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A need that had to be filled

By Terry Mills, Education & Outreach Manager,
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of the Black Hills,
a division of Rushmore Consumer Credit Resource Center

 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.  CCCS/BH also determined that providing assistance to those who need help making smart money and credit decisions might reduce South Dakota’s 45% prison return rate. 

So CCCS/BH approached the South Dakota Women’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.  Additionally, CCCS/BH applied for and received a grant from South Dakota Housing Authority’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.  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.  The Department of Corrections saw the value of the program and made it mandatory for all inmates before they leave prison.  CCCS/BH