(Host) Robert Tulloch and James Parker are now in the hands of the New Hampshire Prison system. The two Vermont teenagers were sentenced last week for the murders of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop.
VPR’s Steve Zind has this look at how the system will deal with the two young offenders.
(Zind) Tulloch was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Parker was given 25 years to life. The same day they were sentenced, the two were moved to the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord.
They’re being held in an area called the Reception and Diagnostic Unit. Jeffrey Lyons is a spokesman for the Corrections Department:
(Lyons) "They are being housed in the same building, but not in the same unit. They’re in different tiers of the building. Probably both of them have a roommate of some kind. They have very limited time to come and go at this point in time. They are locked down a majority of the time."
(Zind) Lyons says neither teen will be allowed visitors for up to two weeks. He says prison officials will evaluate Tulloch and Parker to determine if either presents a risk to himself or to others.
Because they were accomplices and because Parker had agreed to testify against Tulloch, Lyons says one of them may be transferred to another facility in New Hampshire, or to an out-of-state prison. Eventually they’ll join the regular prison population and be assigned jobs:
(Lyons) "Any inmate under the age of 21 who comes to the New Hampshire State Prison is normally assigned to education as his job, anyway. Eventually, both Mr. Parker and Mr. Tulloch will have some sort of job within the facility. It could be anything Â¿ working in an office, it could be working on the grounds."
(Zind) Lyons says in prison, all ages intermingle. Ted Kirkpatrick is director of Justiceworks at the University of New Hampshire, which researches crime and justice issues in Northern New England. He says in a prison environment, the age disparity can create conflict over small differences like tastes in music:
(Kirkpatrick) "When you take several hundred men, incarcerate them in a single-sex institution in closed quarters, where their daily life is marked by high levels of routine and regimentation and monotony, there’s a lot of interpersonal conflict that can arise over relatively small things."
(Zind) About two dozen 17 and 18 year olds enter the New Hampshire prison system each year. Kirkpatrick says for those serving long terms, growing up in prison is very different from maturing in the outside world:
(Kirkpatrick) "The range of experience to which they’re exposed is truncated. They will have access through television and newspapers to news of the outside world, but they have no contact with the outside world. In some ways, they become sort of human anachronisms."
(Zind) Kirkpatrick says if James Parker is released from prison in 25 years, he’s likely to have a very difficult time adjusting to a different world from the one he grew up in.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.