Dismas House of St. Louis

Successful Second Chances for A Better St. Louis

Dismas House of St. Louis is one of the region’s Residential Reentry Centers (RRC) for those completing prison sentences.

Over the years, we have successfully prepared thousands of people to be productive citizens in the St. Louis area.

Our Mission, Vision & Objectives

The mission of Dismas House of St. Louis is to successfully prepare individuals returning from federal incarceration for reentry into the community. Our committed staff encourages clients to develop skills and become instilled with the personal traits required to be welcomed as responsible members of the St. Louis community.

Our vision is to provide our clients with successful second chances for a better St. Louis.

Our primary objective is to properly prepare justice-involved men for their return to a free society where they can live as productive citizens.

Additional objectives include:

  • Providing a positive, safe, and structured environment for the client.
  • Providing employment and/or educational, vocational placement.
  • Providing an atmosphere which encourages clients to improve family relationships and social readjustment.
  • Integrating services with the community resources to meet the needs of the client and community.
  • Enhancing the dignity and self-confidence of each individual client.

How We Help Our Clients Succeed

We provide a variety of services aimed at helping clients successfully return to the St. Louis community including:
Employment Assistance
Employment Assistance
Supervision & Monitoring 24 Hours a Day
Supervision & Monitoring 24 Hours a Day
Recreational Services
Recreational Services
Pass Privileges
Pass Privileges

Community Support
Community Support

Each client’s length of stay is determined by the referring authority, as well as the individual’s adjustment to our program. To learn more about the valuable services Dismas House provides to clients, click here.

Our Success Rate is Above the National Average

The recidivism rate, which is a statistic representing the number of clients unable to complete the program successfully during the time Dismas House manages their case, is twice as successful as the national average.



COVID-19 Response

At Dismas House of St. Louis, we remain diligent in our fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

We have been actively coordinating with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, medical authorities, and other agencies to help ensure there is a concerted effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our plan provides guidance that supplements any current, approved Dismas House continuity plan to bridge the gap between traditional challenges and the specific elements of this pandemic.

The Heritage of Dismas House of St. Louis

Old Dismas House

Dismas House was founded in 1959 by a Jesuit Priest, Father Charles “Dismas” Clark, and a Jewish criminal lawyer, Morris Shenker. Father Clark grew up in an environment of helping those less fortunate than he, and had the idea of starting a halfway house for ex-convicts, but lacked the means to finance it.

Later that year, Clark received permission from the Missouri Jesuit Province to open a halfway house. Shenker offered financial assistance and bought the former Jefferson school building at 905 Cole Street for $42,000 from the St. Louis Board of Education. Clark and Shenker renovated the school into a home for sixty men. They named it “Dismas House” after St. Dismas, the good thief who died next to Jesus. In spite of its name, and Father Clark’s priesthood, the house was non-sectarian.

Father Clark and Dismas House received a lot of publicity, not all of it favorable. He received his greatest notoriety after the release of the movie, “The Hoodlum Priest.” United Artists produced the movie and Don Murray played the part of Clark. Location shots were filmed in St. Louis and the premiere of the film opened at the Loew’s State Theater on February 28, 1961.

New Dismas House

In 1965, a benefit fundraiser titled “Live in St. Louis,” hosted by Johnny Carson and starring Frank Sinatra and the infamous Rat Pack, raised money and awareness for Dismas House of St. Louis.

In 1972, Dismas House moved to 5025 Cote Brilliante. Dismas House continues the philosophy of Father Clark: Rehabilitation takes place in society, not behind bars.

Click here to learn more about our long history as part of the St. Louis community.

Current News

Statement from Dismas House of St. Louis

For immediate release November 19, 2021

Dismas House of St. Louis, the nation’s first residential reentry center for individuals completing prison sentences, received notice today that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has awarded a new contract for providing individual assistance to clients nearing their release from incarceration in the greater St. Louis area.

The current Dismas House contract with the BOP is scheduled to expire February 28, 2022. The new contract is scheduled to begin March 1, 2022 and is to be administered by another entity.

The BOP did not provide reasons for why the new contract is to be awarded to an entity other than Dismas House of St. Louis. Dismas House is confident that the proposal submitted to the BOP to renew its contract would deliver maximum value for the taxpayer and is built on a record that is second-to-none in providing successful second chances for individuals reentering our community.

“This is surprising news. Nonetheless, our incredible team will continue to operate from this point forward as we always have, with the highest dedication to our clients and the community,” said John House, Dismas House Federal Program Director.

“Our administrative team maintains a great plan for our 50+ employees; paying good wages, tuition reimbursement, and exceptional medical benefits. We always keep our employees’ best interests firmly in mind,” said Carly Haas, Dismas House Human Resources Director.

Dismas House serves as the BOP residential reentry center for the Greater Metropolitan Area of St. Louis. The area includes the city of St. Louis, the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson counties in Missouri, and Madison, Monroe, Jersey and St. Clair Counties in Illinois.

Dismas House of St. Louis received the very first BOP contract for federal residential reentry services in the region and has implemented it without interruption ever since, indicative of our exceptional success rate serving clients.

Questions can be directed to Tara Barrett, Communications Director, at 314-361-2802 ext. 125.