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Nashville Works

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $540,000)

The Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) is designed to provide funding to state units of government to develop and implement institutional and community corrections-based offender reentry programs. The PRI strengthens urban communities characterized by large numbers of returning offenders. The PRI is designed to reduce recidivism by helping returning offenders find work and assess other critical services in their communities. The PRI supports strategies to deliver pre- and post-release assessments and services, and to develop transition plans in collaboration with other justice and community-based agencies and providers for supervised and non-supervised offenders.
In FY 2008, BJA will again coordinate the PRI Program with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The design of the FY 2008 PRI Program is structured to work in conjunction with a DOL-selected faith ' or community-based organization (FBCO).

Under the FY 2008 PRI funds, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) will continue to operate the Nashville WORKS program. Nashville WORKS enhances the existing pre-release and transitional activities for at least 200 inmates returning to Nashville and uses an alternative staffing model to expand work release and transitional employment opportunities for participants.

With the Nashville WORKS program, TDOC, Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP), and Charles Bass Correctional Complex (CBCX) will introduce an alternative staffing component, new work readiness training, and collaborative case management to the transitional activities of at least 200 male offenders returning to the Nashville-Davidson County from CBCX. To qualify, inmates must complete pre-release programming at one of Tennessee's 16 institutions or be enrolled in the modified therapeutic community at CBCX.

The agency responsible for the operational aspects of the grant will be Chattanooga Endeavors, a nonprofit organization that has provided reentry services to former offenders in Hamilton County since 1999. Nashville WORKS will use the LS/CMI to measure participants' risks/needs and to establish case management goals. The project will also use a small battery of assessments, including the Taylor Johnson Temperament Analysis, Self Directed Search, Test for Adult Basic Education, and Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory. All instruments will be administered with audio and/or video aids to control for low reading levels and language processing disorders.

Subsequent to an individual assessment and feedback process, inmates will participate in a community building workshop with a focus on communication techniques, creative problem solving, anger management, and socializing skills, and a work readiness course with a focus on soft skills training in areas such as interviewing, job seeking, job retention, problem solving, communication skills, workplace habits, self-awareness, self-management, occupational exploration, and career planning. Participants who complete the work readiness course will be considered by TDOC for work-release, while others will be assigned to community service or to institutional detail.

Participants who have a work assignment when they are discharged will continue their work assignment in the community, attend weekly job retention classes for three months, and participate in regular case manager meetings for 18 months. Participants who do not have a work assignment will attend daily job acquisition classes, take part in structured support groups, and participate in weekly case management meetings until they obtain employment.


Date Created: August 14, 2008