Second Chance Act of North Carolina

In 2020, The Second Chance Act was passed unanimously by the NC General Assembly. The bill expands eligibility for expunging multiple nonviolent misdemeanor convictions, and automates expungement of certain dismissed or “not guilty” charges. The Second Chance Act also allows prosecutors to petition for expungement for dismissed or “not guilty” charges and “youthful convictions”. Why […]

What impacts recidivism?

Each year, 22,000 individuals are released from North Carolina Department of Public Safety facilities. What it shown to have the greatest impact on recidivism? Individualized re-entry plans. Successful re-entry begins with planning well in advance of a person’s release date. Changed Choices clients begin working on successful re-entry as soon as they become a client. […]

A day of celebration!

On Saturday, our clients, volunteers, and staff gathered to celebrate 19 women’s accomplishments over the last year. Each year, Changed Choices celebrates pre-release and re-entry clients reaching their goals at our annual graduation party. This year, goals included: A big thank you to Matthews United Methodist Church for providing amazing food and fellowship. We can’t […]

Walking into freedom

This morning, she walks out of the door for the last time. Over the last two years, she worked diligently to set herself up for success. What does successful re-entry look like? The next few days, weeks, and months will hold a lot of “firsts”: How can we create a welcoming community for residents navigating […]

Is housing really accessible?

Safe and stable housing upon release is vital for successful re-entry, yet returning citizens face many obstacles. The average two bedroom apartment in Charlotte, NC runs $1600/month with 1 month’s rent for deposit. Rental agents often run background checks on new applicants, and the current process can leave returning citizens out of the rental market. […]

How do I get there?

Public transportation is a necessity for people re-entering the community from jail or prison, but what if you had never navigated it before? Challenges are often described as the 5 A’s: affordability, accessibility, applicability, availability, and awareness. Changed Choices uses volunteers to provide needed transportation the first few weeks after a client comes home. Clients […]

If you were starting over…

“It wasn’t how many people were there. It was the fact that I had to decide between 45 kinds of cereal.” Imagine for a second that you spent the past few years incarcerated. You day looked same everyday..when you woke up, when you brushed your teeth, when you ate meals, when you went outside. While […]

What’s a Release Card?

Rounding out our January series from Prison Policy Initiative, what’s a Release Card? When a person leaves a correctional facility, they often receive their funds, which include wages earned while incarcerated, support from family members, or money they possessed when arrested, on a pre-paid debit card. While pre-paid debit cards are common, it might be […]

Seeing the change in all of us

Alisha is one of our newest Ruth Snyder Home residents. The week she arrived, we went to Camino’s thrift store to get some clothes and then on to the food bank for pickup. At the food bank, the distribution workers were efficient and well organized, but the small parking lot was a hot mess. Getting […]