The goal of this program is to help women near the end of their state prison sentence to make a successful transition from prison to the community. In 1987, The Center for Community Transitions (then ECO Inc.) opened the first contract prison in the state, a 20-bed work release facility for female offenders assigned to the NC Department of Corrections who are within 3 years of a release date. Since opening, The ECO Center for Women has provided residents (inmates) with programs for work release, family leave, community volunteer passes, and study release. Staff at the facility and in other parts of The Center for Community Transitions work with each resident to provide them with tools and experience that will assist them in their transition from prison to the community including individualized employment plans, community employment, education and vocational training, life skills workshops and family reunification assistance. The ECO Center for Women offers employment and family support opportunities proven to reduce recidivism such as encouraging educational opportunities, creating a community support system, providing opportunities to grow spiritually, and assisting with issues of transition back into the family -- especially important for women who are more likely to serve their sentences farther away from their families than men. Sixty-seven percent of women in state prisons are mothers of children under 18 who are more likely to be living with a grandparent or be in social services custody than children of fathers in prison.
In October 2010, The Center for Community Transitions opened our new Women's Facility which now houses 30 residents. These residents are attending self-help workshops, substance abuse meetings, parenting classes, spiritual workshops, attending college, and working and volunteering in the community. These women are in their last two years of their sentence and receive support from staff with transitioning back into society.