Timothy Dempsey, CEO of Chattanooga Endeavors Inc. has “15 years of experience working and living with former offenders.” Originally from Washington, D.C., Dempseys holds an M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee along with a Master of Arts Degree. Chattanooga Endeavors Inc. is an organization that, “coordinates closely with the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole in providing re-entry services to offenders coming home to Hamilton County area,” according to a report entitled Crime in Chattanooga .
Pew Trust Crime Studies:
The Pew Trust Study from February 2008 found that more than 1 in 100 Adults were behind bars in America. In March of 2010 Pew Trust released a new study, “Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years.”
In fact, there were 4,777 less inmates than there were as of December, 2008.
This marks the first year-to-year drop in the nation’s state prison population since 1972. While the study showed an overall decline, it revealed great variation among jurisdictions. The prison population declined in 26* states, while increasing in 24* states and in the federal system.
The article quotes Adam Gelb of Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States to say:
“These numbers highlight just how much the decisions by state policy makers impact the size and cost of prison systems.”
In absolute numbers, California’s state inmate count fell the most, shedding 4,257 prisoners in 2009. This follows a decline of 612 prisoners in 2008. Five other states experienced total reductions of more than 1,000 prisoners: Michigan (3,260), New York (1,699), Maryland (1,315), Texas (1,257) and Mississippi (1,233).
“The decline is happening for several reasons, but an important contributor is that states began to realize there are research-based ways they can cut their prison populations while continuing to protect public safety,” said Gelb. “In the past few years, several states have enacted reforms designed to get taxpayers a better return on their public safety dollars.”
Common policy options included diverting low-level offenders and probation and parole violators from prison, strengthening community supervision and reentry programs, and accelerating the release of non-violent inmates who complete risk reduction programs. –Pew Center on the States
Crime Rates in Tennessee reported by Chattanooga Endeavors.
Stephen’s Table a volunteer-based initiative by Chattanooga Endeavors to coordinate with volunteers from 100 Churches in this region to provide assistance to those serving time in prison.
More about Stephen’s Table from press release:
Stephen’s Table is different from existing church-based mentoring efforts in the state not only because of the scale it is seeking; it is different also because the point of engagement is immediately after sentencing (instead of right before release). “Sponsoring churches will become a support system for participants all the way through their prison term,” says Figgures. “We want to help them make decisions that improve their incarceration experience as well as assist them when they come home.” This is just the sort of insight that stands out about the initiative: “You know the saying, ‘you find out who your real friends are when you go to prison,’ Dempsey inquires of the group at Wesley Chapel. “Well, we want to be one of those real friends…so when negative forces are pressing in on people that have just been released from prison, we will be there like a beacon calling them home.”
Dempsey believes in reducing recidivism rates one person at a time:
Every year roughly 500 inmates are released from the Tennessee prison system and returned home to our community. Because people that have served time in prison are at a high risk of re-offending, the way we manage their transition to the community has a significant impact on the rate of crime we experience.
Research demonstrates that recidivism can be reduced if released prisoners have access to a series of support services and are held accountable to clear social standards. Reducing recidivism lowers crime rates, alleviates excessive burdens on law enforcement resources, reduces the need for additional local jail capacity and frees up scarce prison beds for serious, repeat and violent offenders.
What our experience has demonstrated is that the faster we move someone from prison into a stable situation in the community (which includes a decent job) the more likely he or she wont drift back to a life of crime and corrections.-Chattanooga Endeavors
CEI to host annual Bella Sera
at Renaissance Park on June 5th:
One of the City’s most anticipated annual fundraising events, Bella Sera signals the beginning of summer fun in Chattanooga. Come and enjoy an early summer evening in the spectacular Renaissance Park with live music and dancing, a silent auction and plenty to eat and drink. Your admission includes a wine glass for unlimited wine as well as five tapas size servings from any of our sponsoring restaurants.
Ogya Band will highlight the evening with live world music!
Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil
Listen to story with Timothy Dempsey: