criminal justice reform | New Hampshire Public Radio

criminal justice reform

A police officer walks through the woods in Claremont, New Hampshire
Elijah Nouvelage

Gov. Chris Sununu put into motion a set of 20 recommended changes to law enforcement in New Hampshire Wednesday – including, for the first time, a directive that New Hampshire State Police use body cameras.

In N.H., County Prosecutors Wield Power, But Often Run Unopposed

Jul 28, 2020
Michael Moore / Keene Sentinel

They’re among the most powerful actors in New Hampshire’s criminal justice system, deciding which charges to file, making bail recommendations and shaping the plea negotiations that determine the sentences in most criminal cases.

And in much of the state, they’re running unopposed.

In seven of the state’s 10 counties, the incumbent county attorney — the chief local prosecutor, what other states call a district attorney — has not drawn a challenger this year.

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Around midnight on a Saturday, Thomas Hurd fell asleep at the bar of a Chinese restaurant in Farmington, New Hampshire. 

The bartender, suspecting Hurd was drunk when he got there, asked him to leave. According to police reports, Hurd instead began smashing plates and flipping tables. 

Calls to defund police departments are a growing part of American political discourse.

Demonstrators protesting decades of police violence against Black Americans in cities across the country have argued that some or all of the tax dollars that currently fund police departments should be instead rerouted to other social services.

JOE GRATZ / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

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.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Tobias Tarr spent the afternoon of June 17, 2017 tending to the garden at a homeless shelter in Keene.

That evening, still covered in dirt, Tarr found himself in an awkward situation: a resident of the facility had arrived home drunk and agitated.

“I sat with him on the couch and just calmed him down. He had it in his head that he wanted to beat somebody up upstairs,” says Tarr.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Natacha Davis is juggling a lot these days. She’s living with her mom, raising her three kids, and training to become a recovery coach to help people overcome addiction.

On a recent evening, she was running out the door for an A.A. meeting in Nashua. As she grabbed her keys, she peered into a Puerto Rican plantain stew simmering on the stove.

“Mom is the food done yet?”

“Not yet!” Her mom answered.

“Alright Mom. I love you. I’ll be back,” Davis opened the door. “You heard me? I love you.”

via Facebook

Like many a millennial hired at the dawn of the era of social media, Zachary Byam found himself in charge of creating a Facebook page at his college job.

But his task was unique. Byam worked as a part-time police officer, and he was creating his department's first social media account.