Guilford County Reentry Council giving people a chance to get back on their feet after prison

Piedmont Triad News

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The mission of the Guilford County Reentry Council is to give people a chance to successfully get back on their feet after serving time in prison.

“We’ve had to help folks understand everybody deserves a second, third, fourth, fifth chance,” said Edward “Chap” Williams, the director of the Guilford County Reentry Council.

It’s one of 17 similar programs in North Carolina that help people transition from prison to freedom and a productive life.

Williams told FOX8 the council has helped more than 120 people successfully rebuild their lives in 2020.

“Nobody ever told them there’s something different and what sometimes people don’t realize,” said KJ Powe, who works for the council. She uses her experience as a detention officer for 17 years to help make the process smoother.

“I got to see first hand the revolving door of how people were coming in and out constantly because they didn’t know,” she said.

Whether someone is just getting out of jail or been out for years, the program is set up to help them get a job and keep a roof over their head.

“There’s a stigma with individuals being able to get housing,” Williams said. “We have a group of realtors we work with educating them, helping them understand that these folks deserve another [chance], they’ve served their time, they deserve another chance.”

The council partners with resources to provide drug and alcohol counseling, mental health services and more.

Powe told FOX8 the council is 75 percent male and 25 percent female. She said the support is tailored to each person.

“A lot of times you know the support is different because a lot of times they have the children,” she said. “So they need support, where, how to get their kids back or how to establish these relationships because they’ve been gone for so long and some of them don’t know how to be a parent.”

Powe has seen the transformation during her time with the council. It’s shown on a reentry wall of fame just inside the facility.

“We’ll run this race with you,” she said. “We’re not going to run this race faster than you are because this is your life at the end of the day.”

Williams told FOX8 the council is paid for through a North Carolina Department of Public Safety grant and with county funds.

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