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Large crowd tours new Grafton County Correctional Facility

With assistance from five others, the three Grafton County Commissioners cut the ribbon to welcome visitors to the new correctional Facility on Sunday. Darin Wipperman/The Littleton Courier. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2012
NORTH HAVERHILL — In bright sunshine Sunday afternoon, scores of people attended the ribbon cutting for Grafton County's new correctional facility. The festivities were followed by a self-guided tour of the building.

The old jail, built in 1896, is far beyond the times of correctional practice. Superintendent Glenn P. Libby said that the new location will be "safe, clean, and healthy" for officers and inmates.

Libby, who said the new facility has "always been about my staff," is "very excited." He welcomes the "great opportunity" that the county has with the new facility.

Forty correctional officers will work in the facility, which is located behind the courthouse. All inmates should be housed at the new location by July 1.

Commissioner Ray Burton smiled as he praised the "good work" of the many people who made the day possible. The "historic and beautiful day," Burton noted, marks a new chapter for detention management in Grafton County.

Before the ribbon cutting and tour, dignitaries offered thanks to all those involved. Two U.S. flags were presented. Through a letter, Representative Charles Bass certified that the flags had flown over the United States Capitol.

A statement from Senator Kelly Ayotte was also read. She commended the efforts that made the building possible. The Senator said that the new institution is "designed to promote public safety," as well as inmates' rehabilitation.

County Delegation Chairman Lyle Bulis said that the correctional facility was "on time and under budget." The legislature originally authorized a $38 million bond issuance for the new building. It was completed for only $33 million.

The county hopes to "encourage the offender" to improve behavior. The goal is that a released inmate will "never return here again," Bulis said.

The facility includes classrooms and meeting areas to assist in rehabilitation. This supports the county's interest in turning inmates into good citizens. Bulis suggested that correctional services aim to give "productive people to society," and restore dignity to the inmate. Through individual improvement, corrections also strengthens families, he said.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Cryans informed the crowd that the families of correctional staff praised the new facility on Saturday. Spouses and parents of officers found the "safe environment" at the new location much better than the outdated jail.

The ribbon cutting, Cryans said, brings a "new chapter in Grafton County's 243-year history." He put the past in context. Grover Cleveland was President and Henry Ford was driving his first car in 1896, Cryans said.

Cryans continued with some humor, remarking that Ray Burton was "not our Executive Councilor" back when the old jail opened.

The process to build the new facility should please the audience, Cryans said. The county has created an opportunity for "staff and inmates to move forward." This "fantastic job," Cryans noted, was made possible thanks to designers, construction workers and diligent county employees. Grafton County, he concluded, provided "an example of how to do it right."

Cryans concluded with the hope that the new facility will last "at least 116 years."

Architectural design for the correctional facility was provided by SMRT, Inc. of Portland, Maine. H.P. Cumming in Woodsville served as the construction manager.

Not everyone on the county complex was pleased with the day's festivities. Two protestors held signs up along Route 10. They expressed frustration with the nation's high level of incarceration. Nearly eight million people are behind bars in the United States, one sign noted.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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