In South Carolina, nearly one-quarter of formerly incarcerated men are back in prison within three years.footnote1 Soteria Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Greenville aims to stop that revolving door by supporting the recently released with transitional housing, job training and life-skills assistance. The program works. Nearly 300 people aided by Soteria CDC are hired for jobs in the Greenville community every year, and only 4% of the men who’ve gone through the organization’s programs have returned to prison.
A ticket to a fresh start
A Greenville, S.C., nonprofit gives the previously incarcerated skills to move forward
In the above video, Jerry Blassingame, Soteria CDC’s founder and CEO, talks about the organization’s mission to achieve economic and social justice for the formerly incarcerated and their families.
Supported by funding from Bank of America’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, Soteria CDC’s wide-ranging programs help previously incarcerated men navigate the process of reentering society and rebuilding their lives. The services include space in a group home for up to a year, help finding affordable housing, job training, financial literacy classes, transportation, substance abuse counseling and more. Social enterprise is encouraged through initiatives like Soteria at Work, a program that repurposes salvaged wood from dismantled buildings into artifacts of value. Proceeds from the sales provide funding to support the employment program.
Recidivism Rates of Inmates Released during FY2011–FY2015, South Carolina Department of Corrections