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Sununu vetoes rehab for parole violators

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Gov. Chris Sununu recently vetoed HB 143, a bill that would give the parole board power to send a parole violator to residential substance abuse treatment rather than to jail.

About HB 143

Current state law requires a 90 day sentence for anyone who violates parole. A parole violation could be anything from failing a drug test to committing a new crime.

Current state law allows the parole board to shorten the 90 day sentence if the following is true:

  • It is the prisoner’s first parole violation
  • The prisoner was not on parole for a sexual or violent crime
  • The parole violation is not related to the prisoner’s original crime
  • The parole board determines a shorter sentence will help the prisoner’s rehabilitation

HB 143 would allow the parole board to also shorten the 90 day sentence if the following is true:

  • The prisoner successfully completes a residential substance abuse treatment program
  • The prisoner was not on parole for a sexual or violent crime
  • The parole board determines a shorter sentence will help the prisoner’s rehabilitation

Support for HB 143

Bill supporters argued that addiction treatment is more likely to rehabilitate many parole violators than 90 days in jail.

A jail sentence may cause a prisoner to lose a job or housing, making it even more likely that the prisoner will return to a life of crime.

Click here to learn more about the debate over increasing access to addiction treatment in New Hampshire.

Gov. Sununu’s veto

Sununu vetoed HB 143 because he was concerned the bill was too broad. For example, the bill does not specify that the prisoner’s original crime must be related to drug addiction.

“Current law already gives the Parole Board the option of imposing shorter recommittal periods if they determine it will aid in the parolee’s rehabilitation. Importantly, those who are incarcerated have access to many of the same treatment programs as those who are not.”

- Gov. Chris Sununu

Was Sununu right to veto HB 143? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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