We provide housing for those in our community recently released for incarceration with local college students to create a family atmosphere for our residents. We offer a variety of programs to assist our residents in their transition back into society.


The South Bend Dismas House opened in 1986 through the efforts of a task group from the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County. Through the program “In Mate-Out Mate” conducted at the Indiana State Prison, the task group discovered a need for post-release housing and services for those returning to society. A female student from the University of Notre Dame linked the group to Dismas, Inc. in Nashville, TN that provided a residential reentry program. In 1974 in Nashville, TN, Father Jack Hickey, a Chaplin at Vanderbilt University with a group of students, started the Dismas House program. In a family setting, returning citizens often share the house with college students. Together, they live, work and play as they create “true” community. College students make a positive and lasting impact on those returning from prison. When student residents are present more returning citizens successfully complete the Dismas program. Fewer residents relapse on drugs and alcohol. More amazing many returning citizens are interested in continuing their education.

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The First 90 Days Are Crucial

Following release from incarceration, the first 90 days are crucial in the reentry process. If a returning citizen is successful in those first 90 days then they are less likely to return to crime. Therefore, we require returning citizens to commit to participating in our program for a minimum of 90 days. Students commit to participating for one or two semesters or for the summer.

Average Stay is 6 Months

Annually Dismas serves between 30-40 returning citizens. Since opening, the Indiana Dismas House has been home to over 1,600 returning citizens and over 100 college students. A returning citizen has up to 2 years to complete his/her clinic specific plan as a resident and the average stay is 6 months. The century-old households up to 15 residents at once. Their residents receive support from a caring staff and hundreds of community volunteers, who serve as board members, cooks, tutors, mentors, etc. Our program is funded through donations, grants, fund raising events and residents’ fees.

Stoping The Cycle of Crime

Dismas House recognizes that the cycle of crime can be reduced when men and women, who have been incarcerated, have assistance readjusting to society. To that end, Dismas House provides housing, meals, case management, tutoring, employment services, life skills workshops, counseling, mentoring and programs to help returning citizens make successful transitions back into the community.

Dismas House of Indiana

Annually, Dismas serves between 30-40 returning citizens. Since opening in July 1986, the Dismas House of Indiana has been home to more than 1,600 returning citizens and 200 college students.

Did You Know?

  • 67.5% of inmates are rearrested within 3 years of release
  • Up to one-quarter of prisoners expect to go to a homeless shelter upon release
  • One in every 100 adults in the United States is currently behind bars.
  • The US incarcerates more people than all other nations
  • Dismas cuts national rates of re-offending in half
  • In 2006, 75% of our residents successfully completed the 90-day program
  • Almost half of our budget comes from individual donations