Author Archives: Myra Clark

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#DoGoodWeek in Charlotte and CCT

It’s #DoGoodWeek in Charlotte – a week of honoring AND recruiting volunteers! CCT Executive Director, Myra Clark, and CCT Volunteer, Joanna Patcha, appeared on FOX 46’s “Good Day” show to talk about our work and some volunteer opportunities.

Our current volunteer opportunities are listed on our ShareCharlotte Page. 

Table displays for The Second Chance Alliance

April is Second Chance Month

All month CCT has been celebrating Second Chance Month as an informal month declared by a peer organization, Prison Fellowship, but today, it became official. The U.S. Senate Declared April Second Chance Month nationwide.

It’s fitting then that we also visited our state legislators today as part of a coalition of reentry organizations across NC called the Second Chance Alliance. On behalf of our clients, we lobbied for several pieces of legislation that make sense for reentry and are smart on crime. Download the attached to see a full list of legislation we’re supporting, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for legislative updates.

SCA, action request, 2017 (1)

Two women water a newly made garden bed.

New Garden at the Center for Women

Last week volunteer extraordinaire, Pam Eavenson, assisted residents of the Center for Women with starting a vegetable and herb garden. The garden is on the grounds of our main facility and we look forward to watching it grow alongside our residents. Make sure you check it out next time you visit.

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NC Aims to Reduce Use of Solitary Confinement

NC has reduced its use of solitary confinement by more than 50% since 2012 but still has a long way to go according to a recently released Vera Institute report. Currently, incarcerated individuals may find themselves in solitary confinement (also known as segregation units) for minor infractions such as swearing. At some state facilities the average time spent in solitary is nearly five years. The Vera Institute also found racial disparities in the use of solitary. The state faces major staff shortages making it difficult to provide alternatives to segregation. The report also pointed out that many people are being released from years in solitary confinement directly back into the community, making their transition all the more difficult. The institute recommends moving people out of solitary Confinement and into reentry units. CCT is glad the state leadership is committed to continuing to take steps to reduce the use of solitary confinment and to put more resources toward reentry housing units. To learn more, read the article in the Charlotte Observer.

Charlotte Opportunity Task Force

The Charlotte Opportunity Task Force, a group of 20 community members who spent 18 months studying intergenerational povery in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, released its report at the end of March. Charlotte-Mecklenburg was ranked 50th out of 50 in an economic mobility study conducted on America’s largest cities in 2013, and the task force aimed to discover the causes of constrained mobility and propose solutions. The Task Force included the collateral consequences of incarceration in the report. Incarceration effects family strength and stability, income, savings, education, and housing. As the city moves forward in trying to address the concerns raised in the report, CCT expects to see reentry assistance and policy advocacy opportunities related to mitigating the effects of incarceration on families and individuals. You can read the full report at  https://leadingonopportunity.org/

Members of St. Matthew's Just Faith Program Participate

Experiential Workshops for Your Organization

Does your organization/community of faith/school seek a greater understanding of incarceration and what it is like to reenter the community? Do you want to understand the challenges our clients face? Are you concerned about the impact having a loved one incarcerated has on children? Want to know what you can do to help?

CCT offers experiential workshops for groups like yours. We’ll walk you through simulations and scenarios that give you a deeper understanding of what life is like for our clients. You’ll also learn about policies you can advocate for and ways you can help CCT continue to carry out our mission.

Contact us today at communications@centerforcommunitytransitions.org

New Offering: Business Bootcamp

In partnership with Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont and Carolinas Institute for Entrepreneurship, CCT launched a new four-week course called Business Bootcamp. It is a four-week course on business basics for people thinking about starting their own business. To our delight, several of the students are interested in starting their own nonprofit organizations! We are in talks about offering the course again in the future.

LifeWorks! Director, Erik Ortega, conducts day long workshop in Gastonia.

LifeWorks! in Gastonia

CCT LifeWorks! has been working with Goodwill Southern Piedmont and Gaston County to bring some of their programming to reentry clients in Gastonia. In February, they conducted a day long workshop with federal inmates at the Gaston County Jail. The program was well-received, and talks are ongoing to bring more services to the area.

The reunited family poses for a photo outside our Center for Women.

A Mother Sees her Daughters for the First Time in 6 Years

Latasha was transferred to CCT Center for Women earlier this year after six years in prison. A wife and mother of two, she struggled with her roles as both behind bars. Her husband, Todd, a wonderful father, did not want their two girls, Baylee and Tannon, to be exposed to the prison atmosphere, and decided that they would not visit their mother in prison. It was a tough decision, one that no family should have to make.

The environment at the Center for Women is very different from a regular corrections facility, resembling a dormitory more than a prison. There are no bars or barbed wire. Residents may decorate their rooms, which they share with one roommate, as they wish. On any given day you’ll see the hustle and bustle of the women coming and going from work, school, or adventures out in the community with our amazingly dedicated volunteer sponsors. So when Latasha came here, she told Todd it was a much more suitable environment for their two girls.

Latasha plays basketball with her youngest daughter.

Latasha plays basketball with her youngest.

After visiting our facility himself, he decided that yes, the homey atmosphere was healthy enough for his children. So, after six long years, the family reunited. After hugs and joyful tears, the foursome played several games of basketball outside the dorm, soaking in the sunshine and relishing simply being together.

By allowing our residents to rebuild relationships and restore family bonds while they are finishing their sentences, we know that they are more likely to make a successful transition back into their homes and communities when they are released.

“My life forever changed”

This Christmas the staff and residents of CCT’s Center for Women received a heartwarming and encouraging Christmas card from a former resident. The Center for Women is our residential facility for women who are finishing out the last 1 to 3 years of their prison sentences. The Center aims to make reentry smoother for the residents. Residents are employed in the community, are sponsored by volunteers to go to off-site events, are able to attend community college, and are assisted by a case manager in finding housing on release.

As staff, we feel so privileged to be a part of this client’s journey, and there is no better Christmas present than to hear a client is doing well! (Full text below image)

Testimonial Card

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to the staff and Residents!

Ladies: I had the pleasure to be at CCTW from 2010-2013, the opportunities and resources that were made available to me while there absolutely put the finishing touches on me before my release. I want to thank the staff (Myra, Tiffany, Joy, and the many others that passed through those doors!!) and everyone of the people & community programs that help, encourage, and give their time to do all they could for myself and all the ladies that were there and will be there in the future. Thank you. My life forever changed the minute I walked into that huge white house on Park Place Dr. (the original, yeah I’m one of those :-) ) And I have only respect, gratitude, and an abundance of love for the ECO program and most of all Myra!!! Stay on course ladies, I am proof there is a REAL life and real means out here for us all. . .

Sorry I ran out of space. Just too many awesome memories, opportunities, and programs, mental health help, and just a real once in a lifetime experience that I was very much blessed to get. God opened many many doors for me, and as long as I do my part, stay the course, he continues to. Just had to let y’all know it’s possible to get out and do, not just say!

Joy, love, peace, and all my prayers,

A former CCT Client

Feeling inspired to help out? The Center for Women is always seeking volunteers and donations are always appreciated.

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