From the Boston Globe comes confirmation that the Federal Prison Camp in Berlin, New Hampshire has begun accepting prisoners:
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says a new federal prison in New Hampshire is expected to be housing inmates.
Shaheen congratulated the staff at the Berlin prison on Thursday as she said they started minimum security operations.
Shaheen said inmates would start arriving at the prison on Thursday, and more would arrive throughout the month.
A prison officer would not say whether the inmates had arrived.
Shaheen says the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has hired 115 staff for the prison and nine more are expected to be hired by the end of September.
The prison can hold about 1,700 inmates.
The prison will house medium and minimum security inmates; federal Bureau of Prison officials have said many of them will be serving sentences for drug- and firearms-related crimes.
While the need to grow bed space for minimum-security prisoners, who can be safely and more constructively managed in the community, is open to serious debate, the fact is that for many federal offenders from the Northeast and their loved ones, the opening of the Berlin complex is welcome news if for no other reason than it increases the odds that individuals can be housed close to home.
Proximity to home has long been a problem for male prisoners from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, especially minimum-security prisoners. While Devens, in Ayer, Massachusetts, offers minimum-security beds, its primary mission is as a Federal Medical Center, meaning that the camp is a Care Level 3 facility. FPC Otisville (NY) is a relatively small camp and the de facto institution for the BOP’s minimum-security Orthodox Jewish population. Consequently, a significant percentage of prisoners from the Northeast find themselves designated to one of the BOP’s six Pennsylvania locations(not counting the Moshannon Valley contract facility or FDC Philadelphia, which has a minimum-security work cadre for female offenders) or to Fort Dix or Fairton in New Jersey, and, these days, that is if they are lucky.