Sixth annual Lifecycle Conference held

Sharon Hurt and DCSO Community Relations Director Thomas Hunter at Lifecycle Conference. (photo by Cass Teague)

Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office held their sixth annual Lifecycle Conference on Thursday, July 18, 2019 at the St. James Missionary Baptist Church. The Lifecycle Conference is designed to provide education and awareness for the community on issues regarding offenders in an effort to promote community collaboration that develops awareness and solution-based programs in hopes of breaking the cycle of addiction, mental illness, joblessness, & homelessness.

The purpose of the design of the annual event is to stimulate discussion of ideas that would challenge the community reception of the ex-offender; to share ideas regarding the need to have multiple county, community, and jail programs working in unison; to exchange information and ideas specific to the inmate incarceration and how to best use that time; to increase awareness of the value and benefits of offender workforce development in conjunction with the re-entry process; to ultimately increase safety in Davidson County by reducing recidivism; and to create a viable countywide network of communication between the DCSO and community partners.

The Lifecycle Conference is the brainchild of DCSO Community Relations Director Thomas E. Hunter, Sr. Years ago, he had the idea of creating a day where local for-profit businesses, non-profit businesses, and the community could get together to meet and discuss the needs of those incarcerated and find or develop ways to contribute to a successful transition for them from jail back into the community.

Breakout Sessions were held on the following topics by the individuals and organizations as follows: Crime reduction and transportation by Greg Gabis (Vista) and Jackie Sims (P.A.T.H.); Youth in our city by Darrel Caldwell (Why We Can’t Wait) and Kara Johnson (F.I.N.D. Design); Faith & social entrepreneurs by Missy Wallace (NIFW) and Will Radford (Local Distro); Community school by Tony Majors (MNPS) and Tequila Johnson (Equity Alliance); Mental health collaborative transition by Marie Williams (TDMHSAS); Social justice in the city by James Turner (IMF) and Keith Caldwell (NAACP); and Affordable housing by Dismas House.

Among the sponsors and community partners were Dismas House; Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship; Tennessee Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Davidson County Sheriff’s Office; Nashville Institute for Faith and Work; The F.I.N.D. Design (Families In Need of Direction); The Equity Alliance; the NAACP; Local Distro; Americorps Vista; Gideon’s Army; Why We Can’t Wait; and The P.A.T.H. Coalition. Interns provided by Congressman Cooper’s office were at each meeting taking notes to help with community follow up that will occur throughout the year.

Sheriff Hall was the morning keynote speaker, then the breakout sessions were held, after which lunch followed, and a panel discussion of candidates running for Metro Council-at-Large concluded the day’s events. The panel was moderated by Rev. Dr. George T. Brooks, Sr. the lead pastor at St. James. The nine (out of 15 total) candidates who attended and participated were (alphabetically): Burkley Allen, Reuben Dockery, Steve Glover, Sharon Hurt, Howard Jones, Bob Mendes, Gary Moore, Zulfat Suara, and Sheri Weiner.