CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday signed into law a $245 million capital budget that includes $38 million for construction of a new women’s prison in Concord.
The prison has been a public works priority for years, but lawmakers failed to get the funding approved until this year. Women prisoners at the current facility in Goffstown last year filed a class action lawsuit claiming they do not receive the same services, counseling and work opportunities that are available at the state prison for men.
Hassan said the new women’s prison will improve public safety and strengthen the state’s correction system, with modern facilities that will provide the same level of safety and programs offered at the men’s prison.
“For too long our corrections system has woefully neglected women,” Hassan said. “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.”
In addition to the new prison for women, the budget includes money for new state liquor stores in Salem, Epping and Warner, and major renovations to the I-95 stores in Hampton.
The budget also includes $8 million for University System of New Hampshire capital projects, with another $13 million designated for the community college system.
Repairs to the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Portsmouth, a new Marine Patrol headquarters on Lake Winnipesauke and new career and technology education centers in Salem and Whitefield are also funded.
Web-based initiatives and improved technology are a big part of the budget, including a project called Business One-Stop, which would aggregate services online for business owners, and another program that would create a statewide database of all professional license-holders. Continued funding of the E-Court Initiative will enable all documents and forms to enter the court system electronically.
“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.
Approximately $125 million of the $245 million budget will come from general fund bonding authority, with the balance from other state and federal sources.