Council aids released inmates


Staff Writer

Friday, March 23, 2018

Thousands of inmates are released from North Carolina prisons each year who are ready to rejoin society, but they need help to take advantage of their second chances in life

The Nash Edgecombe Wilson Reentry Council will be holding an upcoming event to provide former offenders in the three-county area the tools needed to successfully reintegrate back into the community. The NEW Reentry Council’s Resource Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 16 at the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences. It will also take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18 at the Wilson County Agricultural Center in Wilson.

Sheneathia Hanson, coordinator for the NEW Reentry Council, said there will be more than 25 vendors at the resource fairs at both locations providing information to people transitioning back into society about jobs, health care, transportation, education, nutrition, legal assistance, child care and financial literacy.

If inmates don’t get help, reports said there’s a greater than 50 percent chance they will wind up back in prison — and the assistance needs to be provided as early as possible because many former offenders commit new offenses within 90 days of being released if they aren’t in a stable situation.

Carol White, chairwoman of the NEW Reentry Council, has said her hope and dream is that NEW Reentry Council will increase awareness of the stigma and barriers that a former offender faces upon release from incarceration.

“My opinion is it is not enough to be tough on crime, but we must be smart on crime,” White said. “Once one has paid their dues through the penal system, my belief is we as a community should embrace them while restoring family relationships with positive behavior.”

White said she believes the NEW Reentry Council’s efforts will help reduce the rate of recidivism and reduce probation violations while reducing jail populations and lengthy dockets.

“This will increase the percentage of clients who obtain and maintain employment, increase the education or skill level of clients, increase participation in substance abuse counseling, mental health and anger management,” White said. “It is our hope that the returning citizens will become law-abiding, tax-paying and productive citizens. An active reentry council can help educate businesses regarding providing tax breaks.

“It will take the community as a whole working together to obtain these objectives for the good of family, our community, while lending victims supports.”