Sununu Center

The Sununu Youth Services Center on North River Road in Manchester is pictured above.  

CONCORD — The state’s child advocate announced that two heavy hitters in the reform movement for children’s corrections will be in New Hampshire on Friday to discuss closing “youth prisons.”

The New Hampshire Child Advocate’s Working Group on Juvenile Justice will host Patrick McCarthy, the retired president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Jane Tewksbury, the former Massachusetts commissioner of youth services.

The Working Group will meet at the New Hampshire House Finance Committee room at 11 a.m. Friday.

McCarthy and Tewksbury are members of the Columbia University Justice Lab’s Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice.

The effort entails nearly 50 past and present juvenile justice officials and has worked to close “youth prisons” in Texas, Maine, Philadelphia and Wisconsin. Advocates say the key is providing support for community-based, family-focused, evidence-based alternatives to youth prisons.

The state operates one detention facility for juveniles — the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

“We use a lot of euphemisms, but a locked facility is a prison. That’s what it is,” said Moira O’Neill, director of the New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate.