Hassan Signs Bill to Build Prison

Concord — Gov. Maggie Hassan Tuesday signed into law a $244.7 million capital budget for the state that includes $38 million to build a new women’s prison.

The new 224-bed prison, which officials have said will likely be built in Concord, would replace the obsolete and overcrowded women’s prison in Goffstown. A pending class-action lawsuit against the state alleges female inmates there are denied the same education, treatment and other services available to male inmates.

“For too long, our corrections system has woefully neglected women,” Hassan said yesterday in a statement. “Through the capital budget, we are now able to build a long-overdue new women’s prison with facilities and programs that can help individuals safely move back into society when they have served their sentences.”

The state plans to award an architectural and engineering contract for the new prison in September, with construction scheduled to begin April 2015 and wrap up Oct. 1, 2016, said Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons.

The prison is the largest single item in the state’s new two-year capital budget, which includes nearly $245 million in spending, including just under $125 million in general-fund bonding.

It includes money to repair the State House dome, replace the roof at the Concord district courthouse, build a new headquarters for the New Hampshire Marine Patrol and build new state liquor stores in Epping, Salem and Warner.

The final version of the capital budget passed both the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate on voice votes June 26, along with the two-year, $10.75 billion state operating budget that took effect July 1.

“Our bipartisan capital budget plan will help the state move forward with job-creating projects that are critical for keeping our communities strong and building a more innovative economic future,” Hassan said.