Swannanoa Valley Transitional Housing Committee

Who We Serve - Those Affected in our Area

Our community is home to the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women (SCCW). Since it is a North Carolina state prison, some of the inmates come from this area, while the rest come from various parts of the state. In 2008, this prison housed 80 prisoners. It currently serves 270 and anticipates 360 by the end of this year with an anticipated maximum of 500 inmates. Most of the women in prison come from fairly large families whose lives are deeply impacted by the trauma associated with having a loved one in prison. Hence, it is very difficult to measure how many people are affected by this program.

SVTH employs a Counselor/House Director who works with each woman from the time she is accepted into the house until her inner strength and resources have been recharged, and she is ready for an independent and productive re-integration into society.

The majority of our residents come from a background of extreme poverty, with little or no education. Two thirds have never held a job longer than a year, paid their own bills, owned their own car, or home. Listening to their family histories, you hear the same story repeated generation after generation. Women served by our program generally come from abusive environments. Most have substance abuse issues and very low self esteem. They frequently need counseling, self care and most of all, HOPE... hope for new opportunities and a better life.

Some Staggering Statistics:

Each year 41% of the admissions to prison for felony crimes are recidivist, also each year 53% of the admissions to prison for misdemeanor crimes are recidivists. NC Department of Corrections currently houses approximately 2850 female inmates. Women are the fastest growing population in the prison  industry. In 2008, the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women (SCCW), then Black Mountain Correctional Center for Women, had an inmate population of 80 women. Presently SCCW houses 270 inmates and has the largest capacity for expansion of all women’s prisons in the state. A population of 495 inmates is expected at SCCW.

Women who are most vulnerable are without a home plan. To have a home plan the inmate must either, own a home, or have a family member or a friend who will commit to providing shelter, or be accepted into a fee or free shelter which will commit to providing shelter for an extended period. On the day a sentence is completed, an inmate without a home plan is transported to the steps of the convicting county courthouse and released. If the inmate has been in prison more than 2 years she is given $45.00, if less than 2 years she receives no money. No money, no food, no clothes and now homeless. 70% of inmates released into this situation return to prison within 3 years.

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