Courage to Change

It takes just one misguided decision. 

“Two years ago, I was sitting in state prison with no future and very little hope. I had been using drugs for a very long time and felt separated from the things that make you welcome and whole and complete. Even separated from my true self…”

Women’s incarceration and involvement in New Hampshire’s criminal justice system

are increasing faster than men’s. Drugs, alcohol abuse, and complex rehabilitation and treatment needs are some of the root causes behind the increase in numbers. Poverty, unemployment, and past victimization by domestic violence are also underlying factors.

Women’s role as primary caregivers for children complicates their incarceration and

path to rehabilitation. While these multiple needs do not excuse women’s crimes, they provide a context for understanding their involvement in the system and the

challenges they face in getting out. They also suggest a need for programs with

comprehensive support and services at the state level.

In 2016, Dismas Home was established by Julie McCarthy-Brown and Jack McCarthy

to address the needs of justice-involved women in NH.

“…Then I found Dismas Home. Dismas has been incredibly welcoming to me. I am now celebrating my 3rd anniversary of being clean after twenty years of fighting addiction. That’s the first time in my life I have been able to do that. Dismas Home is everything to us and now they have given me an opportunity to pay it forward by helping other women who, like me, need exactlywhat the Dismas program offers. I am reunited with my children and grandchildren, fully employed, and am living independently.

Dismas Home is the difference between me being alive and not being alive. It means the difference between me being in prison and not being in prison. The difference between me having a life with my children and not.”

—Jewel B.

To meet the needs of women, Dismas Home is embarking on a $2.5 million capital campaign to raise funds to purchase a second home, which will be located in Manchester, NH, to serve more justice-involved women and provide them with the clinical, social, and emotional support they need to thrive.

The rate of women returning to corrections in New Hampshire is 44% annually.

What sets New Hampshire apart from other gender-based programs throughout the country is there are no State or Federal funds available for female post-incarceration transition services. Dismas Home of NH is the only nonprofit agency dedicated to exclusively serving justice-involved women with substance misuse disorder and trauma-induced mental health issues AND comprehensive wrap-around services.

“As a superior court judge, I see so many people struggling with mental health and substance use disorder who need support like housing to help them stay out of the criminal justice system and stay active in the community. I recently visited Dismas Home and was impressed with the comfort, support, and treatment they provide. I know firsthand that several drug court participants would never be successful without Dismas Home. I am so grateful for the work they do!”

—Judge Tina Nadeau, Chief Justice NH Superior Court

This second location will include ten bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, living and dining space, clinical and executive office space, and recreational and outdoor gardening space. Providing 24/7 clinical care, this home will support residents for up to six months. With the appropriate funding mix and relationships, we anticipate serving 48-60 women annually by 2032.

Educational Pathway

Because many residents admitted to Dismas Home do not have a high school diploma, Dismas Home will require and offer access to this essential academic credential.

Safe Housing

A safe, clean, affordable home in a desirable community goes hand in hand with meaningful employment, family reunification, and long- term success. Most, if not all, residents leaving Dismas Home are not financially able to rent or own a place far away from the life they led before incarceration and Dismas Home. A re-entry specialist will work with them to ensure affordable, safe, and stable housing — which is crucial to a full recovery, employment, and family reunification — and a financial plan before graduating from this phase.

Meaningful Employment Opportunities

Dismas Home will work with the Manchester Area Human Resources Association and the Greater Concord Human Resources Association to train our residents in resume writing, interviewing skills, and aligned employment search. Dismas Home’s Certified Recovery Service Workers (CRSW) will assist residents in writing letters for waivers and recommendations to help overcome the obstacles of SUD and criminal background checks.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Dismas Home will continue to formulate an outreach to establish a collaborative network with the following sectors — housing workforce development, construction, higher education, criminal justice, entrepreneurial development, and healthcare. These relationships will add expertise and support services to enrich the opportunities for residents. Whole-community participation at this high level is critical for long-term sustainable program success and systems change.

Program Transportation

Dismas Home believes residents must learn independence and self- sufficiency and that, currently, providing transportation is a “last resort.” However, we recognize that we occasionally desire to assist residents with transportation to medical appointments, court hearings, school, interviews, and employment once secured. We plan for transportation support services to reduce barriers to necessary services and jobs.

For more information about this campaign. Download the brochure.

Dismas Home is grateful for all contributions to the Courage to Change Campaign. Every donor will be recognized unless anonymity is requested.

A naming opportunity can be reserved at the time a pledge card or letter of intent is signed. Once the gift or pledge payments have been paid in full, a plaque recognizing the donor(s) will be placed on the space selected or reserved by the donor. We will honor naming opportunity requests in the order received and notify a donor if their choice is not available. For more information about this campaign download the brochure.


Help Make A Difference

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