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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2001
For more information, contact:
James Prince at (919) 733-3226

PROGRAM MATCHES CHURCHES, INMATES 
FOR SUPPORT AFTER RELEASE

RALEIGH - Like other inmates leaving prison, Daniel Cunningham knows he’ll face many obstacles when he’s released in June. But with the help of a new program sponsored by the Department of Correction, Cunningham and many others may have a better chance of staying crime-free once they walk through prison gates.

Called Transition Aftercare Network or TAN, the program aims to match inmates with faith-based organizations in their home community. TAN organizers hope to recruit churches in every North Carolina county to provide aftercare and support services to released inmates.

"There is a great need for support for individuals once they are released," said James Prince, director of chaplaincy services for the Division of Prisons and lead TAN organizer. "We have strong ministry programs inside our prisons, and this appeared to be a natural extension of that work."

Cunningham has been matched with Turning Point Ministry, whose volunteers include Mable W. Manning of Gastonia. "I think this is a wonderful idea," said Manning, who’s been involved with prison ministries since 1984. "Through the years I’ve seen how incarceration affects so many homes and families and the hurt and pain it brings," she said.

For Cunningham, being matched with Turning Point means he’ll have additional people he can turn to if times get tough once he’s out of prison. "It feels good to know there are people out there willing to help me. They said they would try to help in any way they could and I hope they’ll be able to help me find a job and a place to live," said Cunningham, 19, who’s in prison for the first time at Western Youth Institution serving a sentence for burglary.

Although the Department of Correction is sponsoring the network, it will be volunteers across the state who will drive its activities. The network already has grown from 20 people at its first meeting in September to more than 200, with representatives from 37 counties. A steering committee comprised of volunteers is developing inmate application forms, recruitment and training materials for churches and standards for services. In addition, five regional volunteer coordinators will be responsible for working with chaplains at prison units to link inmates with participating churches.

TAN Fact Sheet


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