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‘DAMN, SH*T, ASS!’ State Parole Board Caught Swearing At Inmates


New Hampshire is a state known for having beautiful mountains, no income tax, no sales tax, no mandatory seatbelt laws, huge state-run liquor stores in highway rest areas, a tough stance on drugs and alcohol, and a “live free or die” mentality.

Add to the list of the state’s various attributes the following:  the state’s adult parole board, which has the “sole authority to grant parole to a New Hampshire state prison inmate” or to “revoke the parole privilege of any person in its custody and recommit that person to the prison” under state administrative rules, got nailed by New Hampshire Public Radio for using strong and profane language in hearings. You can listen to NHPR’s story here (foul language included amidst the standard veneer of NPR politeness):

NHPR reviewed 20 hours of parole board hearings. “Where we expected civility, we found foul language and confrontation,” its reporter noted.

One board member, Jeff Brown, said, “I know I shouldn’t be chewing your a– like this” when addressing an inmate.

Another board member, Leslie Mendenhall, told one inmate:  “I think you’re full of sh-t, and I think you’re trying to sell a nice boat down the river. You’re full of it. You’re full of yourself.”

One defense attorney told NHPR that the board’s conduct was “completely inappropriate” because the board’s job is to help inmates reintegrate into society. “Belittling them . . . it’s just wrong,” he said.

Another said that being polite “is something that is not very difficult to achieve, and is sort of a bare minimum that we should just frankly, expect.”

The board was also caught complaining about medications inmates were taking.

The board is made up of nine members, appointed by the governor, under state statute.  NHPR noted that they are not required to have “training” or “prerequisite experience” other than that three are required to be lawyers.

Minimum training might start by having the New Hampshire parole board watch the parole board scenes in Shawshank Redemption.  That fictitious parole board at least said “please” at the beginning of the exchange.  The only swearing came out of fictitious inmate Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding.

New Hampshire government, like any other government, is not immune from criticism. We here at and other news organizations have previously reported how the state managed to accomplish (?) the following:  it pushed a bill through several legislative steps which accidentally legalized murder; it authored a bill which earned the nickname ‘nation’s first pedophile protection act;’ it had a legislator accused of being a ringleader of online misogynists; it had another who said some women like being in abusive relationships; it had another who posted sexually explicit comments about battered women; it had another who said the Boston Marathon bombings may have been carried out by the U.S. Government; it’s home to Corey Lewandowski, the Trump confidant who said the Bush administration may have deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen; and has a few 9/11 conspiracy theorists and Obama-bashers serving in the legislature. No wonder the Boston Globe said the New Hampshire legislature was home to its own “special cast of characters.”

[Image via the New Hampshire Adult Parole Board Web site.]

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Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."