May 2, 2023
New Hampshire House passes bill to replace embattled youth detention center
The New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed a bill that would replace the state's embattled youth detention center. The move comes after years of controversy surrounding the facility, which has been accused of mistreating and neglecting its young residents.
The bill, which was passed by a vote of 259-97, would establish a new youth services center that would focus on rehabilitation and education rather than punishment. The new facility would be designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for young people who have been in trouble with the law.
The current youth detention center has been the subject of numerous investigations and lawsuits over the years. In 2019, two former residents filed a lawsuit alleging that they had been subjected to physical and emotional abuse while in the facility. The lawsuit also accused staff members of failing to provide adequate medical care and education.
The new youth services center would be overseen by a board of directors made up of experts in juvenile justice, education, and mental health. The board would be responsible for developing programs and services that are tailored to the needs of each individual resident.
The bill has received support from a wide range of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, and the New Hampshire Juvenile Justice Association.
In a statement, the ACLU of New Hampshire praised the bill as a critical step forward in reforming the state's juvenile justice system. We know that young people who are treated with respect and given the tools they need to succeed are much more likely to stay out of trouble in the future, the statement read.
The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it is expected to face some opposition. However, supporters of the bill are optimistic that it will ultimately be passed into law.
If the bill is successful, it could serve as a model for other states looking to reform their juvenile justice systems. By focusing on rehabilitation and education rather than punishment, the new youth services center could help to break the cycle of crime and incarceration that has plagued so many young people in the United States.