A local agency is looking volunteers to mentor people getting out of jail and prison. The Exodus Foundation helps former inmates transition and says in the last year the number of people coming to them for help has more than doubled.
Grant Vinson spent more than 10 years in and out of jail.
"Due to my drug and alcohol use, it always caused me to get in trouble," he said.
His last stint was for four months in September 2011.
Vinson said he was bound for prison and wanted to make a change so he reached out to the Exodus Foundation. He said he has been crime-, drug- and alcohol-free since.
The Exodus Foundation helps people recently released from prison or jail with jobs, housing, education and connects them with a mentor. Larry Ross mentors Vinson.
"I felt that I was compelled. I felt that I had the responsibility," Ross said.
Exodus founder, the Rev. Madeline Mcclenny-Sadler, said they have14 people paired with mentors. Nearly 40 are in a support group waiting to be matched and dozens more reaching out for help each month. She said they are in dire need of volunteers, especially men to help her clients need to avoid going back behind bars.
"You've been told when to eat, when to get dressed, when to move, when to go and a lot of people forget how to make decisions," she said. "So, mentors are there to help you adjust."
Mecklenburg County's Criminal Justice Services office looked at re-arrest rates for inmates released from state prisons into Mecklenburg County from 2008-12. Out of a random sample of 400 inmates, 46 percent had one arrest within two years of their release, 30 percent had two arrests and 19 percent had three or more arrests.
Exodus Mentoring Program Coordinator Latonya Vaughner spent more than a decade working in corrections in California. She said immediate and constant support can help close the revolving door.
"Not that it can make a difference, it does make a difference," Vaughner said.
If you are at least 21 years old and are interested in becoming a mentor with the Exodus Foundation, click here (http://exodusfoundation.org/) or call 704-947-9090, ext.102.