New Hampshire House members like predictions of reduced recidivism and lower prison costs in a new corrections bill, but question how the state will pay for the necessary treatment and programs, reports the Concord Monitor. The bill, which has passed the Senate, would dramatically change the way the state paroles offenders and supervises them on release. Supporters say the changes would reduce recidivism, which accounts for half the prison population, and save the state $11 million on inmate expenses over five years.
Parolees would have access to mental health and substance abuse treatment in their community – something they often don’t have now. The state would pay for that treatment, initially with grants and then with the savings found in the corrections budget. Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn said the prison is providing both mental health and substance abuse treatment behind the walls but thought it made better financial sense to pay established providers to pick up treatment on the outside. Under the bill, all nonviolent inmates would be paroled after serving 120 percent of their minimum sentence. Those brought back on a parole violation would serve only 90 days whether they misbehaved or failed to complete additional treatment.