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Bar News - February 13, 2009

Sentencing CLE: More Public Attention Needed

"In order for any of this to work, the public has to be on board," Sen. Margaret Hassan told attendees at a CLE program on sentencing alternatives at the 2009 Midyear Meeting.

Attending were several NH superior court and district court judges as well as defense attorneys and prosecutors. The faculty, in addition to Hassan, an Exeter attorney who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, included Judge Tina Nadeau, attorney Cathy Green, the program chair, and NH Department of Corrections Commissioner William L. Wrenn. The featured speaker was Judge Roger Warren, former president of the National Center for State Courts.

Warren challenged proponents of alternative sentencing programs to bring more mid- to high-risk offenders into their programs. The decrease in recividism rates for higher-risk offenders who have participated in alternative sentencing programs is greater than the impact of such programs on low-risk offenders.

Alternative sentencing has been a focus for NHBA President Ellen Arnold, who has worked with a variety of individuals and agencies to promote awareness and generate momentum for greater use of alternatives to incarceration.

Bar News will continue to provide coverage of sentencing reform efforts throughout the state.

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