Hello World! (As they say)

Community Connections (outside edition) is all about busting stereotypes and helping and ordinary citizens create second chances where they stand. If you're curious about the necessary role of the community in effective reentry and how you can pitch in, sign up to receive our posts

Welcome to Community Connections

We are pleased to introduce you to Community Connections (outside edition). As the name suggests, there is also an “inside edition.” And, as you will probably surmise, the inside edition is for people who are serving time in prison. The outside edition, on the other hand, is for people who are not — and it is all about busting stereotypes and helping people create second chances in the normal course of their daily lives (i.e., where they stand). 

If you’re curious about the irreplaceable role that the community serves in effective reentry and how you can pitch in, you’re in the right place. Just sign up (below) to receive news and information as it is posted. 

Integrative Justice & Community Reengagement

Different people have different ideas about how to address the problems associated with crime in America.  To understand how we enter into these discussions at Chattanooga Endeavors, you need to know something about how we view second chances. We’ll say more about second chances (in the plural) in a future post. For now, however, we want to emphasize our perspective broadly on the system of justice and narrowly on the role of individual members of the community.

We approach our mission of second chances through the lenses of “integrative justice” and positive “community reengagement.” If you’re unfamiliar with those terms, don’t worry. Almost everyone is. That’s because we made them up. But not without reason!

Our view of the complex issues that affect crime and the wide range of often disparate strategies that attempt to manage it in communities across the nation, is informed by our 36 years of service in the field. That is true both of what you might think of as the root cause of crime as well as its long-term effect on people and the places where they live. We have been steadfast in our mission to provide support, resources, access, and hope to individuals from Hamilton County who are living with the disability of a felony conviction. And this experience has convinced us of the irreplaceable — however, mostly overlooked — role of individual citizens in achieving justice.

By “integrative justice” we mean to emphasize the fact that true justice disintegrates when it is divided among its various parts in a zero-sum game. If policing becomes only about arresting, or prosecuting becomes only about convicting, or corrections becomes only about punishing, they will lose sight of their higher shared purpose. The more a system behaves like that, the more individuals are lost to the process and justice is suppressed. That is true of both those who have been convicted of crimes and those who have been harmed by them.

By “community reengagement” we mean to emphasize the fact that the legitimate endgame of justice is unattainable when it is offloaded entirely to the professionals in the field

There have always been passion-driven people advocating publicly for better policies and working for more services for people who are living with felony convictions. But when we speak of the “role of individual citizens,” we are not speaking of them — no disrespect!

We are not calling for more workers in the field, but for more awareness where you stand

What we're likely to write about

You can bet that we’ll write about second chances — what they are, why they’re needed, how they benefit the community that we share. But we’re more likely to consider issues that either undermine or enhance them. Things like the unexpected negative consequences of second chance employment strategies like “ban the box,” the argument against the “free-rider” objection to providing access to public transportation for returning citizens, why “jail house conversions” should be trusted, and the how the requirement for “judicial restoration of civil rights” in Tennessee 

  • Second Chances in Chattanooga: Success stories, local initiatives, and opportunities for involvement.
  • National Trends and Issues: How broader trends in justice and incarceration impact our community members, both during their incarceration and upon their return.
  • Barriers to Reintegration: The challenges faced by returning citizens and how we, as a community, can address and dismantle these obstacles to support successful reentry.

We believe in the power of informed and engaged communities to enact positive change. Thus, we invite you to join us in this endeavor. Sign up, read along, and become an active participant in our shared mission. By spreading the word and sharing posts that resonate with you, you help amplify the message of hope, change, and the vital importance of second chances.

Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive Chattanooga, where every individual has the support and opportunity to thrive after prison. Let’s embark on this journey of education, advocacy, and community building together.

Stay tuned for our first post, and thank you for being a part of this important work.

Join us. Read along. Share widely. Let’s create a future where integrative justice and community reengagement are not just ideals, but realities for all.

Inside Edition

As part of our continuum of care, we have proudly circulated the Community Connections Inside Edition, a printed newsletter that reaches the hands of our community members currently serving time in Tennessee prisons. This publication serves as a beacon of connection, education, and encouragement, reinforcing our belief in second chances and the power of community support.

We mail the inside edition to people from the Chattanooga area who are incarcerated in state or federal prisons, while the outside edition is available here for anyone else who is interested. 

With the launch of the Community Connections Outside Edition, we aim to bridge the gap between those inside and outside the prison walls, creating a shared space for dialogue, education, and advocacy. Through this blog, we will post 1-2 times a month, delving into topics that are crucial to understanding and enhancing the journey of reintegration and the broader implications of incarceration on individuals and our community.

Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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