Legislators speak out in support of bail reform

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Eight State Legislators Speak Out in Support of Bail Reform

CONCORD, NH — On Oct. 15 eight members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives released statements on bail reform. Bail reform has passed the legislature with bipartisan support two years in a row. These representatives are proud of the legislature’s continued progress on criminal justice reform and look forward to further collaboration amongst stakeholders as the state continues this work. They support the bail commission and constructive efforts to ensure that New Hampshire never goes back to a system that jailed low-income people because of their indigency.

Representative Paul Berch (D-Westmoreland) said, “A fair system of pre-trial detention requires an understanding that it cannot be based upon the injustice of jailing people simply because of their poverty. Bail reform is part and parcel of the effort to reverse the culture of mass incarceration, which has been an expensive failure. Pre-trial detention reform has been a bipartisan effort in the New Hampshire Legislature, with input and wisdom from many people and groups. It has been a significant success and I am proud, as a State Representative, to support this needed reform.”

Representative David Meuse (D-Portsmouth) said, “The legislature has shown bipartisan support for bail reform two years in a row. I will continue to support bail reform, and would readily support providing training on the law for stakeholders involved with it. Before people complain about a law, let’s make sure they are fully and accurately implementing it.”

Representative Casey Conley (D-Dover) said, “Bail reform prevents Granite Staters who don’t have big bank accounts from sitting in jail while presumed innocent and before they even have a trial. I will continue to support bail reform and New Hampshire’s efforts to promote economic justice.”

Representative Garrett Muscatel (D-Hanover) said, “Taking away someone’s liberty can have life-altering, permanent consequences. We must ensure that when we hold someone without bail, it’s because they are a danger to themselves or others, not due to their financial means. And that’s for a judge to decide, not the police. That’s why I will continue to support bail reform for all the people of New Hampshire.”

Representative Andrew Bouldin (D-Manchester) said, “As a Manchester Representative, I am proud of bail reform and will continue to prioritize further criminal justice reform efforts aimed at ending the overreliance on incarceration to solve chronic social issues, like homelessness and substance use disorders. I will not support going back to a system that jailed people merely because of their economic status. As a state, we are better than that.”

Representative Nicole Klein-Knight (D-Manchester) said, “Being jailed before trial can impact the outcome of someone’s case, including making it more likely that they will be pressured to plead guilty just so they can be free. The old system in New Hampshire, whereby poor people were jailed essentially for being poor, was inherently unfair and harmed our communities in Manchester. I will continue to support bail reform and other efforts to improve the criminal justice system in New Hampshire.”

Representative Ryan Buchanan (D-Concord) said, “The old bail system in New Hampshire favored the rich. It put poor people behind bars pre-trial where it was difficult for them to build a case and defend themselves. We also know pretrial detention can force people to plead guilty even when innocent. As a representative of a diverse ward, I am determined to support a criminal justice system that is fair and does not make decisions based on one’s wealth.”

Representative Samantha Fox (D-Bow) said, “As with many new laws, we must make sure bail reform is being correctly and fully implemented. With strong bipartisan support, bail reform has been affirmed in the legislature for the past two years. I will continue to support the transformations we have made to our bail system and believe additional training should be provided to those involved that need it.”

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