As inner city residents of Manchester, N.H., worried about their safety after the killing of a police officer, they learned the state Department of Corrections will have to turn back more than half of a $1.8 million federal grant aimed at keeping paroled prisoners from committing new crimes, reports the Associated Press. The three-year grant under the Serious Violent Offenders Re-entry Initiative expires in December. It was supposed to help prisoners returning home to Manchester get help with housing, jobs, mental-health care and drug and alcohol treatment. Eighty-one ex-cons ages 17 to 35 have received those services.
Federal and city officials said the program, one of several intended to reduce crime in the state's largest city, was stymied by delays and never created the infrastructure to help ex-cons turn their lives around. “It never really got off the ground,” said Mark Long of the U.S. Attorney's office. “That was a golden opportunity that was kind of lost.” The state received the re-entry grant in 2003, but was unable to hire anyone for the program for more than a year because former Gov. Craig Benson imposed a statewide hiring freeze to deal with budget shortfalls.