Criminal Justice

House passes Sununu Center bill without legal changes that worried child advocates

BY: - March 23, 2023

Advocates for children, law enforcement, and state mental health officials prevailed Thursday in persuading House members to reject legislation they said would have risked putting more juveniles at the Sununu Youth Services Center. In doing so, the state moves closer to replacing the 144-bed correctional center with a much smaller therapeutic facility, advocates said.  That […]

Exterior sign for the Sununu Center

Advocates: Limiting police use of Sununu Center will hurt, not help, kids

BY: - March 15, 2023

Over the objections of child advocates, a House committee voted Wednesday to reduce the number of offenses that would make a juvenile eligible for detention at the Sununu Youth Services Center. They warned rather than help juveniles, the law change could lead to more juveniles being charged. There are also questions about whether the bill […]

A digital illustration, in pencil and watercolor, about the mental health effects on youth who experience gun violence. A repeating pattern made out of handguns close in on a young boy, who is at the center of the drawing. He covers his face with his hand s, an anguished expression visible on his face. A line of thin red circles are layered across the horizontal center, symbolizing cycles of trauma.

Pandemic stress, gangs, and utter fear fueled a rise in teen shootings

BY: - March 13, 2023

Diego never imagined he’d carry a gun. Not as a child, when shots were fired outside his Chicago-area home. Not at age 12, when one of his friends was gunned down. Diego’s mind changed at 14, when he and his friends were getting ready to walk to midnight Mass for the feast of Our Lady […]

No call from Sununu for DCYF review in Laconia boy’s homicide

BY: - March 8, 2023

Gov. Chris Sununu declined Wednesday to say whether he will call for a review of the state’s handling of nearly 25 reports of suspected abuse against four Laconia children, one of whom died from blunt force trauma in 2019, shortly after the last report. The homicide of Dennis “Boo” Vaughan Jr., 5, remains open and […]

No arrest, no comment: The 5-year-old homicide victim the state’s not talking about

BY: - March 6, 2023

Judy Anderson had grown impatient by the time she marched into the Laconia mayor’s office in October with a photo of 5-year-old Dennis Vaughan Jr. to remind him that the boy’s 2019 homicide in his grandmother’s Laconia apartment remains unsolved. Anderson, a Gilford retiree who didn’t know Dennis “Boo” Vaughan Jr., said she’s done waiting […]

A law was meant to free sick or aging inmates. Instead, some are left to die in prison.

BY: - February 22, 2023

This story originally appeared in Kaiser Health News. Jimmy Dee Stout was serving time on drug charges when he got grim news early last year. Doctors told Stout, now 62, the sharp pain and congestion in his chest were caused by stage 4 lung cancer, a terminal condition. “I’m holding on, but I would like […]

Door reads "Executive Council Office"

Attorney general seeks $5 million in federal money for victim services

BY: - February 20, 2023

This story was updated Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, at 12:30 p.m. to clarify which victim services are supported with federal funding. The effects of COVID-19’s social isolation, health problems, and job loss continue to drive increases in calls to domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines, emergency shelters, and child abuse referrals, according to the Department […]

Some NH police chiefs say it’s time to get rid of officer physical fitness requirements

BY: - February 10, 2023

Enough law enforcement officers are failing to pass the required fitness test for sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run that some police chiefs are backing a bill that would do away with the fitness requirement.  That includes Hinsdale Police Chief Charles Rataj, who told the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee this week that […]

Safety hopes federal grant will speed up DNA testing for criminal investigations

BY: - December 22, 2022

This year, the Department of Safety received more than 18,000 items from criminal investigations requiring DNA testing. It’s taking more than 10 months to process DNA testing requests like these because of staff shortages, complexity of cases, and the volume.  The department hopes to cut that to 60 days with $99,000 in federal money approved […]

Scales of justice

State defends its indigent defense, rejects report’s alleged conflicts of interest

BY: - October 25, 2022

The state is falling short of its constitutional duty to ensure all poor defendants unable to hire a lawyer get an effective legal defense, according to an assessment the state Judicial Council requested of its work. Sarah Blodgett, the council’s executive director, has already incorporated one recommendation from the Sixth Amendment Center’s report, released Tuesday. […]


State seeks $6.4 million in COVID-relief money to build up court access services

BY: - October 12, 2022

The New Hampshire Judicial Branch is seeking to use $6.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to help boost remote access to the court, fund court navigators, and increase civil legal resources. In a request to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery says the money would help with […]

DHHS issues ‘all call’ to keep Sununu Youth Services Center staffed

BY: - September 29, 2022

A dire shortage of youth counselors at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester has escalated routine behavior issues to police calls and prompted an “all call” to any Department of Health and Human Services worker willing to pick up an overtime shift, department officials said Tuesday.  These challenges come as the detention center is […]