New Hampshire's Penal Dysfunction

Some times, it seems I spend way too much time bashing Massachusetts politics. In my defense, I point out that there’s just so much they do down there that is worthy of mocking and deriding. For example, last night the state legislature went back on its 1994 promise when it passed a mandatory seat belt law. At the time, they said that it would NEVER be a primary offense — meaning that the police would not have yet another reason (on top of the 1300+ they have now) to pull over a motorist. They could ticket you for not wearing your seat belt, but they would have had to have another reason to pull you over in the first place.

Well, now that promise is on its way out. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. If anything, it’s remarkable that it lasted 11 years.

But there’s my point exactly. I had a juicy New Hampshire political scandal to bring up, and instead I got sidetracked into Massachusetts bashing. It’s just too damned easy.

Anyway, New Hampshire is having a bit of a mess with its penal system. It turns out that there must be some Spanish Fly in the water or something, because we’ve had far more than our share of sex scandals in our prisons. In fact, we’ve paid out almost 3/4 of a million dollars in settling sex-related lawsuits (sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the like) over the past few years. And in a state that has an annual budget of less than 1.5 billion, that’s a rather hefty hunk of change.

Maybe the ancients had the right idea when they put eunuchs in charge of certain types of guard duty. Or maybe we should use our death penalty more often — critics often cite economic reasons for opposing the death penalty, but it’s gotta be cheaper than this crap.

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  1. Rick DeMent January 20, 2006
  2. Ikkonoishi January 20, 2006
  3. Palmateer January 20, 2006