Mental Health options

North Carolina’s mental health system is lacking psychiatric hospital beds, and the issue has continued to grow. On any given day, an average of 350 North Carolinians waited in emergency rooms because no psychiatric beds were available. WFAE Charlotte recently completed a nine part series on mental health care in North Carolina, and highlighted a […]

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. […]

How do we find new clients?

Each quarter, our admissions committee gathers to identify new clients for Changed Choices. The process begins long before that quarterly meeting. Before the pandemic, we met potential clients through our work at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, and our classes, counseling, and mentorship program. During COVID, we entrusted our current clients to be our advocates […]

The power of continuing education

Large graduation event

Last month, our staff had the opportunity to cheer for two clients continuing their education journey. Each women achieve a their goal of receiving their associate’s degree. Not only is this achievement something to celebrate, it’s an investment in their future. A Bureau of Justice Statistics study showed there is a 43% reduction in recidivism […]

Letters from clients

Changed Choices, I just wanted you to know, Every book you send and assignment you share gives me a chance to learn and grow. I’m so thankful, and you should know. Every letter/card you send my way gives me and many others a hope that we can overcome our struggles with every encouraging word. What […]

What is Kinship Care?

Kinship care for children of incarcerated parents is placement with a family member instead of foster care during a parent’s incarceration. More than 20% of children of incarcerated parents live with grandparents or other relatives. Nonparental caregivers face multiple challenges, such as enrolling children in school, and receiving state and federal services. On average, kinship […]

Incarcerated parents and the foster care system

May is Foster Care Awareness Month

Nearly 30,000 children, or approximately 6% of all children entering foster care, are placed due to parental incarceration. About 11% of women and 2% of men in prison report having children in foster care. May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and in North Carolina there are about 12,000 children are in the child welfare system. […]

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. […]