Dirty dishes: Inmate labor in county home kitchen not working out as hoped for


LACONIA — Because the use of inmate labor as dishwashers in the kitchen is not working out well, Belknap County Commissioners have authorized the hiring of four part-time employees for the kitchen at the Belknap County Nursing Home.
Carolee Sliker, dietary manager at the nursing home, said that a pilot program over the last few weeks in which inmates are being paid $3 a day for work in the kitchen has seen "a parade of inmates coming through the kitchen who have behavior issues and do not want to work."
She sad that those who do want to work and do a good job are quickly lost as they qualify for work release programs, requiring the cooks to be constantly train new inmates, which she said involves paying overtime for the cooks.
"We are missing silverware because they do not want to sort it. Very often the dishes and pots and pans are not clean and have to be rewashed. Overtime is being used because he cooks can not get out on time and need to stay with the inmates." she wrote in her report. "Using inmates in the kitchen is not working. My staff and I are not trained Correctional Officers and the kitchen is not a rehabilitation center." She said that some of the inmates, who are escorted up to the kitchen by the Corrections Department officers, "are stealing things and working really slow and don't want to be here."
She proposed replacing the inmates who work in the kitchen evenings with her own staff from 4 to 7 p.m. and hiring four part-time dishwashers who would be cross-trained as dietary aides so they could help serves the residents at supper.
She said that hiring the part-timers would cost $40,000 a year which translates into an additional $20,000 for the rest of this year and that funds would have to be transferred for that purpose.
Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) said that while some parts of the CORE program at the corrections facility are working out it is obvious that the kitchen work for inmates is not. Commissioners agreed to Sliker's plan to hire part-timers for the kitchen when they met Wednesday morning.
Sliker has said previously that she is concerned about inmate labor and a possible shortage when the new community corrections center opens next year and the majority of inmates are involved in programs which would mean they would not be available for kitchen dish washing.
She says that in the future the county needs to be looking at replacing other inmates who work in the kitchen with four full-time staff members, which she said would cost $208,000 a year.

Sanborton man charged with raping child

SANBORNTON — Police have charged a local man with three counts of rape after an investigation into statements made by a girl to an employee of the state Division of Children, Youth and Families.

After appearing by video in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division, a judge ordered Michael H. Lennox, 47, of 21 Patriot Lane be held on $75,000 cash-only pending his probable cause hearing on May 23.

He is charged with three penetration-type counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault on his victim who was between the ages of 9 and 12 when the assault occurred in the 2010 to 2012 time period.

Sanbornton Lt. Prosecutor Kevin McIntosh said Lennox was represented by an attorney who asked that his client be allowed a corporate surety component to his bail order.

He said he objected because of the severity of the crime and that it was a crime of opportunity in which Lennox allegedly preyed on a young girl who was living in his home at the time.

McIntosh said the Sanbornton Police were assisted in their investigation by the Tilton Police Department and the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center.

– Gail Ober

Meredith man charged with four burglaries


GILFORD — A man who had been staying with a family on Breton Road allegedly broke into a nearby home, stole a safe containing $15,000 cash and bought a motorcycle.

Zackary Gouette, 24, of 15 Frances Court appeared by video yesterday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia District and was ordered held on $20,000 cash-only bail. He is newly charged with four courts of burglary and one count of theft. He was charged on Monday with one count of receiving stolen property and has been incarcerated since his arrest over the weekend.

On Wednesday, Gilford Police Prosecutor Eric Bredbury asked the court for a high cash bail because the burglaries occurred within a short time frame – May 2 through 13 – and that two of them occurred in the nighttime, which, by law, makes it a Class A felony and can carry enhanced penalties.

Public Defender Steve Mirkin asked the court for a corporate surety component for Gouette's bail but Bredbury said that Gouette was already on probation supervision when he allegedly committed the four burglaries, he would like to see cash only.

Presiding Judge Jim Carroll agreed with Bredbury, saying he was significantly concerned for the community at large.

According to police, Gouette first targeted three single-family homes, two of which were on Watson Road and one on Annis Drive. Items reported missing to police were jewelry, documents such as birth certificates and a passport. In two cases he allegedly told police he used hard items to break windows.

On May 13, between the hours of 8:31 and 10:58 p.m., police said Gouette entered a Lake Shore Road house through the bulk head and stole a small but distinct-looking safe that, according to the homeowner, contained $15,000.

On May 14, police said Gouette went to work with new-to-him motorcycle and told his fellow co-workers he bought it for a dollar from a relative. Police were able to find the seller of the motorcycle, who told them he sold it for $10,500.

Police said Gouette has a record dating back to 2011 that primarily includes theft-related charges including a burglary in Carroll County.

"I'm very glad he was apprehended and this puts the general public at some ease," said Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee.. "Kudos to the people who spoke up when they saw something unusual."