Chattanooga Nonprofit Program Helps Female Felons

A nonprofit program in Chattanooga is finding success in helping female felons prepare for life outside of prison.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press (, since The Next Door Chattanooga started in 2011, 329 women have completed the program.

Only 7 percent are sent back to jail within three years, and just 18 percent – about 59 women – who have been out for longer than three years have gone back to jail.

In Tennessee, 42 percent of women released from prison between 2001 and 2007 landed back in jail within three years. That’s according to a 2010 study by the Tennessee Department of Correction, the latest data available.

Donna Stephenson completed The Next Door Chattanooga program, and says it gave her a “lot of hope back.” On Oct. 18, she’ll mark five years free of drugs.

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