Meredith asks state if 'advanced' signals at 3/25 would help

MEREDITH — The Board of Selectmen this week agreed to ask the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) to present an analysis of how advanced signalization at the intersection of U.S. Route 3 and N.H. Route 25 would affect the flow of both traffic and pedestrians.

Nate Torr, the chairman of the board, said yesterday that the selectmen were responding to a query from the DOT about how the town wished to proceed after town rejected a 3/25 Advisory Committee proposal to construct three single-lane roundabouts between Lake Street and Pleasant Street in January. The DOT has earmarked $5 million in federal funds to address congestion along the 3/25 corridor.

Torr said there was no interest among the selectmen to convene what would be the third committee to address the issue of traffic along the 3/25 corridor, much less to reconsider its decision to abandon the plan to build roundabouts.

Enhanced signalization was among the many alternatives considered and dismissed by the Advisory Committee.

Gulbrandsen objected to jailer allowing woman convicted of perjury to wear monitor; judge agreed

LACONIA — Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen said Monday the case cited by Commissioner Richard Burchell in his letter to The Daily Sun, published in Saturday's edition, regarding her alleged lack of cooperation in instituting a "community corrections" incarceration model concerned a case of perjury.

In his letter Burchell did not refer to the case by name but said it involved the county jail superintendent determining how a sentence was to be served — by participating in a out-of-jail electronic monitor program — and having that decision challenged by Gulbrandsen in Superior Court. A goal of the community corrections model is to get non-violent offenders, where appropriate, out of lockups.

Gulbrandsen said that in the case of State v. Tammy Dunn a jury fond the defedent guilty of perjury or lying under oath regarding a landlord-tenant case that was being considered by Judge Jim Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.

She said the initial complaint about Dunn was filed by the circuit court with her office and was investigated by the Belknap County Sheriff's Department.

Dunn was indicted, convicted and her conviction was upheld by the N.H. Supreme Court. She was sentenced in Superior Court to 12 months in jail with all but eight suspended. Dunn is on work-release but must return to jail daily and be there when she is not working.

Guldbrandsen said when her office was notified by the jail it objected because the sentence was not contemplated by the court during the sentencing portion of the trial.

"This sentence addressed the punitive, deterrent, and rehabilitative components the court must consider under N.H. law," wrote Asst. County Attorney Carley Ahern in her objection.

Judge James O'Neill IV agreed.

"It is well established in New Hampshire case law that the traditional goals of sentencing are punishment, rehabilitation, and deterrence," wrote O'Neill. "The Court finds the defendant has not shown by the introduction of testimony, exhibits, or oral proffers that her rehabilitation would be enhanced by participation in the Electric Monitoring Bracelet Program."

"The crime of perjury, which is a class B felony, and its effect of the orderly dispatch of justice within our court system must not be minimized," O'Neill concluded before denying her participation.

Concord firm awarded 'community corrections' design contract

 LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners have agreed to hire SMP Architecture of Concord to provide architectural and engineering services for a schematic design and cost estimates for a new "community corrections" center for the county.
SMP was one of two bidders for the project and submitted a bid of $84,880. The other bidder was Cowan Goudreau Architects, which submitted a bid of $62,500.
The commissioners awarded the contract at a meeting held Monday afternoon following presentations by both firms which had developed their bids in response to the commission's request for proposals for the project.
SMP designed the Sullivan County Community Corrections facility in Claremont which has been cited by commissioners as the model for their approach to a new facility which will provide programs to help ease the transition back into the community of released inmates and the involvement of all elements of the criminal justice system in that process.
The commissioners interviewed the firms with assistance from Kevin Warwick and Ross Cunningham of Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc. , a consulting firm hired by the county to develop a plan for a community corrections facility and programs which it would provide.
Warwick was a consultant for the Sullivan County project and Cunningham, who is currently the assistant superintendent for the Merrimack County House of Corrections, was superintendent for Sullivan County when the facility there was designed and put into operation.
They have developed a plan for a 64-bed community facility for Belknap County which will have have 30 treatment beds, 20 for men and 10 for women, and 34 work release beds, 24 for men and 10 for women.
The new facility would be built next to the current jail and connected to it through a newly created control room. It would contain 22,327-square-feet and a suggested addition which would include a small 2,500-square-foot gym, 1,500-square-feet of administrative space — all of which would bring the total space to just over 27,000-square-feet.
In addition to the new building SMP will develop a schematic design for repurposing vacated jail space in the current facility and work with a mechanical engineer to determine the best approach for resolving existing HVAC system issues in the old building while anticipating newer systems in the new building.
The commission also held a lengthy morning session at which Warwick described the programming elements which have gone into the community corrections planing and stressed that the key purpose of the program is to change the behavior of inmates.
He said that it is a waste of time and money to concentrate the programs on lower risk inmates and that the focus has to be on high risk offenders.
He said that data shows this approach can reduce recidivism rates by as much as 30 percent and that it is necessary for all elements of the criminal justice system, from local police to after release program providers, to communicate and be on the same page.
Funding for many of the programs are available through the federal Second Chance Act, which New Hampshire Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, who attended the session, enjoys near unanimous support in Congress because it has been shown to save money and reduce crime.
Warwick said the county must realize that it will have to make investments in the short run in order to achieve the long-term objective of reducing crime and bringing down jail costs.
He also said that none of the programs which will need to be provided will be risk-free but that those dealing with substance abuse, decision making and education and employment are among the necessary components.
He said that high-risk offenders will require at least 200 hours of programming and that involvement in some of the programs will still be needed after they are released.
He said having contracted service providers in mental health and drug abuse work within the facility on cooperation with jail staff is a practice in Sullivan County which has worked very well.