Second Chance Mentoring Program

Employment Initiative

Second Chance Mentoring Program

Helping former offenders to reclaim their place in our community

The Second Chance Mentoring Program is designed to help former offenders reenter our community, stabilize their lives and achieve self-sufficiency. It is also designed to enhance community safety by reducing the chances that they will return to prison in the future. A supportive, positive role model at this crucial time in their lives can mean all the difference in making that goal a reality.

What types of ex-offenders can participate in the program?

The program is open to adult former offenders incarcerated for nonviolent crimes and reentering Kanawha, Cabell, and Putnam Counties in West Virginia.

How does mentoring help ex-offenders more successfully return to their communities?

Mentoring offers ex-offenders emotional support and practical advice. That support helps them navigate the everyday barriers and frustrations they face upon re-entering the community.

What program elements are in place to help ex-offenders?

Mentoring, cognitive behavioral therapy, responsible parenting, workforce readiness, financial fitness, job placement, and more.

What kinds of things does a mentor do to help an ex-offender?

Examples include:
  • Riding the bus with a participant and helping them learn the route to work, school, a job interview, etc.
  • Suggesting fun activities they can do while riding the bus: talk, read, study, knit, etc.
  • Encouraging walking or riding a bicycle to improve health and decrease stress
  • Going for a walk together or visiting a park

More about Becoming a Mentor

A successful mentor is non-judgmental, open, positive, empathetic, creative, flexible, reliable, consistent and dedicated.

T for Team player
R for Respectful
U for Understanding
S for Supportive
T for Trustworthy

We ask that mentors commit to one hour per week or two hours every other week for a period of six months to one year.

No. We don't require that our volunteer mentors have counseling experience. Instead we value individuals with unique backgrounds who are willing to share their creativity and passion with their mentees. Additionally, KISRA offers regular mentor meetings and training sessions.

To learn more, contact:
Latausha Taylor or call (304) 395-5811

How great is the need for this type of program?

The need is great. The number of inmates in the WV Division of Corrections institutions is steadily increasing. The average yearly inmate population was 4,671 in 2003, for example. It steadily increased by 26 percent to 5,908 in 2007.

How much can the program save West Virginians?

Incarcerating an offender costs the state $23,674 (FY 2011) every year. The Second Chance Mentoring Program will serve at least 100 ex-offenders per year. If 80 percent of them stay out of prison for one year, the state will have saved 100x 80% x $23,674 = $1,893,120.

How can mentoring help?

According to a recent study, participants who met with a mentor:

  • Were twice as likely to find a job
  • Took less time to find their first job
  • Were more likely to remain employed for at least 3 months
  • Were less likely to commit additional crimes within a year of release
Source: Ready4Work Re-Entry Initiative

“Everybody wants to know that they’re cared about that they matter. When you mentor someone you’re able to share some of your experiences and encourage them. A lot of the time, they’re just looking for somebody to talk to. A listening ear is the best medicine.”

Debra Lipscomb,
program mentor


131 Perkins Avenue
Dunbar, WV 25064

516 New River Town Center
Beckley, WV 25801

403 Pennsylvania Ave
Charleston, WV 25302

10 Eleventh Street
Elkins, WV 26241

1448 10th Avenue, suite 205
Huntington, WV 25701

410 Market Street
Parkersburg, WV 26101

1428 Main Street
Princeton, WV 24740

West Virginia State University
Institute, WV 25112