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A ‘Safe Haven’ For Women Getting out of Jail Opens in Jackson County

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
A ‘Safe Haven’ For Women Getting out of Jail Opens in Jackson County

A safe place for women struggling after incarceration has opened its doors in Jackson County.

Safe Haven Director Linda Vickers said she had a vision for a Safe Haven home in Jackson County after doing ministry inside the Putnam and Jackson County Jails. She said she saw so many women who had nowhere safe to go once their sentence was up.

“We just try to give them a safe place to stay until they can get back into society,” Vickers said. “A lot of time they don’t have IDs, birth certificates or driving licenses. If they don’t have those things they can’t get back into the workforce.”

Vickers said the program is a six-month residential program, where women can enroll as soon as they leave jail. The program focuses on skills such as budgeting, bank accounts and other life skills. When resources are not available, Vickers said too often women end up back in jail.

“If they don’t have a safe place to go, they’re automatically going to go back into the drug houses that they came out of,” Vickers said. “That just causes recidivism because they’ll be out for three months, then they’ll relapse, stop paying their fines and stop seeing their probation officers. And then we see them right back in about two to three months.

Safe Haven is working closely with the UCHRA and the UCDD to help provide resources.

“I’ve been told by the UCHRA there’s really been nothing in Jackson County for people coming out of jail to help them,” Vickers said. “We have also started a Life Recovery Group here in Gainesboro, so there is a great need. On a scale of one to ten, I’d put it at nine-and-a-half.”

Vickers said she sends applications for the Safe Haven directly to the Jackson County Jail. As inmates anticipate their release, they can apply before they are out of jail.

“They just need someone to help them get back on their feet,” Vickers said. “They need a hand up, and that’s where we come in to give them a hand up.”


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