Cookeville Rehabilitation Home Closes Its Doors - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Cookeville Rehabilitation Home Closes Its Doors

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by Marcus Washington

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - It's a place that has helped convicted felons transition successfully back into society, but declining support from donors forced the Cookeville location to close its doors.

For 15 years, the Dismas House has been the place many men and women entered with little hope for their future.

"Small things like paying bills, getting a job, being responsible, these were all, intellectually I knew, but it was all theoretical. I hadn't actually done any of those things," said former Dismas resident Josh Tinker.

Both Robert Johnson and Josh Tinker spent two years of their lives in this house after giving up their life of crime.

"I didn't want to get around the people I knew. I made up my mind when I was in prison; I am not doing this anymore," said Johnson.

Since 1998, Dismas House has been home to more than 400 men and woman. Around 70 percent of all residents find housing, jobs, even attend college and most importantly, stay out of jail.

"This is my third semester in college now and I plan to transition to TTU next semester or the semester after that," said Tinker.

"I've got two and a half jobs. I more or less work 18 hours a day and I'm not mad; I love it," said Johnson

Despite the success the Dismas House has had with residents, the lack of funds has forced the organization to close its doors in Cookeville.

"We needed to close down this facility and focus more on Nashville and South Bend where we have our other halfway houses," said Dismas Inc. CEO Dan Surface.

Surface said this was not an easy decision, but they want the community to know while this location is closing, their mission continues at two other locations.

"That the residents that are currently here are transitioned out in an orderly fashion and hopefully transitioning them out where we are setting them up for success," said Dismas Cookeville Executive Director, Kim England.

"To know that there is somebody out there that cares about convicts, because that's what we are, but there are people out there that do care about giving you a second chance in life," said Johnson.

The Dismas House in Cookeville has not been given a date when it will officially close.


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