Something is not right with bail reform in New Hampshire. That much is clear from the continuing concerns expressed by various police departments and the pushback from civil rights advocates, who say the police are overreacting.
Individuals who couldn’t afford bail were, before the new law, jailed until their arraignment. Now, when arrested for non-violent crimes, they are quickly set free, and often rearrested for either the same crime or for failing to appear in court for the initial charge.
There is an argument to be made that selling dangerous drugs (meth, for one) is a recipe for violence, even if the act itself is technically not. Sooner or later, someone using that substance is going to injure someone.
The cost in manpower for police to keep rearresting the same individuals is higher than it may look. Each hour spent in this game is an hour not spent chasing down other criminals.
Bail reform was passed last year with much fanfare but it was clear from the start that it was a flawed bill. An attempt this year in the Legislature to fix it hasn’t done so.
The next legislative session is a long way off. Gov. Chris Sununu, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Chief Justice Tina Nadeau of the Superior Court are three bright and capable people. They ought to be able to get together and come up with an interim plan to address what has become a serious issue for our state.