About Us - Tennessee Office of Reentry


The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Office of Reentry (TOOR) is a statewide comprehensive source for reentry information, direction, and planning. Inspired by Governor Bill Lee’s vision, TOOR was created in July of 2021 to coordinate comprehensive workforce services to support Justice Involved Individuals (JIIs), via the Department’s statewide network of American Job Centers (AJC).

Reentry Advisors are ready to help!

All American Job Centers throughout Tennessee provide direct services to Justice Involved Individuals. The largest AJCs, which are called comprehensive offices, in addition have Career Specialists who serve as Reentry Advisors. TOOR provides the Reentry Advisors with additional training, resources, and networking that will better help them and other AJC staff to serve JIIs.

Learn more about services for Justice Involved Individuals:

  • How can an American Job Center help you? American Job Centers (AJCs) provide free help to job seekers for a variety of career and employment-related needs. Nearly 2,400 AJCs, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, are located throughout the United States.
  • Is a criminal record affecting your job search? CareerOneStop's job search help offers information, tips, and resources to help people with criminal convictions overcome barriers they might face in their job search.
  • Find out about training options. You know that training can change your work life. Now find out which type is right for you.

TOOR’s work is guided by three key objectives:

  • Advance efforts to assist Justice Involved Individuals overcome barriers to employment
  • Improve the data tracking involving JIIs
  • Increase awareness of the value that JIIs bring to the workforce

Located within the Department's Workforce Services Division, the Tennessee Office of Reentry is entirely state funded.

Some common terms used by TOOR are:

  • Reentry: the transition from incarceration - life in prison, jail, or juvenile justice facilities - to life in the community.
  • Recidivism: generally, the relapsing of someone back into criminal behavior. This is often defined through a “recidivism rate,” which is the rate of those returning to incarceration, usually measured on a three-year scale from release.
  • JII: Justice Involved Individual. The term refers to anyone who has had interactions with the criminal justice system as a defendant. A person who has been labeled as a felon, a convict, a criminal, an offender, or a parolee is known as a justice involved individual. "JII" is a "person-centric" term, unlike other terms that define someone solely by that person's past. This is similar to other terms that might be used such as: returning citizen, people with records, or people with lived experience.

Consider these statistics:

  • Tennessee currently has approximately 30,000 people incarcerated in jail and approximately 20,000 people incarcerated in prison.
  • Out of these, approximately 95% will be released.
  • 1 in 3 Tennesseans has a criminal background.
  • 1 in 2 Tennesseans has a family member that has been incarcerated.
  • Recidivism rate (defined in TN as the rate for those with felony convictions to be re-incarcerated within three years) is currently 46%.
  • Unemployment rate for Tennessee: 3.5% (December 2022); Unemployment rate for the formerly incarcerated: 27%.

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This Page Last Updated: October 20, 2023 at 12:27 PM