Partnership helps formerly imprisoned women ease back into society


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Pitt Community College is partnering with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office to help women transition back into society after being released from prison.

The memorandum between PCC and the sheriff’s office was signed on Wednesday and will give women the tools needed to start a successful new life.

“For many years, we have opened the doors of the detention center and not offering any resources to make people have a different mindset when they leave,” Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance said. “We’ve opened the doors and said ‘don’t come back,’ and we haven’t given them the tools that keeps them from coming back.”

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That’s why Dance is hopeful for the new partnership with PCC.

“So now when they leave, they leave with a toolbox of tools,” Dance said.

The sheriff’s office will refer women who have recently been released from the Pitt County Detention Center to the community college to assess their immediate needs.

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“We have a host of different wrap-around services, whether it’s housing or counseling for substance abuse,” said PCC President Lawrence Rouse. “We will definitely focus on getting individuals trained and educated in order to go to work if they choose to or even go onto a university.”

Rouse said this aligns with the college’s mission of educational equity.

“We feel it is necessary to fulfill our mission of educating and preparing people for success,” Rouse said. “And that doesn’t mean only certain groups of people but all people that are within our service area.”

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Dance said she hopes this will break up the cycle of having returned offenders into the detention center.

“It’s gonna be up to them to use them, but the excuse can never be again, I didn’t know, or I didn’t know how,” Dance said.

Dance also said while this is not what you typically see a sheriff doing, she is happy to think outside the box to hopefully see positive results.

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