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Leeland Eisenberg arrested in Manchester after walking away from halfway house

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 07. 2013 9:52PM


MANCHESTER — The man who took hostages at a New Hampshire Hillary Clinton campaign office in 2007 walked away from a halfway house in Manchester Sunday but was arrested this morning in the lobby of the Manchester Community Resource Center.


Leeland Eisenberg, 52, was arrested just before 8:30 a.m. without incident after officers were sent to the center for a report that the wanted man was there.


They found Eisenberg sitting in the lobby inside the 434 Lake Ave. center, about 1.2 miles away from the 126 Lowell St. halfway house. They arrested him on a charge of escape.


Eisenberg, 52, was placed on walkaway status at 3 p.m. from the halfway house, known as the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit, after a population count that determined he was not in his room, Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons said.


"We don't consider him dangerous," Lyons said.


A call to Calumet House on Sunday was not returned.


Eisenberg was sentenced to 3 1/2- to seven years in May 2010 after a judge ruled he had violated his probation by cutting off a pair of monitoring anklets and testing positive for cocaine and alcohol. He was approved for work release in October 2012 and transferred to the halfway house on Jan. 31.


Lyons said Eisenberg has not found a job and on Sunday did not have permission to leave the premises.


His sentence originally stemmed from Eisenberg 's conviction for taking several hostages at Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign office in Rochester in November 2007. He strapped road flares to his body using duct tape and claimed he had a bomb. The case drew national attention.


Lyons said Eisenberg was eligible for parole in August, but he could face an additional 3 1/2 to seven years for escape.


"It's always a shame when inmates do something like this so close to their parole date," Lyons said.


In an unpublished Letter to the Editor at the New Hampshire Union Leader, dated Feb. 1, 2013, Eisenberg praised the state's Department of Corrections for its "unique and innovative approach" to deal with mentally ill prisoners. He said the prison places the most seriously ill in its Secured Psychiatric Unit at the N.H. Prison for Men in Concord, while the others are referred to a new experimental "Mental Health Block" for 70 prisoners at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin. Eisenberg said he and other prisoners received very intensive, comprehensive mental health treatment by a team of trained and dedicated mental health professionals. Prisoners, he said, are followed by a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, social worker and corrections counselor, and assigned to weekly group therapy.


He said the program was implemented within the corrections budget and without any additional taxpayers' dollars and resulting in meaninful effective treatment and stabilizing otherwise unstable, dangerous individuals, making it safer for the statff, faculty and our communities upon the prisoner's release.


He suggested the program's approach be used in schools, creating classrooms designated for students with mental and emotional problems, providing early intervention and treatment alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. Hopefully, he said, preventing another Newtown, Conn., in our own backyard.


After signing the letter, he added: "I'm Leeland Einseberg, I know from where I speak. I am a state prisoner with mental illness and a receipient (cq) of this treatment, who's (cq) success will be measured by the harm I don't cause in the future."


What's next: Eisenberg was expected to be arraigned today in 9th Circuit Court, Manchester District Division, but a release from Manchester Police around 10:30 a.m. indicated he will not be arraigned today as initially anticipated. Police spokesman Lt. Maureen Tessier said Eisenberg will be transported back to N.H. State Prison and arraigned at a future, unspecified date.


(Staff reporter Pat Grossmith contributed to this article.)

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