PROGRAMS VISION STATEMENT
Setting the standard for excellence as an innovative component of the MCSO focused on improving the quality of life for those we serve.
PROGRAMS MISSION STATEMENT
To make our community safer by offering a broad array of relevant services, which provide those we serve with opportunities for positive change.
Welcome to the Programs Department. When elected in 1994, Sheriff Jim Pendergraph made a commitment to improving the community. Treatment and education are the vehicles for those inmates who are determined to change their lifestyles. To this end, the Sheriff has been instrumental in expanding inmate programs within the jail facilities.
The goal of Inmate Programs is to provide the inmates housed in the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office detention facilities the opportunity to address those issues that may have contributed to their criminal behavior and subsequent incarceration. While incarcerated, eligible inmates have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of therapeutic, educational and literacy programs. Because we have partnered with various community agencies, continuing treatment and educational opportunities are available for inmates who are released.
Eligibility for participation is determined based on an inmate's security classification, classes available and location of the class.
Since classes cover a wide array of subject matter, they are catalogued under the following headings:
Educational & Literacy Programs
Educational and Literacy Programs
GENERAL EDUCATION DIPLOMA (GED)
Adult basic education classes are offered by Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) instructors for those inmates who have not yet earned their high school diploma or equivalent. Classes for female inmates are available at Jail Central.
In-depth classes are offered that challenge participants to accept responsibility for behavior and take deliberate steps toward change. Key topics include personal relationships, money management, controlling emotions, job readiness and pre-release planning. This program is presented by Life Connections and is available for male and female inmates.
ADELANTE! (Spanish-Language Life Skills)
This course is designed to help those Latino inmates with limited understanding of English. Topics include housing, financial services, legal issues, job readiness and family dynamics. This course is available for inmates housed at Jail North and is offered on a quarterly basis. Priority is given to those inmates who will be released to the Charlotte-Metro area.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY (ELP)
On-going classes are offered through CPCC for those whose primary language is not English. Beginner and intermediate classes are available based on language competency. This program is currently available for inmates housed at Jail North.
SPANISH-LANGUAGE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EDUCATION
Domestic violence education is presented in Spanish for those with a limited understanding of English. This program is currently available for male inmates housed at Jail North.
SPANISH-LANGUAGE SUBSTANCE ABUSE EDUCATION
Substance abuse education is provided in Spanish for those with a limited understanding of English. This program is currently available for those inmates housed at Jail North.
A mini-course presented by the Mecklenburg County Health Department focuses on key areas of health, nutrition and physical fitness. This program is offered to all eligible female inmates.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EDUCATION
Mandatory domestic violence education classes are required for all inmates. The Shelter for Battered Women provides education and counseling services to female inmates and male inmates are taught by MCSO staff by using individual instruction and videos.
ONSITE/OFFSITE MAINTENANCE INDUSTRIAL TECHNICAL TRAINING
Students are trained in entry-level mechanical skills to prepare for jobs in Automotive Mechanics, Industrial Mechanic, HVAC, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, General Construction, Automotive Detailing, and Small Engine Repair. The course consists of separate blocks of instruction.
- Basic Four-Function Math—provides an overview of basic mathematics (such as addition, subtraction, fractions and ratios/proportions) and measurements used in common business and industry practices.
- Simple Machines---Basic physics of simple machines (wheels, levers, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, and screws) and how they are used in today's workplace.
- Blueprint Reading---Introduction to mechanical drawings that are used in all aspects of mechanical maintenance. We focus on methods, views, and tolerances.
- Electricity for Non-Electricians---Basic electrical theory, devices, and electrical safety on the job and in the workplace.
Practical parenting instruction is provided for incarcerated parents by staff from Energy Committed to Offenders (ECO) for both male and female inmates. The goal of Family Ties is to provide parenting knowledge and skills for inmate parents that will increase positive experiences between them, their child and the child's caregiver. Parents who successfully complete Family Ties may earn a special contact visit with their child.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE EDUCATION
This class is mandatory for all and is taught by staff from the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
CREATIVE ART AND WRITING
This is a 10 week course offered at Jail North in which students may focus on art, writing or both. The goal of this course is to expand the ability to write and draw so that inmates learn to express themselves through creative and artistic means. One book has already been published as a result of the collaboration of gifted instructors, community leaders and the hard work of the student inmates themselves.
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SPECIALIZED POPULATIONS PROGRAMS
AREA MENTAL HEALTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT
An intensive substance abuse program is offered by professional counselors from Mecklenburg Area Mental Health Authority and is located at Jail Central. These counselors are available to assist inmates in confronting addictive behavior. Programs utilize a cognitive Twelve Step Model and are divided into Primary Care, Continuing Care and Relapse Prevention. This program is offered to male and female inmates and youthful offenders. Aftercare meetings are available to male and female graduates of the program. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are available to those inmates that are willing to participate.
FEMALE INMATE PROGRAMS
The issues of female inmates differ greatly from those of male inmates. These issues of substance abuse, domestic violence, education, and relationships are addressed by programs specifically designed to address the needs of our female population. A Case Coordinator works with staff provided by Area Mental Health, United Family Services, CPCC, volunteers, contracted services, and interns to provide these programs.
Three housing units are designated as female inmate program units. Two units are for adults and a smaller unit houses the sixteen and seventeen year old females. In addition to the Case Coordinator, detention officers that have been selected and trained as team members are assigned to the female housing areas. All female inmates are housed at Jail Central.
The sixteen and seventeen year old male inmates are housed in designated units at Jail North. A team consisting of three Program Coordinators, a Case Coordinator, and detention officers assigned to the team follow a structured daily schedule to provide programs to the youth. Agencies providing services to the youthful offenders include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, CPCC, Area Mental Health, and other contracted services. Also, volunteers, and interns assist the team in addressing adolescent issues.
Each youthful offender is given an assessment to determine their needs or special issues. The Program Coordinators work with parents, the school system, and community based agencies to develop a release plan that addresses the identified needs. An Inmate Program Coordinator/Supervisor is assigned to develop, monitor, and supervise the therapeutic inmate programs.
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The role of the Chaplain within MCSO setting focuses on the spiritual care and nurturing of people. It is the responsibility of the Chaplain to uphold the dignity and worth of each individual. Persons of faith profess by their actions that our God is a God of unconditional love and forgiveness. In many religions, the care and nurturing by religious leaders has been compared to the work of a shepherd. Who knows and recognizes the individual sheep. The Chaplain offers spiritual guidance and is available to help people in times of trial or crisis. In this sense, the Chaplain is indeed a shepherd or pastor; and the flock includes inmates, Sheriff's Office staff, and the community.
To respond with compassion and support for everyone, in need of Spiritual guidance or Pastoral counseling, during times of personal crisis, regardless of faith.
The Chaplains Unit of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office provides spiritual programs to all inmates. Volunteers from area churches, come into the Mecklenburg County Jail to provide a variety of spiritual enrichment opportunities including religious services, individual counseling and spiritual study.
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To provide services that expose the inmate population to reading, programming and legal information in an attempt to ease tension and promote literacy.
Access to a circulation collection including fiction and nonfiction is provided at Jail North and Jail Central. The methods of delivery are very different and questions about specific Policies and Procedures should be addressed to the facility's librarian. During the calendar year 2005, circulation for both JN and JC totaled 18,314 loans.
The collections are built primarily through donations. Commissary funds, grants, and monetary donations provide some funding for special purchases such as learning materials, nonfiction, foreign language, audio books and videos.
Topics range from Young Adult book club to vocational training to be a library assistant. Instructors and coordinators for these programs include MCSO staff, volunteers and professionals employed by community partners such as the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (PLCMC).
Freedom Reads: Young adult males, 16-17, partner PLCMC
Club de Lectores: Adult males, Spanish speaking, partner PLCMC
Ladies First: Adult females, partner community volunteers
Library Assistant - Adult males and females interview for positions as library assistants and must pass a 20-hour course and multipart test to qualify. These positions are not linked to inmate worker status and the primary reward for participation is self-improvement. The training is equal to an entry level position at a public library. This class is taught by library staff.
Originally designed for outreach in the community, partners from the Mecklenburg County Health Department and Fighting Back introduced this program to MCSO in 1999. Fathers of children 5 and under are encouraged to bond with their children through reading and stress the importance of reading to young children. Successful participants complete the class with a personal visit with their child to practice their new parenting skills.
Access to a legal reference collection is provided at Jail North and Jail Central. Inmates may request an appointment using a law library request form. Appointments are prioritized based on legal representation, either private or public defenders; status in the judicial process – pre-trial, sentenced, or appeal; and previous appointments. Access to legal information is available to all inmates regardless of their classification and housing location – general, maximum or disciplinary.
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