NHWBA: public policy statements
The NHWBA monitors national, state and local legislation; case law; administrative and constitutional developments; and the press and broadcast media as they affect the legal profession and the judiciary and the interests of women and families. When appropriate, and in accordance with NHWBA policies, our Board of Directors may adopt a public position statement in support of or opposing an issue of importance to our organization. The NHWBA does not endorse individual candidates running for public office.
NHWBA Policy Position Statement regarding Alternative Sentencing and Female Recidivism
Numerous studies including but not limited to the Double Jeopardy Report on Training and Educational Programs for NH Female Offenders by the NH Commission of the Status of Women (2004), the Incarceration and Alternative Sentencing Of Women In New Hampshire presentation by the NH Women’s Policy Institute (June 2007), and the Interim Report of the Interagency Coordinating Council for Women Offenders (November 2008), as well as the December 2008 report on data on female offenders collected and reported by the NH Women’s Policy Institute, support the conclusion that alternative sentencing is particularly appropriate for women because of the lower incidence of violent offenses among women and the high number of women who are primary caregivers for families. Equally important is providing a means for women that are incarcerated to break the patterns of behavior that resulted in their offense and thereby reduce recidivism.
Alternative sentencing for women also promotes the goal established in the New Hampshire Constitution, Part I, Art. 18 that penalties be proportional to the offense and that the true design of punishment is reform.
The New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association (NHWBA) endorses and supports the development and use of alternative sentencing, particularly programs that allow women offenders to maintain their roles as primary caregivers for their children and families. While recognizing the resource limitations facing government at every level, the NHWBA urges every county to develop alternative sentencing programs to the fullest extent possible.
The New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association also endorses and supports the development of educational programming as a means to reduce recidivism among women offenders, particularly vocational programming that provides needed employment skills that will enable women to get and maintain employment when released back into the community.