CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

March 20, 2014

Time to Change Law that Harms NH Kids

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Research shows that young offenders who are handled in the juvenile justice system are less likely to repeat their crimes than those who go to the adult system. Adult prosecution also increases the likelihood that young offenders will escalate into violent crime. A 1996 study found that the recidivism rate went up 90 percent for kids who did time in adult facilities. The same study showed that processing in adult court increased by 80 percent the likelihood of being subsequently arrested for a weapons offense. Multiple studies in various states have shown similar results.

Something else that has changed measurably since 1995 is the prevalence of youth crime, which was a large part of the argument for lowering the age to 17. Both nationally and in New Hampshire, juvenile delinquency is on the decline. In 2003, the state processed 5,800 delinquency cases; by 2012, the number fell to 2,880, a drop of just over half. We have the capacity to add 17-year-olds to our juvenile justice system; and even with the addition of 17-year-olds, the juvenile justice system will still be smaller than it was in 2003.

The vast majority of offenses committed by people under 18 are misdemeanors, and if the age is raised, judges will still have the option of transferring any juvenile accused of a felony to adult court. Even 17-year-olds who receive long sentences will eventually be released. The younger the offender, the more important it is that our policies promote rehabilitation. Adult prosecution does the opposite.

I am a firm believer that young people should be held accountable, but it should be within the juvenile justice system where they’ll be mandated to go to school, have counseling and participate in other rehabilitative activities. We know that most adolescents who engage in delinquent acts do not persist in crime long into adulthood. The juvenile justice system capitalizes on adolescents’ capacity for rehabilitation, while the adult system diminishes it. Putting children in an adult prison gives them a new peer group – adult criminals - which exposes them to horrific danger.

Returning 17-year-olds to the juvenile system is the right thing to do, for our kids and for the safety of our communities. It’s time for New Hampshire to join forty other states and raise the age to 18.

Rep. Kenneth Weyler (R)

Representing the towns of Kingston and Hampstead

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Obituaries
  • Alan J. Walker, 68

    Kingston, N.H. — Mr. Alan James Walker, 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2014, after a long, brave battle with cancer.

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  • James Reese

    Raymond, NH — James Edwin Reese, 74, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Raymond, N.H. He was the son of John and Ruth Reese, born on Oct. 29, 1939 in Edensburg, Pa. James graduated from Central Cambria High School in Pennsylvania before proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a food inspector. His military service was followed by 31 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector. Mr. Reese was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of his time fishing, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. He became involved in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed passing on his vast knowledge of the wilderness to others. Throughout his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, raising rabbits and working in his garden.

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  • Velma J. Reid

    South Hampton, NH — Velma J. Reid, 80, died peacefully on July 17, 2014 at Exeter Hospital, surrounded by family. She was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 8, 1934, the daughter of the late George C.W. and Alta I. (Kimball) Haynes. A graduate of Haverhill High School, Velma worked at Western Electric until she had children. For years, she was a devoted “stay-at-home” mom who raised her three children in a loving, nurturing environment. She later worked various manufacturing jobs until her retirement. After retiring, she volunteered her time at various organizations and was very involved at the East Kingston Community United Methodist Church as a member of the women’s guild, assisting with the holiday fair, and helping out wherever she could. She had a passion for animals, and would donate money, food, and blankets to the NH SPCA. She loved to sew and made a personalized quilt for every member of her family. She was also a member of the “Ugly Quilts” group, which made blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless using recycled fabric. She is survived by her husband, Clyde Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; daughter, Pam Eaton of Danville, N.H.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Kim Reid of Raymond, N.H.; daughter, Shirley Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; two sisters, Gwen Stuart of Haverhill, and Norma Taplin of Dracut; four grandchildren, Cheryl and Marc Welch, and Kristen and Joshua Reid, and several nieces and nephews.

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  • Carleen A. Knowlton, 80

    Danville, NH — Carleen A. (Rhoadhouse) Knowlton, 80, of Danville and formerly of Hampstead, died on July 7, 2014, at her home.

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  • Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84

    Kingston, NH — Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84, a resident of Kingston since 2001, and former longtime resident of Grafton, Mass., died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 11, 2014, following a long illness.

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