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 2,745 arrests in the Chattanooga area every year, significantly undermining public safety and well-being.
Except for a small release center for incarcerated women operated by The Next Door, several private providers of sex-offender treatment, and just one halfway house, 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. Making that vision a reality is a collaborative effort that relies upon community resources. To help out or to learn more, please reach out to us at