire From Within for Corrections Chief

Oct 25, 2017
FILE

Governor Chris Sununu Wednesday nominated the No. 2 person at the state Department of Corrections to run the agency.

But the nominee still has to get approved by the Executive Council.