Category Archives: Newsletters

NC Seeking to Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction

North Carolina is the only state that tries 16 and 17 year old children as adults for misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes. New York recently passed legislation to phase out charging minors as adults for nonviolent crimes, leaving our state to stand alone and not in a good way.

Current legislation in the NC General Assembly seeks to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction, also known as the age of criminal responsibility, to 18, bringing North Carolina in sync with every other state in the country. Although raising the age has faced some opposition from lawmakers who wish to appear tough on crime, research shows that charging children within the adult system has been ineffective. The juvenile system focuses more on rehabilitation and has a more beneficial effect on preventing future crime. In recent years, the tide of public opinion has turned against trying children as adults, and the fact that NC now stands alone in doing so, is a testament to that change. The Center for Community Transitions is in favor of the North Carolina State House’s bill to raise the age because the current system is ineffective, harms our state’s children, and hurts our economy.

Charging minors as adults for nonviolent crimes needs to stop. Nearly 28,000 16 and 17-year-olds are arrested and face the prosecution as adults in criminal court each year. However, 72% of these crimes are misdemeanors, or less serious crimes. Children who face prison time in adult facilities are more likely to face violence and come out with a greater risk of committing another offense and returning to jail. Further, these individuals face barriers to employment, housing, and other basic needs. This in turn puts added strain on our economy and social services. Additionally, the trying, convicting, and sentencing of youth as adults disproportionately effects minorities and the working class. This is a problem. We as a society need to ask ourselves why we continue to use a system that is ineffective.

Subjecting children to the adult justice system is harmful. Children housed in adult prisons are more likely to be rearrested when they are released when compared to the inmate population at large. They also face higher risks of sexual assault and suicide. Why are we continuing to expose children with non violent offenses to this environment before they have even crossed the stage and received their high school diploma? Tough on crime policies are those that focus on zero tolerance to provide law and order. They emphasize the need to punish offenders rather than ensure they do not commit another crime. Some politicians and law enforcement leaders especially have held this view as to not appear weak or soft on crime. However, in Kamala Harris’ book “Smart on Crime” she explains that old tactics in crime prevention just aren’t working. Rehabilitative methods, however, are effective in terms of ensuring the person does not re-offend. Rehabilitation is especially effective with teenagers whose brains are not finished developing. In fact, our minds do not finish developing until our mid to late twenties. With teenagers being a work in progress mentally and emotionally, rehabilitative methods such as counseling and community service are more effective.

Limited economic prospects for youth hurts our entire state’s economy. It is a simple equation. If taxpayers are paying to hold people in prison who could be working, the state is losing money. To look exactly at how raising the age will save the state money, we will take a look at past examples. According to William Lassiter, North Carolina’s head of juvenile justice, past reforms to the juvenile-justice system have led to short-term cost increases but long-term savings have ultimately resulted. In the late 1990s, the system of youth justice was reformed placing a greater emphasis on mental health. Lassiter said the reforms were largely responsible for decreasing juvenile crimes; significantly and while the programs were more expensive in the short term, they provided long term savings. Lassiter reports that, “In 2008 our budget was $178 million. Last year it was $132 million. So already we have saved the taxpayers a significant amount of money.” If somehow, the good for our children can’t motivate us to reform the system, maybe it will motivate us when the pockets of taxpayers feel the effects of a broken system.

Another disturbing aspect of trying juveniles as adults, is is has been repeatedly shown that minorities and low income whites are more likely to be tried as adults, convicted, and sentenced than higher income whites. Minority youth, particularly African Americans, typically face harsher sentencing for the same crime. According to Human Rights Watch, “more than 2,500 people in the United States have been convicted of a crime committed before they were 18 years old and sentenced to life without parole. Nationwide, African Americans make up only 11.1 percent of the population yet are 60 percent of the prisoner population serving life without the opportunity for parole for nonviolent offenses. This is especially a problem as incarcerating minorities at a high rate for non violent offenses promotes a generational cycle of poverty. We have to fight this and support a level playing field for all our state’s children.

Currently the bill to raise the age has passed in the state house and is heading to the senate. If it passes there, the law will go into effect in 2020. If every other state has figured it out, we can and will here in North Carolina. But don’t just wait for the vote. Call your state senators and tell them you support House Bill 280. We need to raise the age so all of our children are safe and are free to pursue opportunities for success.

Newsletter – April, 2017

CCT News

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.

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. Read More >

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. Read More >


Arlington Baptist Church
Audra Atkinson
Tammi Burdine
Carolina Industrial Trucks
Myra Clark
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Thomas David Eiselt
Enpro Industries, Inc.

First Presbyterian Church
J. Kay Harris
Janine Lafferty
Mike McNamara
St. Luke Cathoic Church
St. Peter’s Catholic Church
United Way of the Central Carolinas
Lynn Whelan


Events

Documentary Screening “13th” April 22

The Concord Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated will host a community viewing of the documentary “13TH” followed by a panel discussion (including CCT’s own, Erik Ortega) on US criminal justice system reform. More information here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cac-public-screening-panel-discussion-tickets-33308901822

Do Good Week April 23 – 29

#DoGoodWeek is a city-wide week-long celebration of volunteerism. Everyone is encouraged to participate in or sign up for volunteer activities during this week. For a list of CCT volunteer opportunities, visit: https://sharecharlotte.org/nonprofit/center-community-transitions

Lobby Day – April 25

Lobby Day with Second Chance Alliance. Representative from various reentry-related organizations will meet with NC legislators in Raleigh.

Business Bootcamp May 4 – May 25

The next session of CCT’s Business Bootcamp will begin May 4th and run through May 25th at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus. CCT clients can register by calling 704-374-0762 ex. 3709

CCT’s Spring Fling

May 11 (see below)

Newsletter – March, 2017

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.

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.


CCT News

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.

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.

Welcome 2 New Employees

CCT LifeWorks! welcomes two new workforce development specialists to our team! Walter Gilispie, Jr. retired from military service in 2015 after 30 years and has his B.S. in Criminal Justice. Jerome Gaymon has his B.A. in Criminal Justice and also served in the military! Both of them volunteered with CCT for a time before coming on as employees and we are so happy to have them both on board. 


At CCT we rely on generous donors like you to provide the resources we need. Thank you to everyone who donated in the months of January and February.

Cyd S. Anderson
Anonymous
Arlington Baptist Church
Audra Atkinson
Bank of America Matching Gift Program
Deborah Bell
Amanda Capobianchi
Myra Clark
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Peggie Crowder
David L. Drum
Jonathan Eide
Miki Eide
Episcopal Church Women of Christ Church
Cyrus Johnson Jr.
Atalaya Henrietta Johnson
Dorian A. Johnson
Kenneth Jordan
Wendy Kauffman
Cora Knox
Eva F. Lee
Thomas Patrick Long
Patricia Martelly
Chris McGee
Mecklenburg County ABC Board
Deborah B. Mingo
David Nance
Tony Orsbon
James Plyler
Kimberly Parker Reese
St. John’s Baptist Church
St. Luke Catholic Church
The Bob Barker Company Foundation
Crystal Turner
United Way of the Central Carolinas
John P. Williams
Sandra Willoughby
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation


Events

Career Expo

March 22, 10am-12pm

The Goodwill Opportunity Campus is hosting a career expo for people with criminal records. Individuals who want to attend are required to complete a 1 hr. long prep class beforehand. The next prep class is March 20th at 2pm. Contact LifeWorks! for more information at (704) 374-0762.

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.

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.

Newsletter – January, 2017

CCT Awarded at Silver Mount Baptist Church

As we honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., what an awesome service we had on Sunday at Silver Mount Baptist Church. The music was wonderful and the preaching was soul stirring. It was also our distinguished pleasure to recognize the Center for Community Transitions and the work that they do. A financial donation will be made to this phenomenal organization in the coming weeks. On behalf of our Moderator, Rev. Donnie Garris, I commend CCT again for your efforts in bringing positive change in the lives of others. 
 
Yours in His Service, 
 
Rev. Sidney Phillips, 
Pastor Millennium Temple Baptist : UMBA, MLK Chairperson 
Debt – A Major Barrier to Successful Re-Entry
This month, the National Institute of Justice released a major publication in collaboration with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management on financial barriers to re-entry. When a person is released from prison, they often owe money in the form of fines, fees, surcharges and restitution. Unfortunately, most policies do not take into account that person’s ability to pay. The result is many formerly incarcerated people find themselves deeply in debt. Many were living in poverty before prison, and come out in worse circumstances, increasing their reliance on public assistance. For some, this contributes to a new offense and recidivism.

The paper suggests alternatives to fines, fees, and restitution including community service and makes recommendations on policy changes which take into account ability to pay. The full paper can be read at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249976.pdf.

Second Chance Employment – Participate in a New Study
As you know, one of the most difficult parts about re-entry is finding a job when you have a record. Yet, finding stable employment is one of the biggest predictors of successful re-entry. As a community, if we want to reduce recidivism and have a safer and more productive community, we need more businesses to give folks a second chance. While we know from the many success stories we hear every day that second chancers make fantastic employees, there isn’t a lot of research out there to give us some statistics on how great they are. If we want more businesses to hire people with records, we need to be able to show that it makes business sense.

That is why Dave’s Killer Bread, a second chance employer in Ohio, has commissioned a new study to compare employees who have a criminal record to those who don’t on some basic performance metrics. If you work for a business that has hired second chancers, email info@dkbfoundation.org to participate.

By the way, here are 3 Unexpected Facts About Candidates with Criminal Records.

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Dear Donors and Funders,

Each year CCT conducts a year-end giving campaign during the holidays to raise funds to support our programs for the following year. This year, thanks to your support, we surpassed our goal. Thank you to our board members who gave generously and also raised money on our behalf, and thank you to all who gave.

Your generosity and support make a huge difference in the lives of those we serve. Without your help, we would not be able to carry out our mission. We want to take a moment to recognize all those who donated money or items in December.

Jordan Abshire
Anonymous
Arlington Baptist Church
Audra Atkinson
Marian Beane
Beth Bennett-Hill
Daniel Biber
The Browning Household
John and Tammi Burdine
Mary Anna Calhoun
Carolina Industrial Trucks
The Cassada Household
Milt Childress
Myra Clark
Dumont Clarke
Charlotte Comick
Judith Cook
Allene and Jim Cooley
Morrison Creech
Savannah Crespo
Sherri Davis
Barb De Mase
Jonathan Eide
Elevation Church
Catherine El-Khouri
Leila and Thomas Evans
Ted Fillette
Fannie Flono
William Foley
Mary Folley
Angela Forde
Rosemarie Gancer
Jon Harris
Ann L. Hester
Phil Holladay
Cyrus Johnson, Jr.
Patricia Klein
Mary Klenz
Jennie Lancaster
Luke Largess
Eva F. Lee
Cathie Long
Mark and Lindsay Merritt
Mary Milan
Wendy P. Mills
Karen Moegerle
Patricia Morrison
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Dessa
David Nance
Pamela Nemecek
Susan Oleson
Tony Orsbon
James Plyer
Charlene Price Patterson
William Pye
Emily Reinke
Lisa Reynolds
Jennifer Roberts
David Schilli
Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church
L.D. Simmons
Russell Sizemore
Mary Stokes
Bonnie Tangalos
Marjorie Warlick Tate
Mary Theiling
Cynthia Turner
Bright Wright
Joe Young


Upcoming Events

CCT Board Retreat
Friday, January 20, 2017
9am – 12:30pm, GOC

Newsletter – Fall 2016

CCT’s Fall 2016 Newsletter is out! We’ve had a busy a quarter including our LifeWorks! program’s big move to the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, and the addition of a new service.

You can view the full document below. For the best experience, use the button in the lower right corner to switch to full screen. You can also download and print the newsletter at home. If you want to receive newsletters and other updates by email:



Newsletter Fall 2016 by CCT on Scribd