CONCORD, NH – Governor Chris Sununu signed SB 556 today, delivering comprehensive bail reform to New Hampshire. SB 556 requires judges to consider someone’s financial means when setting bail, and prohibits the detention of people pre-trial simply because they cannot afford bail. Simultaneously, the bill advances public safety by granting courts wider discretion to detain people without bail if they are a threat to themselves or to their community. In addition, the bill streamlines the annulment process.
Statement by Devon Chaffee, executive director of the ACLU-NH: “We applaud Governor Sununu and the bipartisan legislators who came together this year to enact comprehensive bail reform. This achievement builds on the success of debtor’s prison reform last year in further preventing the incarceration of people simply because they are poor. Bail reform is a critical facet of criminal justice reform, as we know that just three days of pre-trial incarceration substantially increases a person’s chances of conviction, receiving a jail sentence, and a longer-term sentence. We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to continue the momentum on comprehensive criminal justice reform.”