Turning Leaf is a rehabilitation and reentry nonprofit organization serving adult men who are assessed at a medium to high risk of re-incarceration. We are both an education and employment program. Our first focus is on helping our students increase their thinking, decision and problem-solving skills. Our second priority is job placement. We choose to work with men who have repeat criminal convictions; men who have not changed their behavior as a response to incarceration and who need assistance to change their life direction.
Turning Leaf is different from other reentry efforts in South Carolina, and across the country, for various reasons. We are based on what evidence shows us works to reduce re-offending. We only work with individuals who are at a medium to high risk of re-arrest. We focus on helping our students change their thinking, attitudes, belief and peers – the risk factors most closely associated with criminal behavior. We spend very little time and resources helping our students with food, transportation, clothing and housing. These needs are not shown to be drivers of continual criminal behavior. We offer a reentry program for men returning from prison and jail and an alternative sentencing program for federal detainees. Our center based program is comprehensive. The men participate in 15 hours of rehabilitation classes at the Turning Leaf center each week. Making progress in classes earns them a job placement with the City of Charleston, North Charleston or Charleston County. The men are paid an educational stipend of up to $150 a week for their time in classes prior to being placed in transitional work.
Men currently incarcerated in the Charleston County Detention Center may be eligible for our jail-based class. This class is run multiple times a year. Graduates receive a certificate upon program completion. A person currently incarcerated in the Charleston County jail can inquire to the jail Inmate Program Coordinator for enrollment information. There are limited times during the year when we accept new students – in the few weeks leading up to a new class starting.
Recently released men, ages 25 – 50, who live in Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester counties may be eligible for our center based program. Please call us to inquire about eligiblity, 843-297-4980.
Men recently released from jail or prison, ages 25 – 50, who live in Dorchester, Berkeley or Charleston counties may be eligible for our center based program. Please call us to ask about eligibility, 843-297-4980.
Employment is a part of what we offer our students. Right now we are working with the City of Charleston, City of North Charleston and Charleston County to provide hands-on job training to our students while they are actively involved in the program. Our students work full-time as paid temporary employees on a government work crew. Students earn an educational stipend for their efforts in the classroom prior to being placed into a job. After a person completed all of the program requirements, we work to help him transition into a vocational training program or permanent, full-time employment.
Our current program offers intensive services to a few number of people. However, our plans for growth truly reflect our desire to become a community wide reentry initiative. As our program continues to be evaluated and improved, and as funding and staff increases, we will begin to build our capacity. Our goal is to collect enough data over the next 3 – 5 years to demonstrate that Turning Leaf is working to save taxpayer money and reduce recidivism. At that point, we will ask an outside agency to evaluate the program. With an independent evaluation of the program we will feel confident in discussing opportunities to expand.
Thank you for your interest, however at this time we are not taking on any student interns.
We are always looking for opportunities to share our work with the community. We would love to speak to your community group, church or business. We are happy to give tours of the Center. “Like” us on Facebook and Instagram and share our posts with others.
We are always grateful for donations for the Center. Specifically, we continually need office, classroom and cleaning supplies. We also need financial donations to pay our students their educational stipends and pay rent for our Center.
Hire our graduates.
Permanent employment is one of the biggest barriers to success after these men graduate the program. Consider hiring one of our students after they have successfully completed all of their rehabilitation classes and job training program.
At this time we are not assisting with replication. If you are interested in starting a reentry program like Turning Leaf, there are a number of factors to consider. Every area is different, depending on what reentry and alternative sentencing efforts are already in existence, support from the business community and local political leaders, as well as the need for rehabilitation services.