Closings and delays

Guilford County Sheriff’s Office awarded $150,000 to help former inmates

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Guilford County deputies want to help turn lives around. While it’s their goal to get criminals off our streets they also want to help them once they are released from prison.

To do that, they applied for a $150,000 contract from the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

On Tuesday the sheriff’s office announced it was awarded the money and it will be using it to create a re-entry council -- a network of local organizations, nonprofits, churches, medical personnel and government-funded programs.

The sheriff’s office will use some of the money to hire three new employees to coordinate and manage the former inmate’s cases to be able to direct them to those resources.

“I think it's important because knowing people personally who come out of prison, I've seen the challenges they face,” said Maj. Chuck Williamson, with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. “If their needs are not met, it's not as simple as 'Just go out and do it,' sometimes they need some help.”

Funds will also be used so that the people leaving prison can pay for essentials to get back on their feet.

“If they need a co-pay, we will pay the co-pay for them or you need a job and you need work boots, we buy the work boots,” Williamson said. “Things like that.”

Tarrance Williams was recently released from prison after spending almost nine years there. Even with a plan, he faced some challenges when returning home to Guilford County.

“Not having a stable home to be at, not having the financial means I needed, not having a vehicle,” Williams said.

Williams got the help he needed from Project Reentry, a program through the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. They are one of the organizations that will be a part of the sheriff’s office re-entry council.

Guilford County wasn’t the only place to receive the $150,000, Forsyth County was also awarded money.