Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Tennessee

I. Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Contact:
Andrew Johnson Tower, 8th Floor
710 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-6642
615-741-5078 fax

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
Job Service Program & Technical Support Section
Tennessee Department of Employment Security
500 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37245
615-741-3780
615-741-6392 fax

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
Tennessee Department of Labor 7 Workforce Development
500 James Robertson Pkwy.
Davy Crockett Tower, 11th Floor
Nashville, TN 37245
615-741-6473
615-532-1612 fax

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

To file a claim, applicants should telephone the Labor and Workforce Development office to determine the best location and time to file their claims. Applicants outside Davidson County should go to the Labor and Workforce Development office nearest them. Applicants within Davidson County should file claims by calling 615-253-0800.

Contact:
Division of Employment Security
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
500 James Robertson Pkwy.
Davy Crockett Tower, 12th Floor
Nashville, TN 37245
615-253-4809
615-253-5091 fax
Web Site: www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/cc/cccounty.htm

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

Tennessee is considered a "closed record" state i.e. the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will not provide criminal history information. The subject of a criminal record may go to any County Court Clerk and request a criminal history background check to be run in that particular county.

Contact:
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
901 R.S. Gass Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37216
615-744-4000
Web Site: www.tbi.state.tn.us/divisions

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
425 5th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-5860
Web Site: www.attorneygeneral.state.tn.us

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IV. State Department of Corrections

Prison Industry Program

The Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR) is responsible for oversight of prison industries in Tennessee. Manufactured products include office furniture, institutional furniture and bedding, custom wood and metal fabrication, textiles, institutional clothing, license plates, signage, paint, office panel and furniture refurbishing and agricultural products. Services include data processing, printing, janitorial, TennCare Information Line and office relocation. TRICOR offers a life skills program where participants receive training to improve interviewing skills and acquire certificates for completion of training or job achievement.

Contact:
TRICOR
240 Great Circle Rd., Suite 310
Nashville, TN 37228
615-741-5705
615-741-2696 fax
Web Site: www.tricor.org/

Work Release Program

Work release is available to inmates in Tennessee when they are within 24 months of release. Once an inmate obtains employment, he or she is required to pay room and board fees in addition to any court ordered restitution due.

Contact:
Tennessee Department of Correction
Ground Floor, Rachel Jackson Building
320 6th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-1000
Web Site: www.state.tn.us/correction/

Pre-Release Program

Pre-release programming begins 90 days prior to release and includes 80 hours of classroom instruction and community service work. Classroom instruction relies mainly on video tapes and volunteers. Job readiness, family reintegration, parenting skills, financial planning, domestic violence, survival skills, housing, AIDS awareness, public assistance coping skills and decision making are topics covered. Tennessee Women’s Prison contracts with YWCA’s Project NewStart for pre-release services. The Board of Probation and Parole mandates New Start participation before any woman can be paroled. The program serves women who are within six months of their release eligibility dates by offering employment and life skills workshops. Workshop modules include self-advocacy, nutrition, personal health, child management, money management, community resources, legal rights, assertiveness, coping with crisis and job readiness - interviewing, resume preparation and basic application skills. Project staff also provide counseling and career assessments along with assistance in securing housing and job placements. Clients are followed for six months after their release from incarceration.

Contact:
Tennessee Department of Correction
Ground Floor, Rachel Jackson Building
320 6th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-1000
Web Site: www.state.tn.us/correction/

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V. Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole

Probation and parole officers are responsible for supervising and investigating the conduct, behavior, and progress of probationers and parolees assigned to them for supervision from the court and by the Board. Officers provide supervision progress reports to the court and board.

Contact:
Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole
Parkway Towers, Suite 1300
404 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-4543

Contact:

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

Contact:
Public Defender & Assistant Public Defenders
201 West Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
615-898-8020

Contact:
Chief Public Defender of Shelby County
201 Poplar Ave., Room 201
Memphis, TN 38103
901-545-5800

B. Legal Services

Contact:
Legal Aid of East Tennessee
502 South Gay St., Suite 404
Knoxville, TN 37902
865-637-0484
Web Site: www.korrnet.org/klas/

Contact:
Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services
1808 West End Building, Suite 1216
Nashville, TN 37203
615-627-0956
615-627-0964 fax
Web Site: www.tals.org

West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.

Contact:
Jackson Office
West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.
210 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 2066
Jackson, TN 38302
731-423-0616
731-423-2600 fax
E-Mail: wtls@wtls.org
Web Site: www.wtls.org

Contact:
Dyersburg Office
West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.
208 S. Church St.
P.O. Box 366
Dyersburg, TN 38024
731-285-8181
731-285-8184 fax

Contact:
Huntingdon Office
West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.
113 W. Paris St.
P.O. Box 857
Huntingdon, TN 38344
731-986-8975
731-986-8977 fax

Contact:
Selmer Office
West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.
141 N. Third St.
P.O. Box 189
Selmer, TN 38375
731-645-7961
731-645-3557 fax

Contact:

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
Tennessee Bar Association
221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite
Nashville, TN 37219
615-383-7421
615-297-8058 fax
Web Site: www.tba.org

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

Tennessee Career Center

Tennessee Career Centers are one-stop career centers operated by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. There are 14 comprehensive career centers located across Tennessee. These centers provide comprehensive employment and training services for job seekers and employers on a regional basis. Each center offers access to a resource room which allows both print and electronic access to relevant information. Computers, telephones and fax machines are provided. Free workshops in areas such as computer training, resume writing, and financial management are also available. Affiliate sites offer basic employment and training services. Access to other services is offered electronically on a limited basis. Local offices can provide one or more services and are able to make electronic referrals. A complete listing of career centers is available on the web site listed below.

Contact:
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
710 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-6642
615-741-5078 fax
Web Site: www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/cc/ccservices.htm

Upper Cumberland Dismas House

Upper Cumberland Dismas House is a supportive community shared by recently released inmates, college students, and local volunteers. Typical length of stay is four to six months. Residents are expected to find employment and leave the community with a stable income, sense of self-worth and hope for a sober and productive future. Residents are required to pay program fees to partially offset the cost of their stay and to help them achieve self-sufficiency. Upper Cumberland Dismas also pilots a job-readiness program inside the Putnam County jail called Passages, where community volunteers teach interviewing and job-readiness skills to inmates and expose them to new trades.

Contact:
Cookeville, TN
931-520-8448
Web Site: www.n-sites.com/dismashouse/index.shtml

Knox County Dismas House

Contact:
Knox County Dismas House
1316 Forest Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37923

Project Return, Inc.

Project Return provides a number of programs that assist individuals with criminal histories. The Jobs & Futures Program is available to any adult who has been incarcerated or is currently incarcerated and is planning for release by providing: life skills and job readiness training; employment placement services; direct aid (bus passes, emergency food boxes); and information and referral to support services, as well as on-going follow-up and job counseling. Pre-Release Activities/Job Readiness Program is an intensive four-week program that prepares inmates for a productive job search. The curriculum includes instruction in the application process, want ads, networking, interviewing skills attitude and job retention. Survival Skills aims to empower clients to effectively manage their family and employment responsibilities. During the 10 three-hour workshops, participants have the opportunity to learn and practice essential skills including money management, problem solving, family development, goal setting and conflict resolution.

Contact:
Project Return
1200 Division St., Suite 200
Nashville, TN 37203
615-327-9654
615-327-3881 fax
Web Site: www.projectreturninc.org

Free-Enterprise

The Free-Enterprise program was established in 1994 for skilled workers who have served their sentences and can no longer work for TRICOR industries. The program utilizes the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program and information about the federal bonding program as incentives to for-profit business to hire individuals with criminal records. Job placement coordinators cover the entire state. Workers must meet the following eligibility criteria: complete at least one year of successful training in a TRICOR program within three years of release; be within six weeks of release if the sentence does not involve parole; be approved for release by the Board of Probation and Parole and the employment requirement is the only factor that prevents release; have a high school diploma or G.E.D.; completed a TRICOR Life Skills program prior to release; completed a TRICOR Date Sheet and Resume indicating skills acquired and the number of years in training; and, agree to communicate with TRICOR staff regarding employment status after release for a period not to exceed three years.

Contact:
Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Corrections
240 Great Circle Rd., Suite 310
Nashville, TN 37228
615-741-5705
615-741-2696 fax
Web Site: www.tricor.org

Second Chance

The Second Chance program is a private/public partnership between the city of Memphis and local businesses designed to connect people with criminal histories looking for work with employers who are willing to hire them. To graduate from the program an applicant must keep a job for six months to a year, maintain a good work record and remain drug free. This program is open to those people who have only one felony conviction and is run under the umbrella of Yo! Memphis, a youth workforce development program.

Contact:
Second Chance
444 North Main St.
Memphis, TN 38103
901-545-0343
Web Site: www.yomemphis.org

Karat Place

Karat Place provides transitional housing for homeless women and women who have recently been released from incarceration. Karat Place can house up to 12 women and their children (no boys over the age of 12 years are permitted to live in the units). Rent is free until employment is secured and then the rate is 30% of the resident’s earned wages. Women may stay up to two years. There is limited job development and placement assistance, though Karat Place staff work with local companies that are willing to hire individuals with criminal histories.

Contact:
Karat Place
829 North Parkway
Memphis, TN 38105
901-525-4055
901-525-4058 fax

Chattanooga Endeavors

Chattanooga Endeavors assists recently released individuals through a number of services, including preparation for employment. Assistance includes assessment, re-socialization, soft skills training, skill acquisition (applications, interviewing; and retention), extensive case management, group sessions and positive reinforcement. Computerized software is used to increase job skills and for educational purposes.

Contact:
Chattanooga Endeavors
P.O. Box 3351
Chattanooga, TN 37404
423-266-1888
423-266-2196 fax
Web Site: www.chattanoogaendeavors.com

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