As followers of Christ, we empower currently and recently incarcerated women to achieve lasting, positive change through programming and personalized mental, emotional, physical and spiritual support.
Back in 1999, Ruth Snyder began visiting two women incarcerated in the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Detention Center. She found the ladies broken, afraid and feeling very much alone. Ruth recruited others and they began to teach, mentor and encourage an increasing number of women at MCSO on a spiritual and emotional level. When the women left MCSO to go to prison, personal contact continued through the mail and phone calls. It was out of this that "Changed Choices" was born. A nonprofit agency which has continued to develop; meeting the needs of the "clients" they followed into prison.
Staff and volunteers serve the ladies at MCSO as chaplains' assistants, mentors, life skills instructors, and professional counselors.
Pre-Release clients, women with at least two years remaining on their sentence who have been accepted to the program, receive support during their sentence. We provide correspondence with a Pre-Release Care Manager, a pen pal, a Bible Study coach, card writers, and for some, provisions for basic needs.
We support clients as they return to the community. Our Re-Entry Care Manager and volunteers provide the tools and resources the women need for successful independent living in our community such as housing, employment, and family reunification. Some clients reside at our Ruth Snyder Re-Entry Home.
Our program along with partnerships in the community has made Changed Choices a leader in helping women build new lives beyond prison walls. Today, the very low recidivism rate continues to speak clearly to the effectiveness of the program. We continue to rely on our strong volunteer base to carry out our mission.
Changed Choices, as a ministry and as individuals called to serve this ministry, is committed to anti-racism, knowing that it is a learning, challenging and even uncomfortable process.