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About the Center for Community Transitions

The Center for Community Transitions (CCT), formerly ECO, Inc. has been a part of the community solution to crime in our area for over 40 years. Everyday people receive reentry and family services from CCT to rebuild their lives and families while dealing with job and financial difficulties that result from incarceration.

Mission

The Center for Community Transitions is a non-profit organization with a mission to strengthen our community by helping people with criminal records and their families find a healthier and more productive way of living.

Our work provides employment and transition services; supports alternatives to incarceration; and restores and strengthens family bonds.

Our Goals

  • To return individuals to their family and our community as law abiding citizens and reengage them as parents, employees and neighbors.
  • To break the cycle of recidivism and of intergenerational criminal justice involvement.
  • To advocate for social justice changes in the system that eliminates barriers and obstacles to full restoration of citizen rights.
  • To strengthen families affected by incarceration.

Who We Serve

CCT serves any person who has had an encounter with the criminal justice system, and families impacted by incarceration.

What We Do

CCT meets its mission through these programs and Initiatives:

  • LifeWorks! provides practical training, employment seeking assistance, help in defining personal values and assist with making thinking and behaviors better match those values. Please see the LifeWorks! page for more information.
  • Families Doing Time provides a continuum of services to families of incarcerated individuals through family events, support groups, information sharing and training for professionals. Please see the Families Doing Time page for more information.
  • The Center for Women is a 30-bed residential program for women who are still incarcerated and eligible to participate in a reentry program. The reentry program assist with transition planning and action plans including employment, family reunification, housing and other individual needs.

Affiliations and Formal Partnerships

  • United Way of Central Carolinas
  • North Carolina Department of Public Safety
  • NC Center for Nonprofits
  • Reentry Partners of Mecklenburg
  • Mecklenburg County
  • Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
  • American Correctional Association
  • Workforce Development Partners
  • Homeless Services Network
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont
  • Changed Choices
  • Crisis Assistance Ministry
  • Loaves and Fishes

History

In the early 1970s an intern with the North Carolina Department of Correction (NCDOC) presented a white paper to reduce recidivism by helping people find employment and housing when they are released from prison. Research at that time and still today cites employment as a means to reduce recidivism. From that document, NCDOC applied for Vista Volunteers to work in the Charlotte area to assist prisoners to find housing and employment when released. At one time ECO had a halfway house for men located in the Elizabeth area.

Out of that work, ECO, Inc. was created. The first offices for the organization were located in the basement of First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. Soon after ECO began, staff began to realize that when a person is incarcerated their family serves a prison sentence with them. Research showed that a person who maintains family connections while incarcerated is more successful in reentering their family and community. Strengthening connections with family can provide the returning family member with housing, food, transportation assistance and networking for employment.

Today the employment and housing assistance program is known as LifeWorks! and the family program is known as Families Doing Time.

In 1987, ECO opened a 20-bed work release program for women who were completing their state prison sentences and were within 3 years of parole. This program has operated continuously since that time and is now The Center for Women, housing 30 female offenders transitioning from prison to home.

In 1996, ECO opened “Deborah’s House,” a program for women being released from prison who had no housing available. This program housed up to 10 women and operated as a “halfway house” for those released. The program closed 4 years later.

In 2007, the board approved to change the organization’s name from ECO, Inc. to “The Center for Community Transitions, Inc.”

In 2010, the Center for Women moved to a newly built facility that now houses 30 women in the university area of Charlotte.

As of 2016, the LifeWorks! program is located on the Goodwill Opportunity Campus on Wilkinson Blvd. Clients receive excellent reentry service and have access to a variety of community services including, health care, financial literacy and career development services.

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