EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 25, 2013

N.H. police officials back inmate program

E. Kingston incident not reflective of program

(Continued)

Over the years, Church said there have been few problems — with the exception of Brisbois — involving inmates.

But when the allegations against Brisbois surfaced, Church said, the Department of Corrections took a close look at the program and concluded that all guidelines had been followed by his office. He said additional training will take place to ensure similar problems don’t occur.

He declined to comment on what happened at the East Kingston police station, saying it remains under investigation.

East Kingston police Chief Richard Simpson and Cpl. Mark Iannuccillo were placed on paid leave by the town, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Former Methuen, Mass., police Chief Bruce MacDougall is now overseeing the department.

Police departments benefit

Eight inmates work for the Kingston, Plaistow, Atkinson, Hampstead, Epping and Fremont police departments, where they perform chores such as cleaning the station and helping to wash and maintain police cruisers, Church said.

Many of the approximately 30 other inmates who participate in the program spend their time at the nursing home — performing routine maintenance, mowing the grass, washing dishes and doing laundry, he said. They earn $1 a day.

“They do a whole lot of work,” Church said. “(The program) has been very successful for years. It’s been successful for the inmates, it’s been successful for the municipalities and it’s been successful for the county.”

County Commissioner Thomas Tombarello of Sandown said the program has been a cost-effective asset to the county.

The program has helped the cash-strapped county and towns substantially reduce their maintenance budgets, Church said. Most important of all, he said, it’s helped motivate inmates and prepare them for entering the workforce upon release.

People need to realize that these same inmates — serving sentences of less than a year — will soon be out of jail and working in their local store or elsewhere, he said.

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