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How N.H. Handles Juvenile Offenders

Tidewater Muse

New Hampshire has joined forty other states in treating seventeen year old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults. Supporters say this change reflects the latest research on adolescent development. Some worry, though, that this approach is too lenient and that the state isn’t well prepared for this shift. 


  • John Kirkpatrick – criminologist, clinical professor of sociology, and co-director of Justiceworks at UNH.
  • Tom Velardi – Strafford County Attorney


  • Richard Crate – Enfield Police Chief and president of the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Penny Sampson – director of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester


  • Representative Weyler's op-ed on juvenile jurisdiction: "The vast majority of offenses committed by people under 18 are misdemeanors, and if the age is raised, judges will still have the option of transferring any juvenile accused of a felony to adult court. Even 17-year-olds who receive long sentences will eventually be released. The younger the offender, the more important it is that our policies promote rehabilitation. Adult prosecution does the opposite."

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