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House Hears Bill To Ban Prison Privatization

The bill to ban private prisons comes as the state continues to evaluate bids from private contractors for three potential projects: a 1500 bed facility for men; a 200 bed facility for women and a third co-ed prison.

The lead sponsor of the proposed ban, Keene Democrat Tim Robertson, says NH needs to stay far away from letting for profit companies run NH prisons.

"There is no evidence that they can actually save you money and the incentive is for them to get more money out of us by keeping people in longer and in longer and treating them worse."

But state corrections commissioner Bill Wrenn told lawmakers it would be a big mistake to forbid privatization in all forms.

"These options are an important part of the strategies needed for the management of the over population of our facilities, or in the event of an unexpected emergency."   

Governor Maggie Hassan is on record as opposing letting private companies run NH’s prisons, but has said she’d consider allowing private companies build prisons for the state to operate.  

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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