A Desert Among Tennessee Cities
Last year, Tennessee prisons released 549 Hamilton County residents from custody to the community (TDOC, Statistical Abstract, 2018, Extrap.). Although this is a relatively small segment of the total offender population, it has a disproportionate effect on public safety. In fact, according to a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report, 5 in 6 prisoners will be arrested within 9 years of their release. They are arrested an average of 5 times each. And more than half of these arrests happen after most recidivism studies end (i.e., years 4 through 9). This pattern of failure accounts for an estimated 2,615 arrests in the Chattanooga area every year and significantly undermines public safety and well-being in our community.
Except for a small prison for women operated at Moccasin Bend by Nashville-based The Next Door and a single half-way house managed by Church of the Firstborn, there are no specialized services for released prisoners in the Chattanooga area. By comparison, there are 7 halfway houses in Knoxville, 15 in Memphis, and 25 in Nashville, where there are also numerous nonprofit organizations dedicated to prison reentry as well as state-funded community resource centers and day reporting centers.
In a city that is internationally known for collaboration and transformation, the absence of prisoner reentry services is a distinct reality that does not reflect the sense of place that is Chattanooga.
We have a vision for something different — for a day when legitimate second chances are accessible to all former offenders and their loved ones in the Chattanooga area — to bring an end to the vicious cycle of crime and corrections that is fueled needlessly by closed doors and dead ends. However, like all true social justice, realizing this vision will take a collaborative effort that relies on a diversity of human gifts — and you.
Donations to our Alliance Campaign will help to establish a comprehensive reentry strategy that is based on our 32 years of service to the Chattanooga community, the lessons learned from our nationally recognized employment program, advances in understanding about what works in reentry, and an exceptionally well seasoned team of industry experts and former offenders who know how to deliver programs that engage and change former offenders. This project will include strategic collaborations with criminal justice entities, human services providers, private employers, philanthropists, researchers — and community volunteers.
Making A Difference
The goal for our Alliance Campaign is $310,000 to hire the staff and implement the systems need to provide reentry services to 200 Tennessee prisoners returning the the Chattanooga area. Please consider helping us to reach this goal with a sustaining, simple, or challenge gift. For more information, download the Case document below or call Tim Dempsey at (423) 266-1888.
We are unable to do anything much without material assistance from people who believe in our mission second chances and who value our work with former offenders. Give once and you’re done with a simple gift to our Alliance Campaign.
By marking your gift to recur, you will become a sustaining donor and your gift will continue to support our mission of second chances even after we have achieved our Alliance Campaign goal.
Encourage others to match your generosity by making a challenge gift. Your donation will be set aside until it is matched dollar for dollar by other gifts to the Alliance Campaign.
Chattanooga Endeavors is a charitable organization recognized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. To the extent allowable by law, your donation is tax-deductible and will help us to continue our work to provide second chances to former offenders and their families.
To donate by mail, make your check payable to Chattanooga Endeavors, Inc., and send it to:
Chattanooga Endeavors, Inc.
Elaine Byers, Treasurer
Post Office Box 3351
Chattanooga, TN 37404-0351
For more information, contact Tim Dempsey at or (423) 266-1888.