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The Rules Are Different Here: A Series on New Hampshire's Jails and Prisons

History of Concord, New Hampshire, from the original grant in seventeen hundred and twenty-five to the opening of the twentieth century

What does mass incarceration look like in New Hampshire?

The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. With 22% of the world’s prison population, the U.S. holds 2.3 million people behind bars and an additional 840,000 on parole and 3.7 million under probation, as reported by the Prison Policy Initiative.

While New Hampshire’s crime rate is one of the lowest in the country, the state’s prison population is also one of the nation’s fastest-growing. In 2019, New Hampshire’s criminal justice system faces challenges both unprecedented and perennial: last year, a new women’s prison opened in Concord, the result of twenty five years of gender discrimination lawsuits, but the Department of Corrections continues to struggle to hire enough staff to run the facility, reflecting a shortage of correctional professionals that affects both county jails and the state prisons.


Prisons and jails are on the front lines of the state’s opioid crisis: a majority of the incarcerated population in New Hampshire are dealing with a substance use disorder. The science of addiction treatment has advanced outside of prison, but inside prison, access to those tools is inconsistent and difficult to implement.

This page will continue to be updated as episodes are published.

A Four-Part Series on New Hampshire's Prisons and Jails

Part 1 | Going Inside: An introduction to New Hampshire's justice system.

Part 2 | One Month Out: How do prisons and jails in New Hampshire treat opioid addiction?

Part 3 | An Idle Mind: Was the toy box I bought for my child made ethically? It was made and purchased through the NH-DOC Correctional Industries.

Part 4 | Floorwalkers: What is the ratio of prison guards to prison inmates at the Men's State Prison in Concord?

How We Reported the Series

How did we go about answering our listeners’ questions? Who did we reach out to and interview? How do you make a podcast, from coming up with ideas to publishing episodes?

In this guide, we answer those questions in detail. We think it’s important for listeners to know how we approach our work.

If you have more questions for us, email us at wordofmouth@nhpr.org or fill out the submission form below.




More information about New Hampshire's Correctional System

Explore the Department of Corrections publicly available policies, annual reports, and studies. This 2010 DOC report includes atimeline of New Hampshire's prisons (compiled by the department).

Credit Sara Plourde

NHPR's past reporting on criminal justice in the state, including "A Question of Justice in N.H.'s Biggest Jail", a series on bail, race, and access to mental health and addiction treatment.

Further Reading and Listening Recommendations

Ava Duvernay's 13th
A documentary tracing the history of criminal justice and race in America, from slavery to the War on Drugs and mass incarceration.

Ear Hustle
A podcast made about life in prison, shared and produced by the people who live it. Produced by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin.

Serial Season Three
An extraordinarly investigation into a year of ordinary cases in a Cleveland courthouse. 

Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justicefrom WNYC
The stories of young lives changed by interactions with law and order.

"Why Are There So Many African-Americans Incarcerated in Vermont?" from Brave Little State
Vermont's population is 95.3 percent white, but people of color are disproportionately represented in the state's criminal justice system. Why?

Reply All's two-part series "The Crime Machine" 
The hidden technology (and ideology) behind policing in New York City.

"Counted: An Oakland Story" from the team behind Snap Judgment 
Snap Judgment attempts to report on every murder in the city of Oakland in 2017, and tells the stories of the people lost to violence.

"44 Years" by Love + Radio
Albert Woodfox spent over four decades in solitary confinement -- longer than any prisoner in American history.

Justine Paradis is a producer and reporter for NHPR's Creative Production Unit, most oftenOutside/In. Before NHPR, she produced Millennial podcast from Radiotopia, contributed to podcasts including Love + Radio, and reported for WCAI & WGBH from her hometown of Nantucket island.
Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.
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