Prison Policy, Arson Case Figure In NH Governor’s Race


Crime is becoming an issue in the campaign for New Hampshire governor. reports that Gov. John Lynch’s campaign is attempting to fan the flames surrounding a report that his Republican opponent, John Stephen, supported the pardon of an arsonist. Feeling pressure over his signature on a new law allowing certain non-violent offenders to be released from prison, Lynch is attempting to turn the spotlight on why Stephen is defending a convicted arsonist who donated money to his campaign.

The Nashua Telegraph said Stephen backed Edward Socha’s request for a pardon six years ago to avoid paying $1.6 million in restitution. Socha, who donated $1,000 to Stephen’s campaign, was convicted in 1991 on charges he burned down his home to collect insurance money. He served three years in prison, and the pardon was not granted. Lynch is playing defense on a law that allows non-violent offenders to be paroled after serving 120 percent of their minimum sentence. The governor signed the bill as a cost-saving measure to decrease the state inmate population.

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