- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - A nonprofit that runs inmate halfway houses wants to build a home for the transition of women being released from the state prison in Goffstown.

The Dismas Home of New Hampshire is conducting a campaign to raise the funds necessary to open early in 2016. With the help of Catholic Charities, it has obtained use of a house in Manchester for now, but an additional $150,000 is needed for capital improvements and operating costs.

Inmates seeking to enter the Dismas program need to file an application and receive recommendations from their parole officers and the prison warden. Once accepted, they are required to seek employment, pay a nominal rent and work to maintain the home. The use of alcohol and drugs will be prohibited.

The concept seeks to create a family atmosphere and relies upon volunteers, usually from colleges and religious groups, to prepare meals and work with residents on enhancing social skills and securing employment. Working agreements have been reached with the women’s prison regarding a screening and referral process and St. Anselm College, which will help with interns, research and student volunteers. The program expects an average length of stay for residents of about seven months.

Similar homes have been used in over 20 other states.

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