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Our History

 Dismas House was founded by Father Charles “Dismas” Clark in 1959.. Father Clark was a Jesuit priest who had long had the goal of helping ex-offenders by giving them a place to stay while they got on their feet after releasing from prison.


Along with Morris Shenker, a Russian immigrant lawyer, Clark opened Dismas House in 1959. At the time, halfway houses were a radical concept and initially met with a lot of resistance within the community. Today, halfway houses are commonplace and are recognized as a valuable asset to the offender and an integral part of the criminal justice system.

Today, Dismas House serves referrals from the United States Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Probation Offices in the Eastern District of Missouri and Southern District of Illinois, the Pretrial Services Office, and direct court commitments. Residents can stay anywhere for a few days up to six months or longer, depending on their needs as determined by their referring authority.