bail reform

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NHPR has been looking at criminal justice reform in New Hampshire and its effect on policing across the state.

Bail reform went into effect in New Hampshire in September. Since then, many police officials have been frustrated causing tension between law enforcement and reform advocates. This led lawmakers to revisit the issue with a new bill, SB 314.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, the sponsor of that bill.

Emily Corwin/NHPR

NHPR’s Morning Edition been taking a look at criminal justice reform in New Hampshire and its effect on policing across the state.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed SB 556 last summer that brought big changes to New Hampshire’s bail system, but leaders in law enforcement say those changes are making their jobs more difficult.

NHPR File Photo

 

A commission of criminal justice experts convened by lawmakers has issued its recommendations for how New Hampshire should implement bail reform.

Among other things, it recommends that the courts keep track of whether defendants commit new offenses while out on bail; that the state pay bail commissioner fees if the defendant is indigent; that victims generally not be required to testify at a bail hearing; and that the state adopt a text messaging system to remind defendants about their court date.

Emily Corwin for NHPR

A commission convened by lawmakers will issue recommendations on Wednesday for how New Hampshire courts should treat defendants before trial.

The group - made up of lawmakers, police, and legal professionals - began meeting after the passage of a bail reform bill this summer.

That bill - SB 556 - eliminated cash bail for most defendants.

It also called for a commission that would develop a new system for judges to set bail and keep a defendant in jail when necessary.

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

A new bail reform law designed to prevent poor people from sitting in jail for not being able to post bail is now being implemented in New Hampshire courts.

Some county attorneys and others in law enforcement were skeptical of the new law, Senate Bill 556, and now some are saying the roll-out has been rocky.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway about how the bill is affecting her office. Listen to the interview here.

Emily Corwin for NHPR

Negotiators have reached agreement on a proposal to eliminate cash bail for most New Hampshire offenders. The plan won strong support from lawmakers but was reworked to address concerns of prosecutors and police.

Senate Bill 556 aimed to eliminate cash bail for people charged with misdemeanors so long as a judge ruled them not dangerous. In its current form, the elimination of bail with cash or conditions would only apply to Class B misdemeanors, crimes which carry no jail time.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Michael Treadwell sat at the back of a courtroom.  In a windbreaker and khaki pants, he leaned over his work boots, elbows on his knees. At first, I thought he was chewing gum – a bold choice in a courtroom.  When we began to talk, I discovered it wasn't gum Michael was chewing.  It was his own gums. Michael doesn't have any teeth.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Chris Webber was in jail on a couple hundred dollars cash bail the day his daughter was born. He wasn't there because of his trespassing and resisting arrest convictions. He was there because he misses court dates, and he's poor.