By Terry Mills, Education & Outreach Manager,
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of the Black Hills,
a division of Rushmore Consumer Credit Resource Center
Â Consumer Credit Counseling Services of the Black Hills (CCCS/BH) continually looks for ways to reach its community. A successful, ongoing partnership began when CCCS/BH staff saw that people in the judicial and prison system needed financial literacy education as they prepared to transition back into society. Sound financial education gives them a better chance for long-term success as they start their lives anew.Â CCCS/BH also determined that providing assistance to those who need help making smart money and credit decisions might reduce South Dakotaâ€™s 45% prison return rate.Â
So CCCS/BH approached the South Dakota Womenâ€™s Prison in Pierre, S.D., about providing Credit When Credit is Due (CWCID) classes to inmates who were in the process of transitioning into society.Â Additionally, CCCS/BH applied for and received a grant from South Dakota Housing Authorityâ€™s HERO (Homeownership Education Resource Organization) program to provide this service.
The program began two years ago and has grown considerably, largely by word of mouth recommendations.Â CCCS/BH has provided CWCID classes to more than 250 inmates. The program started out as an occasional course and then became a monthly class.Â The Department of Corrections saw the value of the program and made it mandatory for all inmates before they leave prison.Â CCCS/BH