Demetrus Coonrod Speaks to Women Silverdale Inmates About Changing Their Lives

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod spoke to a group of women in the Silverdale Detention Facility today.

It was part of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Re-Entry Program.

As a part of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office 2 year old Re-Entry Program, former inmate, now reformed -and Chattanooga City Councilwoman, Demetrus Coonrod, spoke to a group of women at Silverdale Detention Center today.

It was her first time back in the facility since being released.

She said that hearing this sound –

(Door slaming – BOOM!)

-brought back memories.

“It reminded me of when, and it just sparked that fire, re-energized it again, like this is your why. This is your why. You have to give back. Empower those young ladies – not just the ladies, but the men if I get the opportunity to do that as well, so they’ll know and understand that it doesn’t stop here for them,” Chattanooga City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod.

Councilwoman Coonrod told the women that she had blown opportunities like a scholarship and ended up in the revolving door of jail time, release, and then back to jail.

“When I walk out there, I’m going to be awesome, I’m not coming back, but what happens is what? You don’t have the tools and the resources to continue to help you to do great,” said Councilwoman Coonrod.

Ms. Coonrod told the women she spoke with at Silverdale today, they need to develop a plan, and make a determined effort that they will not return to this facility.

“If it’s somebody who’s been there, and can walk that path in those same shoes, they’re going to remember you as that person that inspired them to want to change their life,” said Councilwoman Coonrod.

Wendy Harris is the Re-Entry Program Supervisor.

“In spite of being called a convicted felon, in spite of things that they may have done in the past, that they can start a new beginning, and I felt that Councilwoman Coonrod could definitely attest to that and that they could really benefit from hearing her story,” said Wendy Harris, Re-Entry Supervisor, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Some of the women shared their thoughts on the speech.

“It actually opened up a doorway for me that I never thought that could be opened. But knowing that she made it, just gave me inspiration to know that I could make it too,” said Whitney Gilliam, Silverdale inmate.

“I have 9 kids, and a husband that just recently got shot on October 6th last year – he can’t work and I’m the only one that can work, so I am – this is my last rodeo,” said Lesley Blansit, Silverdale inmate.

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Local News