Order of Malta


Formerly Incarcerated Women Get a Fresh Start With Dismas Home


“You see God’s hand in the work of Dismas Home every day.”
Paul Young, Chair of the Board

For those of us who have never been incarcerated, it may seem that release from prison ends an inmate’s problems. In reality, release is just the first step in a long journey of reentry into society.

That’s why the work of Dismas Home in Manchester, New Hampshire, is so important. Dismas Home is a residential recovery program for previously incarcerated women. Services include daily counseling, therapy, job placement and housing placement. “All of the women coming out of prison that we serve have diagnosed addiction and mental health issues,” said Paul Young, Chair of the Board for Dismas Home in New Hampshire and a member of the American Association in New Hampshire. “At Dismas Home, we treat the underlying traumas, usually early childhood trauma, that created the mental health and addiction, ultimately leading to imprisonment.”

Dismas Home operates out of a home in a residential neighborhood, which is important to the organization’s strategy of providing a loving, family atmosphere. Since occupying the building five years ago, the lease of which is a gift from NH Catholic Charities, Dismas Home has undertaken major updates with the help of a volunteer architect and volunteers to work on the projects. Updates include a renovated kitchen, new siding and roof, and new fencing. The building is able to house eight women at a time. Each woman can, if needed, stay up to a year, although the average stay is six months.

Between the strategy of treating underlying trauma and the extensive work done to the building to create a nurturing environment, Dismas Home has been of tremendous benefit to previously incarcerated women. But there is still much work to be done. “The therapeutic program is extremely successful,” Paul said. “The biggest challenge we have now is, when they’re ready to leave, finding housing for the women.” The organization is currently looking into building a campus of housing for sober living as well as regional housing that will allow the women to return to areas within the state where they have family.

The organization has also started an alumni program that keeps former residents in touch both with the organization and with one another. “We want to make Dismas Home a home for life so that these women can always rely on us,” Paul said.

Paul encourages members of the Order to consider serving Prison Ministry. “I’m so glad that I finally listened to the voice of God and got involved. It is an incredibly rewarding experience.”

For more information about the American Association’s Prison Ministry Program, contact Craig Gibson, Chair of the Prison Ministry Committee at cbgibson@comcast.net.

Order of Malta

American Association, U.S.A
St. Patrick’s Cathedral Parish House
14 E 51st Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-1522