‘Two-way conversation’ sought on women’s prison in Concord
The first of the three stakeholder meetings is tonight, with state and city representatives invited to look at the architectural firm’s sketches and provide input for the final design of the 224-bed prison, which is to be sited behind the men’s prison on North State Street.
He said there has already been a meeting with abutters particularly concerned about noise and traffic.
The Executive Council approved a $2.4 million design contract with SMRT Inc. of Portland, Maine, last September. In January, it approved the selection of Providence, R.I.-based Gilbane Inc. as construction manager.
Connor said there is some granite on the site, so costs of extending utilities won’t be known until a level pad is prepared this summer. The plan is to have the site work done by fall, so construction can continue through the winter.
The architectural firm selected to design the new women’s prison was the architect for the Grafton, Merrimack and Cheshire county jails, as well as the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin. SMRT points to its design of the Women’s Center at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham as proof it understands the special needs of a prison for women.In 2012, a lawsuit was filed by New Hampshire Legal Assistance on behalf of four women citing the Goffstown facility’s overcrowding and lack of services.
The lawsuit, now on hold pending construction of the new women’s prison, said women do not receive the same services, counseling and work opportunities as men in the Concord and Berlin prisons.
But even more important, McGonagle said: “We have really high hopes for rehabilitative work.”
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