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For Immediate Release
August 4, 2021

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Communications Director
(603) 271-2121 | Sununu.Press@nh.gov

Governor Chris Sununu Announces Formation of the NH Juvenile Justice Reform Commission

Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu announced the formation of the New Hampshire Juvenile Justice Reform Commission (JJRC), an advisory group to update and replace the State Advisory Group for Juvenile Justice. This group will assist the State in aligning New Hampshire’s juvenile justice system with advances in scientific understanding of adolescent development and youth offenders.

“Updating the State’s juvenile justice advisory group’s mission and membership will provide new resources to this important initiative and will help the Department’s work in revamping and retooling the system,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “I would like to thank the past members of the State Advisory Group for their service, and I am confident the new JJRC will meet the challenges and opportunities facing the state as we create a juvenile justice system designed to meet the needs of the individuals, families, and communities in a safe, data driven, and evidence based manner.”

The state advisory group is required under the federal Juvenile Justice and Prevention Act of 1974 as amended by the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 for the State to have access to certain federal grants. The group’s primary role is to advise the State on its use of federal juvenile justice grants. It is also responsible for supporting compliance with federal juvenile justice requirements and providing information about federal requirements to state and local policymakers. The original advisory group was created over 20 years ago by Governor Shaheen, and it is time to bring in fresh perspectives and ideas.

Over the last several months, the Department has been reviewing how to best construct its juvenile justice system in a way that provides accountability without criminalization, offers alternatives to justice system involvement, provides an individualized approach based on the juveniles risks and needs, while ensuring the safety of the community. The Department’s work will be supported and supplemented by the JJRC, with its refocused and updated mission and membership.

“The Department continues to transform the state’s juvenile justice system to be a more proactive one that identifies and addresses youths’ needs before at risk youth become involved with the courts,” said Joe Ribsam, Director of the DHHS Division for Children, Youth and Families. “I’m looking forward to working with the JJRC as we advance these goals.”

The JJRC will include representatives from the juvenile justice system, including those working within the court system, organizations that work with children and youth, individuals working in education, youth mental and behavioral health providers, and individuals who have been or are currently involved with the juvenile justice system.

Those interested in serving on the commission should email a letter of interest and resume to apply.governor@nh.gov.

Additional details will be released by the Governor on the new appointees to the JJRC in the coming weeks.