There are more prisoners in New Hampshire today than several years ago, and more people in need of social services. At the same time, there are fewer state employees to deal with the growing needs. That leaves departments turning to technology to make government more efficient, and, when all else fails, to cuts in service, reports the Concord Monitor. That was the message from directors of two of the state’s largest departments at budget hearings this week.
Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn said the largest factor driving the prison population is the rate of recidivism, which has risen to nearly 50 percent in recent years. In the last legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill aimed at curbing recidivism and lowering costs. The bill is expected to save $10 million between 2011 and 2015, with the money going toward improving community-based services for offenders. By letting offenders out of prison earlier, it will give them more time under community supervision. Wrenn said provisions of the bill will allow parole and probation officers to focus on high-risk and high-need offenders.