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'We need to be investing in those people:' Nonprofit is raising money to help inmates re-enter society

Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry started in 1963
Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry
Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 09:44:30-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It can take a village for someone to successfully step back into society after a long prison sentence.

In Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry has been helping people have a productive life after prison for nearly 60 years.

Through some community grants, state funding, but mostly donations from churches and individuals, 38 men and women can live for up to six months at the TPOM campus in Wedgewood-Houston.

"We need to be investing in those people instead of locking people up in prison," said Thomas Snow, the executive director.

The executive director of TPOM wishes more people realized there is value in helping people put their best foot forward after they've served time.

"We're living in a time right now where the thought is just lock everyone up, throw away the key. There's no hope, even talking about building more prisons where we can't staff the ones we have, and we're saying this is a better way because we have a really high success rate here," Snow said.

After roughly three decades behind bars, William Murphy linked up with TPOM. The convicted felon first met TPOM volunteers at Riverbend Maximum Security while he was still serving his sentence. He said making those connections helped him hit the ground running after his release.

"They get you working very quickly, established, get you going," Murphy said. "They don't want you to sit around and just do nothing. They want to get you up and working as soon as possible."

Murphy successfully graduated from the program two years ago. He has been working at the same job ever since.

Right now, current residents are getting jobs making between $17 and $25 an hour. They pay between $145 and $165 a week to live on the campus in Nashville.

TPOM is in the middle of its annual fundraiser. The organization's goal is to raise $250,000. Donations can be made online.