Re-Entry Mediation – A chance for incarcerated women to make peace and make plans

     Imagine that you are about to walk out into the world with no car, no job, nowhere to live, and you don’t know who – if anyone – is willing to help you get back on your feet?  What’s it like for a woman – a mom, a daughter, a spouse – to walk into the world after 2 years, 10 years, or 20 years behind bars?

     Research shows that the day a person is released from prison is more stressful that the day they are sentenced. Thanks to an Opportunity Grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, the Mediation Center has partnered with the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Center to help women plan for this difficult moment – and the months and years that follow.
     Re-Entry Mediation provides an opportunity for women within 6 months of release from prison to meet with the people they will need to depend on on the “outside”.   The goals of Re-Entry Mediation are to increase hope for women close to release, provide a way for them to work with their support network to plan for their post-release needs, and to give an opportunity to repair their support system which increases their chances of success.Thanks to the excellent support of the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Center, mediators are meeting with women close to release each month to tell them about the program and enroll women who want to participate.  We are already working with more than a dozen women.
     This ongoing program means that incarcerated women – who will soon be our neighbors, co-workers, and community members – have the best chance possible for success in the future.  Thank you to all the volunteers who make this possible and to the Community Foundation of WNC for your support!

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