MANCHESTER, NH – After more than two years of effort, Dismas Home of New Hampshire is set to open its first residence for persons coming out of prison. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on September 20 for the facility which is located at 102 Fourth St., on Manchester’s West Side, and will house seven formerly incarcerated women. The focus will be on providing a safe and supporting environment that fosters dignity and demands accountability as residents work their way back into society.
The Dismas Home of New Hampshire organization was founded in 2014 by Jack and Julie McCarthy of North Sutton in response to the high recidivism rates they witnessed through their volunteer work in the state prison. They adopted a model in use in more than 20 states that seeks to create a sense of community among former inmates in an alcohol and drug-free environment while enabling them to secure employment and become productive citizens. The experience in other states suggests that an average length of stay of five to seven months for residents can be expected once in the program and after an initial adjustment period.
The McCarthys brought to the Dismas Home Board of Directors a small group of professionals that has enabled the non-profit organization to establish the relationships and gain the funding and support to open the first home. Assistance from Saint Anselm College and the NH Council of Churches, Manchester has been a critical part of this effort. Student volunteers and interns from St. Anselm have proven extremely helpful in setting up the initial home.
The home will be supervised by professional staff and volunteers on a 24/7 basis and has the latest in security systems to ensure a safe environment. Random alcohol and drug testing of residents will be part of the regular house operations to ensure adherence to house rules. It is expected that in addition to students from area colleges, local churches will provide many volunteers to assist with evening communal meals that are a key element of the Dismas Home model.
Organizations such as the Catholic Medical Center and Hope for NH Recovery have committed to assisting Dismas Home residents in getting the health care and supportive services needed to aid in their reentry to society. It is estimated that the state will save $35,000 annually for each former inmate who is not returned to prison. Individuals and organizations interested in aiding the Dismas Home effort are encouraged to contact the organization through its web site at dismashomenh.org.