The Center for Women is a thirty-bed residential facility for women who are still incarcerated and serving out the final years of their prison sentences. Opening in 1987 as a contract work release program, the Center was created to help women successfully transition from prison to their family and community while upholding the standards of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. In the last 28 years, 87% of the residents have successfully reentered their family and community.
Programs offered address factors that contribute to increased risk of criminal involvement. All residents at the Center for Women:
- Participate in the Lifeworks! re-entry program to prepare for release and help them to attain jobs while completing their time incarcerated
- Use the money earned from working off-site jobs to save money and pay debts, ensuring a level of financial security upon their release
- Participate in the Families Doing Time program as appropriate
- Receive the opportunity for continuing education via study release. This is paid for by community donations to a small education fund in addition to donations provided by the Sunshine Lady Foundation
- Receive opportunities to pursue personal enrichment in the form of gardening, jewelry making, quilting, etc.
- Participate in community volunteer program
- Participate in the home leave program if approved
- Participate in counseling that is offered at the facility as requested
- AA and NA as requested
- On site workshops that support life skills and positive leisure activities
- Transition plan that includes financial literacy and credit repair, budgeting, locating release housing, family reunification, furnishings for housing, managing supervision, etc.
Residents at the Center for Women are given a variety of different opportunities that those in a traditional prison environment do not get. When a woman arrives at the facility, she is put on track to gain employment in the community. We believe that this is the most vital key to success upon reentry. Employment provides a sense of self-worth and further, makes sure that no woman leaves the facility broke.
Resident Earnings (FY17)
- 45 women earned $358,110
- Of those 45 women, 16 paid a total of $40,042 in restitution
- Eight of the 45 women paid $9,257 in voluntary child support
Residents worked a variety of different jobs during the 2017 fiscal year. The bulk were in food service positions, but women also worked as landscaping assistants, office managers, call center representatives, and more. Think about this the next time you are out and about. Without knowing it, you may encounter a formerly incarcerated woman in your day-to-day activities who is actively working to contribute to her community and improve her life.
Criteria for Participation
The North Carolina Department of Public safety maintains that, in order to be considered for the program, inmates must:
- Be within three years of release
- Have achieved minimum custody level 3 (also known as honor grade)
- Be capable of working in the community
- Not had a serious infraction within the last year or a minor infraction within the last six months
- Be medically cleared to be at a facility with limited on-site medical staff
- Complete an application to participate in the program