By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Members of the Belknap County Delegation Tuesday afternoon toured the new Community Corrections Center which is under construction and came away impressed with the progress being made.
"I don't think I've ever seen a construction site as clean as this," said Rep. Peter Spanos (R-Laconia), who praised the work which is being overseen by Bauen Construction of Meredith.
Leading the tour were Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray, Andre Kloetz of Bauen Construction and Kevin Warwick, president of Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc., a consultant who helped design the programs which will be provided at the center.
The community corrections center will feature a rigorous regimen of substance abuse, mental health and educational programs and services, which Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray says the county currently lacks. The new facility will have 64 beds, 44 for men and 20 for women and will have mental health and drug abuse professionals available on site to provide programs for inmates.
The $7.3 million, 18,000-square-foot project, will be completed in September. The current county jail will have repairs and renovations as part of the project and will have space for 60 inmates.
Warwick said that the county is modeling its community corrections program on Sullivan County, which, since it built its community correction center and instituted pre-trial and post-sentencing programs, has cut its recidivism rate from 70 percent to 20 percent.
Warwick stressed that the key purpose of the program is to change the behavior of inmates and prepare them to make the transition back into the community.
The Belknap County Delegation in November of 2015 unanimously approved an $8 million bond for building the community corrections center and renovation of parts of the current county jail.
Rep. Peter Spanos (R-Laconia) listens as Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray describes how the new Community Corrections Center will be operated. Members of the Belknap County Delegation toured the facility Tuesday. The 18,000 square foot, $7.3 million facility, is scheduled to open in September. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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