AG won't charge correctional officers accused of excessive force

·2 min read

Jun. 2—All fourteen correctional officers named in a use-of-force complaint are back on duty at the New Hampshire State Prison, after the Attorney General's Office declined to charge any of them.

In February, the state Department of Justice's Public Integrity Unit opened an investigation into 11 correctional officers at the state prison, after a prisoner's complaint about two incidents of excessive force. Three more officers were investigated for the way they documented the complaints.

The Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that it would not charge any of the officers because of "the affirmative defenses available to the corrections officers and other evidentiary issues," read a statement from the office. "There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any of the corrections officers involved in these incidents committed any criminal offenses," the statement continued.

The Attorney General's Office did not detail the defenses available to the officers or issues with evidence. In a statement, the Department of Corrections said the officers have to make quick decisions that can affect their safety, and the safety of prisoners.

"Every day, corrections personnel and officers work with potentially dangerous individuals and perform difficult duties in the face of adversity while in a challenging environment," the Department of Corrections statement read.

The 14 officers under investigation had been placed on leave when the Department of Corrections began an internal investigation, which the department said did not uncover any criminal behavior by corrections officers.

On Feb. 9, the state Department of Justice informed Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks of the investigation in a letter dated Feb. 9, and the letter asked Hanks to cease any internal investigation until the criminal investigation is completed.

With the investigation concluded, all 14 officers have returned to work at the state prison.

"All personnel named in the investigation have been returned to full duty," read a statement form the Department of Corrections. "Since the Department has already completed an internal administrative review, no further action is being taken."