About Dismas House

Dismas House is an approved Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) residential reentry program in Nashville, Tennessee that serves men returning to the community from state correctional facilities and county jails. Dismas House is one of the largest reentry programs of its kind in Tennessee, serving more than 120 men annually. Our goal is to support residents as they navigate the challenging transition from prison back to society, helping them overcome the many barriers to successful reentry.

Dismas House has two core programs – the primary Reentry Program and an Independent Living Program. After operating from an 8-bed house for 46 years, Dismas House moved to a new 72-bed campus in 2020. The new facility has 56 reentry program beds and 16 independent living units. Along with this physical expansion came an intentional re-envisioning, redesign, and diversification of our program offerings with an emphasis on supporting the whole person.

Mission and Vision

The mission of Dismas House is to transform lives and strengthen communities by providing the formerly incarcerated with holistic reentry solutions.


The vision of Dismas House is to set the national standard for reentry success.

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Why We’re Here

Ninety-five percent of incarcerated individuals in Tennessee will eventually return to our communities. Numerous barriers exist for returning citizens and many are ill-prepared to reenter society due to the lack of support needed for sustainable success.

Without the proper support, 70% of those released from prison in Tennessee will re-offend within three years, and roughly 50% will return to prison within three years. Dismas House’s residential reentry program, a comprehensive program that extends beyond housing and employment, has proven to help stop the revolving door of recidivism. By addressing barriers to successful reentry and offering evidence-based practices for the whole person, our program fosters lasting change from the inside out. Every individual deserves an opportunity to redefine their life and contribute meaningfully to their community.

History: A 50-Year Legacy

Dismas House was founded in 1974 by Father Jack Hickey, a Vanderbilt University chaplain. Father Hickey founded the organization alongside the Vanderbilt Prison Project after observing the lack of services and housing available to returning citizens. A true visionary, he purchased an 8-bed house on Music Row and, together with a group of Vanderbilt University students and returning citizens, renovated the home.

For 46 years, Dismas House provided services to returning citizens on Music Row, before relocating in 2020. Since 1974, Father Hickey’s vision has positively impacted countless lives and created ripple effects far beyond the Middle Tennessee community.