Rockingham County commissioners have named Whitefield native Jason Henry as the jail’s new superintendent.
Henry, who will replace 30-year veteran Steve Church when he retires in December, is currently superintendent of the Carroll County Department of Corrections.
He plans to begin the job on Sept. 1 and will work alongside Church until he departs.
Henry, 47, said he was looking for an opportunity to work in a larger facility, as the Carroll County jail in Ossipee is the second-smallest in the state. The jail can hold up to 130 inmates; Rockingham, located in Brentwood, has a capacity closer to 400.
“Rockingham has a positive vibe. They do a lot of good things at the jail,” Henry said Friday.
Henry, who lives in Barnstead, became assistant superintendent in Carroll County in 2013 and was promoted to superintendent in 2014.
Rockingham commissioners described Henry as a progressive leader who established a cognitive-based 90-day rehabilitative transitional in-house treatment program.
“Jason has shown that he is progressive and works in a creative fashion that allows others to thrive. We believe that he will help continue the success that Rockingham County has had, and he will help us guide us in a positive direction for many more years to come,” commissioners said in a joint statement.
Henry began his career as a police officer before switching to education. He was a teacher for several years and rose to administration as a vice principal and interim principal.
Rockingham recently became the second jail in the country that can distribute methadone and is making plans to build a community corrections center and possibly purchase transitional housing for its inmates.
Henry praised the county’s efforts to create a community corrections center and offer transitional housing.
“I’m very much into programs and helping out the inmates,” he said.
Henry joined the Merrimack County Department of Corrections in 2004 and held several positions during his 10 years there. He also taught at the New Hampshire Association of Counties, which named him “Superintendent of the Year” in 2015 and 2017, and is the association’s affiliate president of jail superintendents.
With Henry stepping down, Carroll County is looking to find a replacement. He said the hope is to have someone in place before he leaves, but that he’ll lend a hand if the position isn’t filled until after he’s gone.
“I’ll still help Carroll County,” he said.