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Merrimack County Jail Opens New Facility That Offers Drug Treatment

Robert Garrova for NHPR
Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster speaks at the opening of the Edna McKenna Community Corrections Center in Boscawen

The Merrimack County Department of Corrections opened the Edna McKenna Community Corrections Center Monday. It's an almost $7 million renovation and expansion project, re-purposing a 1983-built jail that was left vacant for a decade.


Officials hope the 68-bed site will decrease recidivism rates in the county by offering classes on things like life skills, parenting, and workforce readiness.


But the McKenna facility will also offer drug treatment programs.


Karen Wolivar is Administrator of Programs and Services for the Department of Corrections.


“A lot of people who go to the outside programs either don’t make it to the program because they take a detour along the way or they choose not to stay.” Wolivar said. “Here they don’t have an option, they're here so they can't leave until their sentence is up anyway.”


Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster spoke at the opening and also called attention to what she sees as the benefits of offering treatment programs to inmates.


“You have the opportunity where people are in a position to have the time, have the capacity, be able to receive treatment and it makes all the difference,” Kuster said.


The opening of the McKenna Center comes at a time when drug treatment and recovery centers across the state are facing financial challenges.

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