LifestyleCompassion in Action


Nashville nonprofit Dismas House helps former inmates make it on the outside

Posted: 8:21 AM, Jan 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-17 15:46:28-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — All around Nashville, we see "Compassion In Action." Dismas House is an organization that's spent more than four decades helping men make it on the outside.

"When I got locked up it hit me instantly. I knew that with the prison system had to offer me wasn't for me," said former inmate Charles Black, "I was locked up for 3 1/2 years."

He says getting back on the straight and narrow meant finding a new home. He got one of the coveted spots at Dismas House, an organization dedicated to helping men reconnect with their community and find employment.

"We help men that are transitioning out of incarceration with housing and wraparound services to help them successfully transition back into society and we've been doing that for 45 years," said Chief Executive Officer Gerald Brown.

Brown says getting out of prison is one thing. Staying out is another.

Right now, Dismas has a waiting list. And need is so great they're expanding.

"We're going from a 4,000 square-foot home to a 23,000 square-foot campus that will be able to serve 72 men at once," he said.

Black says now he helps mentor other men and insists a successful life on the outside starts by working on the inside.

"I know there's no perfect person. I try to be the best person that I can be and I try to help the next person be the best that they can be," he said.

Dismas House and Charles Black each received a $1,000 gift card provided by Kroger as part of our "Compassion In Action" project.