Agency helps people with criminal past find jobs, give back to society

CHARLOTTE — Former inmate Carita Jacobs has been given a second chance through the Center for Community Transitions.

The agency helps people who have spent time in prison rejoin society.

Jacobs is hardworking and determined to do things right, so she is the kind of employee companies would love to have.

“They are awesome to me,” she told Channel 9. “They don’t treat me no different than they treat any other employee out there. They are so good to me.”

[ALSO READ: ‘A second chance’: Why some criminal records are now being wiped clean]

Jacobs was married with two children 15 years ago when she said her husband had an affair. Jacobs got into a fight with the other woman, which became deadly. She spent 15 years in prison for second-degree murder.

“It changes you a lot,” Jacobs said. “I mean, you have to live with that for the rest of your life. You have to live with that no matter how it plays out. You have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

Jacobs hopes she can be a role model and show others that you can still have a future.

“I got one infraction in 15 years,” Jacobs said. “I come in, and I did this time. I knew what I had to do. I worked very hard to get where I’m at today. You know, to have that second chance to get out, to be a mom to my two children, to be a grandmother to my grandbabies.”

Patrice Funderburg is the director of the Center for Community Transitions. She said that the pandemic has created more job openings in the workforce.

“We’ve got a population of folks that are eager to work and eager to contribute to the economy,” Funderburg said.

Employers who cannot fill positions are more open to giving jobs to people who have criminal records.

“They really have to question, in explicit ways, you know, ‘Is the social stigma real?’” Funderburg said. “Let’s start having a different kind of conversation about that.”

[ALSO READ: The formerly incarcerated look for second chances]

Nekaya Collins got a second chance through the agency.

“If no one got a second chance, I don’t think there would be a lot of successful people out here,” Collins said.

(Watch the video below: Rock Hill Program Gives Teenagers Second Chances)

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