New Hampshire’s governor said Friday that he will convene a meeting later this month to consider proposals to fix concerns by police that bail system reforms have gone too far.
Gov. Chris Sununu said he wants Democrats and Republicans to come together to address the problems, including complaints from police in Manchester that changes in the system are resulting in suspects being released on bail, only to be arrested again for separate crimes. Law enforcement officials have also complained that suspects released are failing to show up for court hearings.
In a statement, the Republican governor said he hopes lawmakers can "find a solution that ensures public safety while not needlessly incarcerating someone simply because they cannot afford bail."
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Last year, the Legislature approved sweeping bail reform measures over concerns that suspects were being jailed because they couldn’t afford bail. People suspected of low-level offenses are released, if a judge determines they are not deemed a danger.
Additional changes were enacted this year, including the creation of a bail commission. The commission, which meets Oct. 18, is a bipartisan body tasked with making recommendations to the system ahead of the next legislative session.
The New Hampshire chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a supporter of bail reform, noted that reforms also included measures that gives law enforcement the ability to detain anyone, regardless of the charges, without bail if they are a danger to themselves or others. But they argued that no one should be jailed "simply because they are too poor to afford bail."
"Granite Staters deserve a civil, fact-based discussion by stakeholders about bail reform," Jeanne Hruska, political director for the ACLU-NHA, said in a statement.