Convicted burglar supervising delinquents at Sununu Center
By NANCY WEST New Hampshire Sunday News
The state stands by its decision to hire a convicted burglar to supervise juvenile delinquents incarcerated at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester, according to Maggie Bishop, director of the Division for Children, Youth and Families.
Mark Crandall, 29, was hired in November for a part-time job titled "youth counselor," Bishop said.
"They do not do counseling. They monitor the day-to-day activities and supervise the kids," Bishop said.
There is no prohibition against hiring convicted felons, Bishop said. Although corrections officers at New Hampshire State Prison for Men cannot be convicted felons, Bishop said that is much different from youth counselor work.
"The policy requires us to do a criminal record check and determine whether a criminal record would impact someone's ability to do his job," Bishop said.
Crandall was sentenced to serve two to seven years for burglary in Grafton County, with one year suspended, according to Jeffrey Lyons, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.
Crandall was released on parole in 2007, Lyons said.
Bishop said she didn't know Crandall had been hired until contacted by a reporter.
Penny Sampson, acting administrator at the center, and Crandall did not return phone messages.
Part of the hiring process requires disclosure of all misdemeanor and felony convictions unless annulled by the court, Bishop said.
Andrea Goldberg, executive secretary at the Adult Parole Board, said Crandall was released early from parole on Oct. 1, 2009, because of good conduct.
Bishop said the hiring team must follow personnel rules.
"My take is if an individual had a troubling past and turns his life around, goes to school and gets working and contributing to society, good for them," Bishop said. "My staff who hired him believed he could bring value to his role."
There are about 60 juveniles housed at the locked center who have been adjudicated delinquent for crimes that would have been felonies if they were committed by adults.