There’s been a whole lot of discussion in Guilford County lately as to how to help the homeless, and one group working with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is focusing on a particular segment of society who very often do become homeless – newly released jail and prison inmates.
The Guilford County Reentry Council, working closely with the Sheriff’s Department, is attempting to help those former inmates transition into being productive members of society; and, in March of 2021, the Sheriff’s Department received some money for that effort thanks to a NC Department of Adult Corrections Re- entry Grant.
That grant allocated $150,000 each year for the purpose of providing inmates services that helped transition them into society.
The council does so by offering former inmates support by connecting them with essential services that provide housing, food assistance, clothing, mental health care and other things inmates might need to help get back on their feet.
The council also helps the inmates access public transportation, vocational training, and it even helps pay for things like work-related uniforms.
So far during calendar year 2023, Guilford County’s re-entry program has assisted 294 people – 152 from High Point, 129 from Greensboro and 13 from other parts of the county.
According to the NC Department of Adult Corrections, “More than 15,000 people return to their home communities after being released from North Carolina state prisons each year. In fact, about 95 percent of people in prison will eventually return to their home communities. There are also individuals, who are released, after completing a period of incarceration in the local jail. The critical issue for those returning to their community after being incarcerated is the difficult transition from prison to home.”
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is the “coordinating entity” for the Guilford County Local Re-entry Council, which is a network of community partners that includes churches and other faith-based organizations.
The partners work together to create a smoother transition for people released from jail in Guilford County and for those who are returning home to the county from other prisons and jails.
Former inmates who’ve been incarcerated for any length of time are eligible to participate in reentry services. However, a state mandate requires priority given to former inmates who were placed on probation or were granted early parole.