April is Second Chance Month

Second Chance Month, observed in the United States during April, is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction and unlock second-chance opportunities for justice-involved individuals returning to their communities.

Beyond Second Chances
At THEI, we challenge the term "second chances," advocating instead for justice-impacted individuals' right to the same opportunities as everyone else. We believe in going beyond second chances, redefining justice, and striving for a society where everyone has equal access to opportunities for growth, success, and a fulfilling life.
Of the nearly two million people incarcerated,


will return to our communities as colleagues, neighbors, and classmates.
THEI's Recidivism Rate for graduates is


Compared to the 2021 average recidivism rate of 46% in tennessee.


Students and alumni in the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

Why it Matters

Second Chance Month matters because it sheds light on the challenges faced by justice-impacted individuals as they reintegrate into society. It's a critical opportunity to advocate for their right to equal opportunities and challenge the stigma, and reduce societal barriers associated with a criminal record. By recognizing Second Chance Month, we affirm our commitment to providing support, resources, and opportunities for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives after incarceration. It's about fostering a more inclusive and supportive community where everyone has the chance to thrive.


1. Check Your Stigma.
Take a moment to reflect on any preconceived notions or biases you might hold about justice-impacted individuals. This is especially important if you're an employer or property manager, as your perceptions can impact access to opportunities like employment or housing for these individuals. By actively challenging your own stigma, you can play a part in creating a more inclusive and supportive environment where everyone has the chance to succeed.

2. Use Humanizing Language.
At THEI, we believe that language matters.When you refer to someone who has been incarcerated, avoid using dehumanizing labels like "inmate," "criminal," or "offender." Instead, use language that acknowledges their humanity and recognizes their capacity for growth and change.

3. Engage with Books & Art by Justice-Impacted Individuals.
By immersing yourself in other people's stories and experiences, you can develop empathy and compassion. We're excited to partner with The Bookshop in East Nashville for their April Second Sunday Fundraiser. When you shop at The Bookshop on Sunday, April 14th, 10% of all sales will be donated to THEI. While you're there, pick up a book from a formerly incarcerated individual.

4. Make an Impact by Donating.
Your donation directly supports THEI's efforts to provide education and resources to justice-impacted individuals, both inside and outside of prison. Your contribution helps us continue our work in offering support to those seeking to rebuild their lives. Join us in making a difference.
Donate now

Events in April

Join us in April for a series of events focused on raising awareness and supporting justice-impacted individuals. From luncheon fundraisers to community gatherings, there are plenty of opportunities to learn, engage, and make a difference. Mark your calendars and join us for these impactful events.
To learn more or partner with THEI for Second Chance Month events, contact Shon Holman-Wheatley, Director of Transitional Programs, at

April 2, 2024: THEI's 2nd Annual Path Foward Luncheon

THEI's Second Annual Path Forward Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, April 2nd, at 12:00 PM at Belmont University. The event aims to shift the narrative of justice-impacted individuals and will feature stories from students, graduates, and THEI's team about the transformative power of its programming.

If you're interested in attending this event, please register here

Interested sponsors for this event should contact Cara Albert, Development & Communications Manager, at cara@thei.org.

April 14, 2024: Second Sunday Fundraiser at The Bookshop

The Bookshop, located in East Nashville, has chosen THEI as their beneficiary for their Second Sunday Fundraiser on Sunday, April 14th, in observation of Second Chance Month.

On this Sunday, 10% of all sales made at The Bookshop will be donated to THEI, supporting our mission to empower justice-impacted individuals. Additionally, we encourage you to browse and purchase books written by justice-impacted individuals, further supporting this community. The Bookshop's Sunday hours are 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Stop by anytime to show your support!

April 17, 2024: In Our OWn VOice

In partnership with NAMI Tennessee, join THEI for an engaging and informative presentation led by two of NAMI TN's certified presenters who will share their own recovery stories. People with mental illness are arrested and incarcerated in disproportionate numbers. This session offers a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what it's like to live with a mental health condition.

Throughout the presentation, the audience is encouraged to ask questions, fostering an interactive environment that promotes increased awareness and empathy. Our presenters will provide valuable insights into their personal experiences, challenges, and triumphs, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit. Register for this informative presentation below!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Virtual via Zoom


April 18, 2024: Collegiate Recovery & academic success

Join us for an upcoming seminar with Nathan Payne on collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) over Zoom. Learn about the importance of supporting students in recovery, the challenges they face, and the benefits of CRPs. Discover key components of successful CRPs, hear success stories and testimonials, and find out how you can support CRPs nationwide.

Nathan Payne is the Director of Collegiate Recovery at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. He has a background in community outreach and developed the Tennessee Collegiate Recovery Initiative. Nathan holds a graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling from Tennessee Tech University.

Thursday, April 18, 2024
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Virtual via Zoom