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MSCOR facility opens to help former inmates find work, resources

MSCOR Director Phyllis Fickling (with scissors) was joined by Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. and other dignitaries at the MSCOR ribbon-cutting ceremony.

MSCOR Director Phyllis Fickling (with scissors) was joined by Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. and other dignitaries at the MSCOR ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A ribbon cutting on Tuesday marked the opening of a new kind of facility in Shelby County: The Memphis and Shelby County Office of Re-entry (MSCOR).

Tennessee’s only joint-agency office to assist formerly incarcerated people find work and other resources officially opened Tuesday at its permanent location in south Memphis (1362 Mississippi Boulevard).

The center previously operated in temporary sites at 600 Adams Avenue and 1060 Madison Avenue.

Dignitaries attending the ceremony included Tennessee Department of Corrections Assistant Commissioner Dr. Marina Cadreche, Tennessee Department of Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons, Congressman Steve Cohen, Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr., and Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr.

MSCOR is a one-stop facility composed of staff from the Shelby County Division of Corrections, Tennessee Department of Corrections and the former Second Chance program operated by the City of Memphis.

The concept for a joint-agency re-entry center began in 2011 through Operation Safe Community, a monthly gathering of law enforcement and community agencies that monitor crime rates and collectively seek solutions to reduce crime throughout Shelby County.

Counselors and parole officers at the re-entry office assist formerly incarcerated individuals with housing, transportation, education and training, employment, mental and medical health, identification replacement, benefits reconnection, family reunification, community engagement and physical wellness. MSCOR has partnered with many community agencies to streamline the delivery of services to returning citizens.

Since January of 2015, almost 700 citizens have utilized the re-entry center. Approximately 7,000 people are released from prison in Shelby County each year. Almost 10,000 are under probation and parole supervision. Counselors also work with the inmates many months before their release from prison to define their needs and connect them with resources.

State corrections officials have been impressed with the joint-agency facility and say it may be replicated in other Tennessee communities.

For more information, call (901) 222-4550.

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