A staffing shortage across North Carolina’s prisons led to the temporary closing of a wing at Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in late August and the relocation of several dozen prisoners and staff. The wing has since been reopened, but it’s unclear if or when the inmates who were transferred out will return.
Sybriea Lundy counts herself lucky to have been able to participate in programs offered by Light a Path, an Asheville-based nonprofit that brings yoga and movement to underserved populations, while serving the final 2 ½ years of her sentence for drug trafficking at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women. The organization also helped Lundy reenter and connect with the Asheville community upon her release.
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While specific conditions would be decided “on a case-by-case basis,” said N.C. Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks, prisoners could be tracked using home confinement or electronic monitors to ensure they were adhering to their sentences. He noted that juvenile offenders were also being diverted from detention facilities to community-based programs whenever possible.
Warren Wilson College has partnered with the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women to bring the innovative Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to the correctional center. For inmate and undergrad alike, Inside-Out provides the chance to gain self-knowledge, grapple with the systemic issues of the penal system and learn from one another.