Community Commentary in Response to Articles Re: HOC COVID cases 5-18-20

May 18, 2020


Fosters’ Daily Democrat/Seacoast Online News

Union Leader


Community Commentary Section

Dear Editor:

Over the last several years, the Strafford County House of Corrections (HOC) has developed into a model facility recognized throughout the region for its fair treatment of incarcerated individuals. This treatment includes outstanding medical care for which the facility has been recognized with two (2) Outstanding Achievement Awards, Programming, including General Education Development (GED), now known as HI SET, where sixty to seventy (60 to 70) inmates per year secure their high school equivalency diploma, and a comprehensive Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for those inmates who come to us sick with drug additions. In addition, the HOC dedicates separate physical space to administer educational programs that includes the Therapeutic Community for drug addicted male offenders and the Women’s Recovery Center for drug addicted female offenders. This comprehensive three (3) phase (minimum twelve [12] week program) focuses on helping the addicted person better understand their addiction and how to best combat their illness. All of these treatment efforts complement the excellent staff and leadership at the facility.

A Court battle has ensued over the last few weeks regarding the HOC’s holding of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inmates at the facility. The HOC has, for some time, been a host site for civil immigration detainees making their way through the Federal process of deportation.   We take pride in the fact that we can offer these persons a safe and humane place on their journey through the system.  We view that as good government “doing the right thing.”  But this case has been published front and center recently, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This court case has somehow turned the Strafford County House of Corrections from being viewed by both independent third party auditors and judges at the state and federal levels as a model facility for others to emulate, into a scapegoat for the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) long-held position that all ICE detainees everywhere in the United States should be released immediately.

What is not reported by those who seek to gain from this situation are the many extraordinary steps taken by Strafford County to keep all persons in its care safe.   As an example, we went through the extraordinary measure of testing over 400 County Complex employees to determine if they were asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers. Instead of recognizing this measure and being praised for this move to

protect nursing home residents, inmates, co-workers, and employees’ families, the facility was vilified for the one (1) employee who was identified as an asymptomatic carrier. What is ignored is that fact that it was the forethought and preparedness of the HOC that caught the symptoms of the positive employee before any other staff or inmate was placed in harm’s way.  Through adherence to best practices and the abundance of voluntary testing, this employee had no inmate contact. The facility was also chastised when a new inmate was diagnosed with COVID-19. The negative ACLU comments were generated even before everyone learned that the system created by the facility to combat any spread of COVID-19 was successful in quarantining the inmate upon admission so there was NO inmate contact and NO staff exposure. The system worked, again, owing to dedication to best medical practices, excellent staff training, and fidelity to our overall mission of caring for those in our custody. But that was not recognized by the ACLU’s pleadings or public comments. One only hopes that this lack of recognition was not ignored because it did not meet the ACLU’s legal or political goals.  

The HOC does not have the power or authority to choose who to accept, or not accept, when arrestees are brought in by area law enforcement officials. What can be expected of the HOC is to safely manage any health threat. They did so in the cases of the two positive instances noted here, as well as several other unreported instances of false self-reportings previously.  For all of these instances of managing this pandemic that has stymied the entire world in a professional manner, we believe our HOC should be recognized for its efforts, and commended for them.   When so many other institutions have been ravaged by the effects of COVID 19, our HOC continues to be a safe place for those housed there.

We support the ACLU and their mission. Who wouldn’t support an agency whose job is to support the United States Constitution? We also have jails for a reason, and our county has been a national model for diversion and rehabilitation in that jail where appropriate.  But we do implore this agency to use the facts accurately and completely as it makes public comments about its court case, and not use a great facility as their scapegoat in an effort to get the desired end result for that case or a larger political agenda.  We have too many dedicated people working too hard here for our County to not speak out on their behalf, and to show all of the good things that they are doing to keep the inmate population safe, and as a result, all of us in Strafford County safer.

Very truly yours,

                                                George Maglaras

                                                George Maglaras, Chairman


                        Robert J. Watson

                                                Robert J. Watson, Vice Chairman


                        Deanna S. Rollo

                                                Deanna S. Rollo, Clerk




Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Strafford County Courthouse will be closed to the public, with the following exceptions:

  • Individuals who need to do business with Circuit and Superior Court clerk’s offices;

  • Individuals involved in court hearings permitted by the New Hampshire Supreme Court Order dated March 16, 2020; and

  • Individuals with pre-approved business with County or State personnel.

For those entering the Courthouse, a brief survey will be conducted to ensure the health and safety of yourself and personnel.

All essential State and County personnel will be allowed into the building to conduct business. Please be supportive and patient as we work together to fight this pandemic and keep our personnel safe. We thank you in advance for your support and cooperation.

Based on the potential devastating effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), we are taking all steps suggested by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to deter the disease’s progress. Strafford County’s Team has been working diligently and the closure of the Courthouse was determined the best course of action to continue to protect staff from the likely spread of the Corona virus (Covid-19).

                                                                        Raymond F. Bower

                                                                        Raymond F. Bower

                                                                        County Administrator



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From Left to Right: Michael Garcia, JIP, Jim Brown, Charlie Griffith, Vigilant Inc., Commissioners Maglaras, Watson and Rollo 

The Strafford County Commissioners, along with primary partners of Vigilant, Incorporated of Dover, are pleased to announce a public/private partnership for the production of First Responder Face Shields. At this time, 10,000 face shields will be produced, 650 of them going to our nursing, corrections, and security staff at the County.

Vigilant Incorporated Charles Griffiths and Jim Brown were present at the Strafford County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 9, 2020 to meet with the Commissioners and Michael Garcia, Director of the Jail Industries Program to “seal the deal” on the contract for services. Vigilant, located at 85 Industrial Park Drive in Dover, New Hampshire operates a specialty woodwork business, but has shifted some of its production capacity to produce 10,000 NIH-approved face shields using a crowd-sourced design from a consortium of manufacturers.

Strafford County Commissioner George Maglaras praised the agreement as a true community service to help protect all first responders. The partnership allows the face shields to be produced at a substantially lower price. Jail Industries Program Director Michael Garcia stated that the inmates working in this program and making the shields are very pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the community.

We continue to take great measures to protect our nursing home residents, detainees/ inmates at the House of Corrections, and our employees. These measures include following all Federal and State recommended infection precautions and consist of employee screening prior to entering the work place, the use of masks, face shields, and other preventative gear (PPE) beyond the basic recommendations, and good hand sanitizing.

Remember to keep all employees who are working hard to keep you and those they serve safe during these challenging times in your thoughts and prayers. We are in this together and we will get through this together.

Strafford County Commissioners

George Maglaras, Chairman
Robert J. Watson, Vice Chairman
Deanna S. Rollo, Clerk


Welcome you to the Strafford County website. Whether you are a current, past, or prospective resident, we hope you enjoy your visit to our virtual home.

County Functions and Responsibilities

The County is currently responsible for: Caring for the elderly in need of nursing home care at Riverside Rest Home; operating a regional jail/house of correction, together with a jail industries program, community corrections program, drug and mental health courts, and a transitional housing program; the County Attorney oversees and provides for the prosecution of criminals; operates a domestic violence unit, child advocacy center, and family justice center; the Sheriff oversee and handles the transportation of criminals, delivery of writs and other Court-related paperwork, operates a Communications and Dispatch Center, and oversees Courthouse security; the Register of Deeds is responsible for the recording of official land transfer documents at the Registry; the Treasurer, together with the Commissioners, oversee the payment of all County financial obligations; as well as a variety of other community-related programs to assist the citizens of the County.

County Government’s Structure

The structure of County government today is modeled after a basic three-branch system of government. The three County Commissioners make up the Executive branch, with responsibility for the day‑to‑day operations of County government, in both fiscal and policy matters. In Strafford County, the Commissioners are elected for two-year terms, at large, meaning from anywhere in Strafford County.

By virtue of election to the State House, a Representative also becomes a member of the County Delegation, which in many counties meets several times a year. The Delegation works primarily on matters of budgeting, exercising its responsibility for appropriating money for County use, which makes up the Legislative branch of County government. It is likely that relatively few New Hampshire voters realize that when they elect their Representatives to the State House of Representatives they are also making them the legislative authority of their County.

Current County Events

Strafford County is made up of three cities: Dover, Rochester, and Somersworth; and ten towns: Barrington, Durham, Farmington, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Rollinsford, and Strafford, and is home to approximately 125,000 citizens. There are ten (10) counties in New Hampshire, of which Strafford County is the fourth largest in population. According to the 2010 Census the County's population was estimated at 123,143, with 80% of the population over the age of 18 and a median age of approximately 34. Strafford County's estimated racial/ethnic composition in 2010 was 94% White, 1% Black or African American, 3% Asian, and 0.2% American Indian or Alaskan Native, with the remainder of the population being made up of small percentages of other races. Individuals of Hispanic or Latino origin comprised almost 2% of the County’s population. There were 46,576 households reported in 2006-2010. The Census also found that the median household income in the County was $57,809.

A Brief History of Strafford County Government

County Government in New Hampshire began in 1771 with five (5) counties: Rockingham, Strafford, Hillsborough, Cheshire, and Grafton. Strafford County was organized at Dover in 1771 and was named after William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford. Today, the County borders on Belknap, Carroll, Merrimack, and Rockingham Counties in New Hampshire and York County in Maine. The Court system was once a part of County Government, but is now operated by the State of New Hampshire. Roads, which were also previously the responsibility of the County, are now cared for by the State of New Hampshire or the city or town in which they are located. The State Department of Health and Human Services provides services to assist families and juveniles with behavior problems. These services were also provided by the County at one time.

We hope this little synopsis of County government has enlightened you as to the workings at this level of government in New Hampshire. For further information on individual offices and departments within the County, please go to their web page.


Very truly yours,

Strafford County Commissioners

George Maglaras

George Maglaras, Chairman

 Robert J. Watson

Robert J. Watson, Vice Chairman

 Deanna Rollo

 Deanna Rollo, Clerk


The Ospreys are Back at the Strafford County Complex!

May 16, 2019 (updated from May 19, 2014)

On October 16, 2003, a UNH Thompson School college crew supervised by A.J. Dupere placed a new Osprey nest platform 64 feet up in a 20.5 inch diameter live white pine located next to the Cocheco River at the Strafford County Farm property in Dover.  A sheet metal flashing wrap was installed as a predator guard.  Those involved were UNH Cooperative Extension forester Don Black, NH Audubon raptor biologist Chris Martin, Forester A.J. Dupere and five forestry students, Public Service of NH Environmental Department employees Dick Dumore and John Libby, and 2003-2004 Strafford County Commissioners George Maglaras, Ronald Chagnon, and Calvin Schroeder.

Chris Martin gives the late Don Black full credit for the idea of establishing the Osprey nest platform.

The platform was occupied annually from 2004 until 2015. Data obtained since 2005 was gathered by NH Audubon volunteer Dan Hubbard. From 2004-2015, 9 of 12 nesting attempts were successful. A total of 20 young fledged. The 2007, 2014 and 2015 attempts failed during incubation. After the last two failures, in May of 2016, Chris Martin and Dan Hubbard replaced the predator guard that had fallen off the tree. The Osprey, however, did not subsequently use the platform for nesting. 

In March of 2018, it was determined that the Osprey nest platform was in poor condition and would need to be repaired or replaced. After approval from County Administration, Dan Hubbard, with input from County Forester Andrew Fast and Chris Martin, pursued this objective. It was decided that a new nest platform would be most feasible and a new site on the conserved property was chosen. Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon member Richard Bickford volunteered to build a new platform with funding provided by the Chapter. Richard contacted Eversource, who agreed to donate the installation of a pole to support the nest platform.

The new Osprey nest platform was erected on Feb. 26, 2019 under frigid and blustery conditions. A hardy crew from Eversource subcontractor JCR Construction Company, Inc. of Raymond performed the pole installation. Richard's wife Sue Bickford created a short video of the process that can be viewed at the end of this presentation.

In May, 2019, a pair of Osprey has returned from migration and built a nest on the new platform. They are incubating eggs and hopefully will successfully fledge young this year and many years in the future.

Dan Hubbard has coincidentally developed a wildlife list for the conservation property that includes 171 species of birds as well as lists of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, butterflies, and damselflies/dragonflies. He can provide these lists to anyone interested,

Commissioners George Maglaras, Bob Watson, and Deanna Rollo, thanked all those involved in the efforts to repair and re-install the Osprey nest platform this year for their hard work at ensuring that the Osprey return to Strafford County to nest along the Cocheco River.


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Strafford Co Farm Ospreys 5 16 19 by Chris Martin

The Strafford County Commissioners Wish to Thank:

Richard Bickford, Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon

Sue Bickford Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon

David Blezard

Troy Chabot, CWP

Hank Chary

Tom Chase

Doug Dawley, Scout Master

Andy Fast, Cooperative Extension

Daniel Hubbard

Ann Kimball

Maria K. Letourneau, Eversource

Chris Martin Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon

Matt Moreau, Project Manager, JCR Construction Company

Alan Murray, Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon

Robert and Robbie Prieto

Quinn Santos Boy Scout

Al Stewart

Damaris Stoddard

Sam Stoddard, Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon

Kyle Wilmarth



  1. 1. Call Meeting to Order: Chairman Schmidt called the Public Meeting of the Strafford County Delegation to order at 10:10 a.m. in the Activities Department, Riverside Rest Home, 276 County Farm Road, Dover, New Hampshire.
  1. 2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: Representative Southworth led the Delegation in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
  1. 3. Moment of Silence: The Pledge was followed by a moment of silence in honor of the late Commissioner Leo Lessard.
  1. 4. Read Notice of Public Meeting: Acting Clerk Miccolo read the Notice of the Public Meeting.
  1. 5. Roll Call: Acting Clerk Miccolo called the roll, which showed the following members present:


        PRESENT:     Berube, Bixby, Burton, Ellis, Fontneau, Frost, Graham, Grassie,  Horgan, Horrigan, Kaczynski, Krans, McNally, Mullen, Opderbecke, Pitre, Salloway, Schmidt, Scruton, Smith, Southworth, Spencer, Wall, and Wuelper (24 of 37)

        EXCUSED:     Gourgue, Phinney, Turcotte, and Vincent (4)

        ABSENT:       Beaudoin, Conley, Cilley, Harrington, Keans,   Sandler, Spang, and Treleaven (8)

        ABSTAIN:      Sprague (1).

        Also present were Strafford County Commissioners George Maglaras, and Watson, County Attorney Thomas Velardi, County Administrator Ray Bower, Jean Miccolo, Administrative Assistant, Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard, and Senator David Watters, Commissioner Candidates: James Bubar, Elizabeth Fischer, Derek Peters, Deanna Rollo, Dale Sprague, and David Stevens, as well as other members of the public.

  1. 6. Introduce Candidates: Chairman Schmidt welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. He introduced the six (6) candidates present who have stated that they would like to serve out the remainder of the late Commissioner Leo Lessard’s term if elected by the Delegation. The term will go through next January, when the person who is elected to the position in November officially takes office. All will have the opportunity to run in the election if they so desire; this does not preclude them from that opportunity.
  1. 7. Introductory Speeches by Candidates: Chairman Schmidt asked each candidate to introduce themselves and speak for up to three (3) minutes as to their backgrounds and reason for seeking this office, if they so desired.
  • •1. Elizabeth “Beth” Fischer from Dover: Ms. Fischer spoke briefly about her background and reasons for wanting to run for the County Commissioner position.
  • •2. James Bubar from Durham: Mr. Bubar spoke briefly about his background and reasons for wanting to run for the County Commissioner position.
  • •3. Deanna Rollo, Rollinsford: Ms. Rollo spoke briefly about her background and reasons for wanting to run for the County Commissioner position.
  • •4. Dale Sprague, Somersworth: Mr. Sprague spoke briefly about his background and reasons for wanting to run for the County Commissioner position.
  • •5. David Stevens, Rochester: Mr. Stevens spoke briefly about his background and reasons for wanting to run for the County Commissioner position.
  • •6. Derek Peters, Rochester: Mr. Peters spoke briefly about his background and reasons for wanting to run for the County Commissioner position.



Page 2

  1. 8. Question and Answer Period: Chairman Schmidt noted that the seating order for the candidates was decided by drawing the numbers 1 through 6 from an official Patriots hat. Questions could be asked at random to all or any of the candidates. The following Representatives asked questions, which were responded to by each candidate. It was noted that there were no questions received via e-mail from Delegation members that were unable to attend.

        Questions were asked by the following representatives in the order listed: Representatives Bixby, McNally, Burton, Wall, Smith, Schmidt, Wuelper, Kaczynski, and Bixby (follow-up question). Each candidate replied, starting in the order listed above, 1 to 6, and the next question, 6 to 1, and so on for each subsequent question.

        For further details and to hear a recording of the questions and answers, please visit the following link, wherein a recording of the meeting is available for public review.

(left click mouse to play the audio file or copy and paste into your browser)

Chairman Schmidt asked if there were any further questions that anyone wished to ask. There being none, he closed the question and answer period of the meeting.

  1. 9. Thank Candidates & Public: Chairman Schmidt thanked the candidates, the Delegation members and other elected officials, as well as members of the County staff and the public for their interest and for coming to the meeting.
  1. 10. Other Business That May Legally Come Before the Delegation: Chairman Schmidt asked if there was any further discussion. He reminded everyone that the election process for the Commissioner’s position will take place next Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., in Superior Courtroom II of the Strafford County Courthouse. There was no further business brought up by anyone in attendance. [NOTE: The date of the next meeting was subsequently changed to Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., same location).
  1. 11. Adjournment: With no further business, Rep. Scruton motioned to adjourn the meeting at 11:45 a.m. The motion was seconded by Representative Horrigan and was approved unanimously on voice vote.

                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,


                                                                                                Jean Miccolo, Acting, Clerk


                           Strafford County collects and maintains extensive employment data by race, national origin, and sex which is reported to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Civil Rights via the Equal Employment Opportunity Plan Utilization Report.  An employee may obtain a copy of this report by contacting the Strafford County Commissioners’ Office.


DATE:                    June 12, 2017

NH Bureau of Education Celebrates Nearly 150 Graduates

Concord, NH  --  On June 2, 2017, the New Hampshire Bureau of Education and Training (BET) recognized the achievements of 25 graduates from the Bureau’s 2017 Certified Public Managers program at a ceremony held at the New  Hampshire Police Standards and Training facility in Concord. Graduates were joined by family and friends to celebrate their achievements.

Keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony was Victoria Sheehan, Commissioner of the NH Department of Transportation. Dennis Martino, BET Professor Emeritus and member of the National Certified Public Manager Consortium, presented the Askew Award recognizing an exemplary Certified Public Manager capstone project to Denise Morin of Strafford County for her project entitled “Creation and Implementation of an All Hazards Emergency Action Plan” for the civilian employees of Strafford County.

As with any graduation, the highlight for the students is the student speakers. Jason Henry, Carroll County House of Corrections, the CPM student speaker, solidified the connection between the students and the faculty with humorous antidotes and invitations for continued post-graduation networking.

Twenty-five (25) graduates completed the requirements of the NH Certified Public Manager (CPM) program, a competency-based program designed to develop the best practices in public management and leadership. Their work included more than 300 hours of classroom instruction over 2 years plus the completion of a capstone project. These students presented their projects at a Symposium in May. The Symposium is the culminating student experience in the NH CPM program and is designed to showcase their work in the areas of process improvement in their organizations. Their projects included innovations in training and workforce development and efficiency in state, municipal and county government.

The NH Bureau of Education and Training (BET) provides quality education, training and development services to meet the needs of New Hampshire’s public and nonprofit employees. Students in certificate programs and professional development courses learn best practices in management, supervision, and leadership. Graduates apply course principles and improve quality, productivity and effectiveness in government services for the benefit of the State’s citizens and customers.

NH Bureau of Education and Training


The NH Bureau of Education and Training (BET) builds capacity for innovation, effectiveness and professionalism in New Hampshire’s public managers and leaders. For more information on programs, contact Ginger Lever at 603-271-2793.



NH Bureau of Education and Training 2017 Graduates


Certified Public Manager Program

Drouin, Beverly

DHHS: Public Health-DHHS: Public Health

Warr, William

DES:Environmental Serv Dept Of-DES:Environmental Serv,Dept Of

Ladieu, Jeffrey

Safety Dept Of-DOS:Division Of State Police

Welvaert, Jacqueline

Administrative Serv Dept Of-DAS:Division Of Personnel

Robichaud, Krista

Transportation Dept Of-DOT:Transportation, Dept Of

Gray, Trisha

Transportation Dept Of-DOT:Transportation, Dept Of

Lucas, Tiffany

City Of Manchester-City Of Manchester

Salomone-Abood, Melinda

City Of Manchester-City Of Manchester

Clark, Amy

Education Dept of-DOE:Education, Dept Of

Radke, Lori

Town of Bedford-Town of Bedford

Allen, Dawn

Bank Commission-Bank Commission

Burke, Nancy

Bank Commission-Bank Commission

Henry, Jason

Carroll County House of Corrections-Carroll County House of Corrections

Razin, Loretta

Administrative Serv Dept Of-DAS:Bur Plant/prop Management

Edelmann, Jillian

Transportation Dept Of-DOT:Transportation, Dept Of

Shute, Ronald

Liquor Commission-LIQ:Liquor Commission

Morin, Denise

Strafford County-Strafford County

Louis, Karen

Safety Dept Of-DOS:Div Of Fire Standard/trng/

Cotnoir, Janelle

Education Dept of-DOE:Education, Dept Of

Webber, Meghan

Education Dept of-DOE:Vocational Rehabilitation

McGorry, Brandon

Safety Dept Of-DOS:Div Of Emergency Communica

L'Esperance, Alicia

DHHS:Developmental Serv Div Of-DHHS:Developmental Serv, D

Wyman, Daniel

DHHS:Glencliff Home For Elderly-DHHS:Glencliff Home For El

Brooks, Jon

Safety Dept Of-DOS:Div Of Emergency Communica

Blixt, Matthew

Transportation Dept Of-DOT:Bureau Of Turnpikes

SCDOC Frequently Asked Questions


Click on a question to drop down to the answer.

1. Mailing Address
2. Can I mail a care package to an inmate?
3. How do I place money on an inmate’s account?
4. How do I sign up for a visit?
5. I am interested in a job as a corrections officer, what do I need to do?
6. I have a question that isn’t listed, how do I contact the jail?
Mailing Address 

We do not accept any mail for inmates without prior approval, For inquiries the mailing address is: 

Strafford County HOC

266 County Farm Rd

Dover, NH 03820

You may email inmates through the Connect Network.They will be able to send a response to your email. 

Can I mail a care package to an inmate?

We do not accept care packages.  Books may be mailed directly from the publisher, distributor or clearinghouse directly to the Programs Department.  All books become the property of the HOC but the inmate who they are sent in for will be given first read of the books.  Please make sure the intended recipient is referenced on the invoice.


How do I place money on an inmate’s account?

You may do it in person, through the cash kiosk in the Bail/Release Lobby, through a money order mailed to the facility or with a credit card on line through; a fee will be charged for the cash kiosk or an on line deposit. Money orders should be made payable to Strafford County Commissary with the inmate’s name in the ‘Memo’ section.

How do I sign up for a visit?
Inmates are responsible for signing up for visiting times; it is the inmate’s responsibility to notify you of the visiting time. If you would like to check to see if the visit is scheduled, you may call the jail at (603) 742-3310 after 8AM the day of the visit to check; you may also check to make sure you are on the visiting list at that time.  For a full list of visiting rules, including dress code, please click here.
I am interested in a job as a corrections officer, what do I need to do?
For a complete list of job requirements and to download an application, click here.  You may also pick up an application at the Reception desk between 8 AM and 7PM.
I have a question that isn’t listed, how do I contact the jail?
You may call the jail 24 hours a day at (603)742-3310 or email the facility by clicking here.