New Hampshire’s Juvenile Justice System

An Investigation of Current Practices for Handling Youth in the Criminal Justice System
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1213-02
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This report provides an overview of how the current New Hampshire juvenile justice system operates with a particular focus on the system’s placement options and probation and post-detention services. The study team analyzed two key indicators of the system’s efficacy: the juvenile recidivism rate and the system’s treatment of high-risk groups, including Children in Need of Services (CHINS), youth with special needs, and 17-year- old offenders. To provide insight into available options for juvenile justice reform, the study team analyzed the placement options and probation services in the juvenile justice systems of two other New England states—Vermont and Massachusetts. The study team also reviewed programs that successfully reduced recidivism rates among juvenile offenders in other regions. These analyses will serve to inform the state legislature on various policy options to consider as it works to address gaps in the current system and improve its efficacy.

PRS Director's Note: An earlier version of this paper was presented to the NH Senate Judiciary Committee on March 5, 2013. This revised version accounts for factual corrections made to procedures in the NH juvenile justice system. The authors wish to thank the Department of Children, Youth and Families and its staff from Juvenile Justice Services for their feedback.