Traditionally, transitional housing has been looked upon as facilities for men and women that have been incarcerated. This is just one area of focus for our organization. However it is a large reason why our Founder and CEO, James Settles, established Aphesis House. A key element to the benefit of having an organization like Aphesis House is that Tennessee releases approximately 4,000 (men and women) inmates each year. This reveals an imminent need to thoughtfully plan re-entry support for these men and women in order to help reduce Nashville’s and ultimately the state of Tennessee’s recidivism rate. The Mission of the Tennessee Department of Corrections is “To enhance public safety in Tennessee through the incarceration and rehabilitation of felony offenders. The Vision of the Department is to maintain a standard of excellence in security and corrections through, but not limited to, opportunities for offender rehabilitation to reduce recidivism. Department Goals include:
– By 2013, 70% of all eligible inmates will complete evidence-based release readiness programming prior to release.
– By FY 2015, reduce felony returns to TDOC custody to 38% within three years after release from a TDOC facility.
In November 2004, a man named Harold transitioned from incarceration to Aphesis House. He was incarcerated for 27 years. Upon release at midnight on a Saturday morning, He rode a bus to Nashville, hoping to find a place live. By Monday, he called Aphesis House for assistance. Harold had not eaten in two days and he had no money. Aphesis House agreed to assist him, and after entering our facility and programming, he began working and started his path to a new life. There are other “real life” examples of the benefits of Aphesis House to the Nashville Community. Men like Richard Simon, who was incarcerated for 25 years, was totally blinded while incarcerated, and after transitioning to Aphesis House successfully completed our 90 day program and moved into his own apartment. Through the years, the needs of the population in which we serve have grown tremendously.
IS THERE A NEED FOR TRANSITIONAL HOUSING?
The need for Transitional Housing in Tennessee and in particular Nashville is essential to its overall economic and community development. The following are statistics and projections from the Tennessee Department of Correction from its 2009-2010 Annual Report:
– The Tennessee Department of Correction supervises more than 20,000 inmates and employs more than 5,000 people. There are 14 prisons in the state system, three of which are managed privately. Four out of the 14 state prisons are located in the Nashville area (one being the Tennessee Prison for Women).
– The Tennessee Department of Corrections is projecting that through 2019, Tennessee’s incarcerated population is projected to increase a total of 11.7% (from 26,849 to 29,983) with a mean annual change of 1.0%. The overall growth rate of male felons for the 12-year projection period is 11.1%. The anticipated growth rate for female felons is higher, with a 189.4% increase. Over the next twelve years, it is anticipated that all release that all releases (parole, probation & community corrections, expiration of sentence, and other) will increase by approximately 14.8%, with an average annual change of about 1.5% each year.
The groups targeted for housing and outreach through this project are one of the most under served in services of appropriate housing, pertinent support for recovery and reduction in recidivism, educational and job training, job placement, and follow up resources to help create a foundation of sustainable living long-term. This target group also has the potential to greatly impact our state and local homeless population and unemployment rate among other critical areas. For these reasons and more, the Aphesis House “Forgiveness Center” campus is crucial to the short-term re-entry and long-term self sustainability of men and women released from incarceration.
Currently statistics show:
– The total number of male prisoners has grown 82% since 1990;
– About 1 of 5 state prisoners leave prison with no post-release supervision;
– Most parolees fail and are re-arrested within the first six months after release; and,
– One year after release, as many as 60% of former inmates are not employed in the legitimate labor market.
Nearly all of the 2.1 million people incarcerated in the United States (including the over 20,000 state inmates in Tennessee) will eventually be released.
– People are released from prison or jail with complex needs:
– 3 out of 4 have a substance abuse problem;
– 2 out of 3 lack either a high school diploma or a GED;
– More than 1 out of 3 inmates report some physical or mental disability; and,
– Approximately 1 out of 5 prisoners are released without community supervision.
To date, Aphesis House has provided its services to over 780 men. 72 men received services through Aphesis House during the year 2010. All received birth certificates & Identification; 87% are working and drug free; 12% have received their GED’s and out of the 72 men served 12 were disabled.
This project is funded under a grant contract with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.