Blight Patrol out of money needed to continue helping felons

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- You may have seen them around town wearing bright green T-shirts, cleaning up blight.

They call themselves the Blight Patrol.

It’s a group of ex-offenders learning how to be productive citizens by cutting overgrown grass for the City of Memphis. Problem is, the program is out of money.

“We accept responsibility for our bad decisions, but now we are in the process of making better decisions,” said Executive Director Deandre Brown to his classroom of Blight Patrol trainees.

Brown's students might not be trying to conquer the world. Mostly, they are just trying to stay out of prison.

“James Brown, why are you here?” Brown asked a trainee.

“The real reason I am here is to stay off the streets,” said the ex-offender.

From drug dealers to violent offenders, all are welcome.

“If you have a felony, you qualify,” said Brown.

For the last five years, Brown has taken career criminals and turned them into productive citizens.

“After they have completed four weeks of training, they are able to join the Blight Patrol.”

The City of Memphis pays Lifeline to Success and its Blight Patrol team to cut overgrown grass.

The problem is that the city hasn't given them real work since December.

“During the winter months, when grass stops growing, there is really no need for people to cut grass.”

No money is coming in, so nobody's getting paid. Yet the training class continues five days a week, teaching felons how to redefine their lives.

“I was robbing and doing a whole lot of messed up things,” said a felon in the class.

“When we are laid off, it's a little difficult to keep the lights on,” said Brown.

What the men and women learn inside the classroom, Brown says, does not just lead to a minimum wage wage job but also builds character and strength for a better future.

“Just being here every day has changed my attitude about being out there period,” said an offender about the street life.

“Our program focuses on those that no one else wants to focus on,” said Brown. “We want the ones what people say they can't be helped, the people given up on, because we know that transformation is possible.”

Before felons can clean up blight, Brown says they need tools, not just for yard work, but for life.

If you would like to help Lifeline to Success continue its work to help ex-offenders and reduce crime in our city, here are the links to donate:


  • mr matt

    all the people out here that need a job and they hear…if you got a felony, you got a job. no need to get a degree, just rob somebody and after a little time served you are manager at mickey dees

    • b4ldhe4d ginzoo (@b4ldhe4d101)

      and to you scumbag trolling on the internet gets you nothing stop hiding behind your comments like a little punk off the streets you sir are no better than the average gangbanger you cause division when there needs to be leadership obviously you are that man that locks his door when a black man passes so if your not going to say it to somones face shove it and shut up geez you coward ohh yeah you see my face therfore im a man you are a boy stay in your place lowlife

      • mr matt

        thank you for showing your face bald head nigzoo what the f ev u call yourself. now can an authority figure in charge of funding these programs please click baldhead nigzoo so we can all see what our tax dollars go to when we hire felons that want more than they deserve. you have never worked a real job and you cut some grass and think the world owes u something. from the looks of your twitter page u are just a typical ni@@er loser…good day

  • browning

    get the blight families make up the shortage, public money was used when they received free room & board, let their families pick up the tab

    • b4ldhe4d ginzoo (@b4ldhe4d101)

      also for the bass pro shop the peabody place and a few more fails that the city has paid for but you seem to be a happy customer people like you should leave memphis if you dont like the rebuilding proccess just do us a favor get on the highway and never come back after all your taxes dont make or break a city you can stay around the corner from the white house and still get robbed crime is everyhere just ask all the pedofiles in the suburbs

  • SayNoMore

    We need this group to help control the overgrown lots and illegal dumping throughout the City. Felons need to work, too. If they don’t work, they cannot have a place to live and food to eat (simple basics). At least if through City funding and resident’s taxable contributions, we get a cleaner City, fewer crimes and the felons get life skills that may help them get better employmant and stay out of criminal activities. Either way, we all will pay so let’s try to help by being constructive. Good luck in acquring added funding.

  • Memphis Has Fallen

    Wow! These people have absolutely no shame, whatsoever. These people rob/steal from you. They take possessions from people that have worked hard to acquire them ( I should know, I’ve had my home broken into). This causes even further financial loss to replace and/or repair stolen/damaged property (insurance doesn’t always cover it all). Homeowners/renters insurance premiums go up, again costing you more money. Financial loss, again, occurs from time taken of work to file police/insurance reports/claims. After all of that money spent out of victims’ pockets for their crime, they now have the audacity to ask for more money! I say to them “tough [S]ugar [H]oney [I]ce [T]ea”.

    • JDM

      Well you’re obviously too bitter to think it through. Everything has a cost so just do the frakking math! What is the rate of recidivism compared to other felons? Fewer repeat offenders results in a reduction in all the costs you rant about. How does the cost of these guys doing the work compare with paying non-convicts to do it? If the numbers make sense, I’d support this program. If not, scrap it and find something else to push these people to clean themselves up.
      Your cute little reverse acronym answer isn’t an answer, it’s a reaction.

  • Terrie

    Ok, i think its a good idea. I dont understand why they get paid. Work for food/shelter maybe but paid? No. They need to get the people that live in that same area to clean up thier own mess. Im tired of enabling all these people simply because they are lazy & don’t care. Really?

  • prosper4group

    We are a company that tries to help ex-offenders get job and therefore, stop them from re-offending. It is true that if an ex-offender come of prison with no money, shelter and no job it is pointless to be released it is better to be in prison since you will end up committing crime anyway. So our idea is to provide a long lasting assistance most importantly employment rather than temporary aid which we should all try try to do, but funding is indeed the issue.

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