CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) is a place that welcomes former prisoners and gives them a second chance at life. According to the National Reentry Resource Center, about 10 million people each year return to their communities once they are released from prison or jail. CPCC estimates about 10 former prisoners each semester depend on CPCC to help them get back on their feet.
College leaders say they receive letters frequently from prisoners behind bars reaching out inquiring about options. Once the community college gets a letter, leaders reach back out to them.
"They have the time while they are in prison to look over the information," CPCC Dean of Enrollment Management Dr. JJ McEachern said. "And they have very few distractions during that time, so they get focused."
McEachern says former prisoners are interested in careers such as welding, construction, truck driving and other fields. He says others want to come to CPCC to earn their GED. Community college leaders say it's their mission to help former inmates succeed at life.
"It could be they need some housing," McEachern said. "Some transportation, maybe they need some financial literacy."
CPCC says it has not been in contact with Rae Carruth, but helps people like Carruth get the needed skills to be a productive citizen. Carruth is the former Carolinas Panthers player who spent time behind bars for playing a role in the murder of his girlfriend, Cherica Adams.
Carruth did get a barber's license while in jail. CPCC says former prisoners who have obtained skills while behind bars can put them to use when they get out.
"We can help you connect to the job market opportunities to the employers are calling us a lot." CPCC Dean of Career Services Lis Doggett said.
CPCC says people who have spent time behind bars are eligible for financial aid. Once they get accepted, the college says it will respect them and give them support.
"We connect them with mentoring programs," McEachern said. "We connect them to faculty and staff who might be able to help them."
Leaders know getting back into society for former inmates can be a challenge.
"I think there is a lot of frustration that can come when they hit that wall of discrimination." Doggett said.
CPCC leaders say if professors are uneasy about having a former inmate in their class, there are services provided for them to make them comfortable.