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New Law on Suspended Sentences Goes Into Effect

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NHPR
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New Hampshire State Prison

A new law takes effect Saturday that changes when people in New Hampshire prisons can apply to suspend part of their sentence.

A new law takes effect Saturday that changes when people in New Hampshire prisons can apply to suspend part of their sentence.

Under current law, people serving sentences of six years or more can have the last third of their time suspended if a judge grants what's called a "motion to suspend."

But they couldn't file that motion until they completed the first two-thirds of their sentence. That left many waiting months for a decision when they were eligible to leave.

The change taking effect Saturday allows incarcerated people to file the motion 12 months before they become eligible.

Chris Slayback is incarcerated at the Men's Prison in Concord and helped craft the changes to the law. He says this law provides some time to prepare for life outside prison.

"Even though it's only 12 months, it gives you enough time to finish your programming, to find your support system, to help you be more successful when you leave."

People serving sentences of less than six years still have to wait until two-thirds of their sentence has elapsed before filing a motion, unless the petition has been authorized by the sentencing court.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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