News Archive

Second Chance Lobby Day was a Huge Success!

TUESDAY, May 7, 2019
9:30 am – 3pm
Halifax Mall, behind the NC Legislative Building

The NC Second Chance Alliance is a statewide alliance of people with criminal records, their family members, service providers, congregations, community leaders and concerned citizens that have come together to address the causes of criminal records and the barriers they create to successful reentry.

We Support:

  • Reinvestment of JRA savings in local reentry services
  • Broader & easier access to expunctions
  • Elimination of unnecessary barriers to occupational licenses for individuals with criminal records
  • End indefinite suspension of drivers’ licenses for failure to pay traffic fines
  • Increased access to education, treatment, and other reentry-focused programs in jails and prisons
  • “Fair Chance” hiring for public employment
  • Fair sentencing reforms

For more details or to RSVP, please contact Miea Walker at or Alex Williams at

Please visit the NC Second Chance Alliance’s website at  

Florida – Expanding the Vote

State residents expanded voting rights to as many as 1.4 million Floridians with a felony conviction by approving Amendment 4 with 64% support; support from 60% of voters was required to approve the ballot measure. Justice involved residents now automatically have the right to vote once they complete their prison, probation or parole sentence; persons convicted of homicide and sex offenses are excluded from the measure. The state’s lifetime felony voting ban was among the most restrictive in the country, along with Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia which maintain lifetime voting bans for all felonies unless the governor takes action. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which organized broad support for the measure, was led by directly impacted residents and garnered more than 800,000 signatures to qualify Amendment 4 for the ballot.

Been Locked Up? Don’t Be Locked Out!!

If you’ve been convicted of a FELONY . . .

you temporarily lose your right to vote. BUT you automatically get your rights back in NC after you serve your sentence, including probation and parole. You do not need a special document that says your rights are restored. You just register and vote like any other citizen! (See back.) Failure to pay restitution does not block your right to vote

If you’ve been convicted of a MISDEMEANOR . . .

you never lose your right to vote. You can register and vote, even if you are still in jail. Register to vote (see back), and then complete and mail an absentee ballot request form (available at so it arrives at your county Board of Elections at least a week before the election. Provide an address on your registration form (and absentee request) where you will receive mail – either the jail, your home, or someone who accepts mail for you.

Duke University Will No Longer Ask for Criminal Conviction Information on Job Applications

From Duke Today

Effective Nov. 1, 2018, Duke University and Duke University Health System will no longer ask individuals whether they have been convicted of a crime as part of the process of applying for employment.

“While responses to the question are not currently shared with hiring managers, asking for this information in an application can lead to a misperception among applicants that the responses are used to filter out those with a criminal record from employment opportunities at Duke,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for Administration.

Duke will continue to conduct background checks on criminal history, government sanctions, and driving records (when relevant) at the offer stage for finalists of staff and faculty positions who have been recommended for hire.

A criminal record does not necessarily preclude anyone from being hired at Duke. Convictions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis in which hiring officials will consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the date of conviction, and its relationship to the job.

The current Reference and Background Check policy will be updated on Nov. 1, 2018.

Florida Felons Want Their Voting Rights Restored

A ballot amendment in the November election could restore voting rights to 1.5 million felons in Florida, one of just three states that permanently bars felons from voting.

Fighting an eviction crisis: How a young black lawyer is changing his city

Read about how Jessy McCoy II is changing his hometown of Durham. He is teaching elite law students how to save poor people from eviction.

Progress is Being Made to Assist North Carolinians Burdened By Court Imposed Fees and Fines Debt that Hinder Drivers’ License Restoration

During the week of May 21, Dennis Gaddy was in Baltimore at the Annie E. Casey Foundation (Casey Foundation) learning about and offering input from the perspective of someone who is justice-involved on all the ways poor people are being hampered by predatory consumer lenders, medical debt. language barriers, as well as the burdens of court-imposed fines and fees that block driver/s license restoration.

The Casey Foundation is funding pilot programs in several state in the South including North Carolina, to help obtain relief for the most vulnerable individuals. The NC Justice Center along with CSI from Raleigh, and LINC (Leading Into New Communities from Wilmington have been funded to help  advocate  in some cases for getting fees waived that are keeping individuals from getting  their drivers’ license restored. We are encouraged by the response of the District Attorney’s offices – some relief has already been awarded in New Hanover County, and Durham County, and conversations are ongoing and very promising in Wake County.

The Washington Post ran a story in May 2018 reporting on data about court-debt based suspensions of drivers’ licenses by state.  The Post obtained the data through records requests to the states. Nearly 7 million individuals nationwide have lost their drivers license because they could not pay fees.

More background and information about the state laws behind the data reported on in this story are identified in the Legal Aid Justice Center’s 2017 report:

DRIVEN BY DOLLARS:  A State-By-State Analysis of Driver’s License Suspension Laws for Failure to PayDebt

The bottom line: Requiring already vulnerable individuals who have extremely limited resources to pay court-imposed fees to get a valid drivers’ license makes those individuals even more vulnerable and increases recidivism. Either way, the probability that the county will actually get paid is quite low, and the risks for the individual to be a guest of the county or state is quite high.

Featured Resources

Prison Policy Initiative:

The non-profit, non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative produces cutting edge research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.

Meet Frankie Roberts and LINC

The struggles of Marvin E. Roberts with addiction as well as his difficulties of re-entry after numerous incarcerations were the seed for the creation of LINC, Inc. by his brother, Frankie Roberts, and Tracey Ray.  They co-founded LINC, Inc. after Marvin’s unexpected death during a seemingly minor surgery in 1998 at the young age of 50.  Find out more about LINC!

Reentry Week: April 23 – 27, 2018

Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed April 23-27, 2018 as Reentry Week in North Carolina to draw attention to efforts to help formerly incarcerated people become productive members of their communities. Read More

Last year, Gov. Cooper tasked Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks with developing a reentry action plan to comprehensively address reentry issues and improve the transition for people returning from jail or prison. Established by lawmakers in 2017, the State Reentry Council Collaborative (SRCC) is comprised of a cross-section of private and public stakeholders who are working on reentry, including implementation of this action plan.

CSI has been an integral part of the SRCC. See more photos.

Help CSI’s latest fundraising campaign!

We are asking for your continued support helping our clients get second chances and to fight for fairness in the criminal justice system. You and your like minded friends can make a difference by committing to only $10 per month as a tax deductible reoccurring donation via your debit or credit card.


You may also mail a donation to Community Success Initiative, PO Box 61114, Raleigh, NC  27661.

Thank you for your support!  If you have questions, please contact Dennis Gaddy – Executive Director at  or 919-715-0111 ext. 239.

000001secondchancebutton-smaller_0Welcome To Community Success Initiative

Through a network of community partners, we work with men and women in prison, former prisoners, people in transition, and their families as they transition back into family and community life.

We provide small group trainings and individual mentoring in general life skills, leadership, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and areas related to transitioning back into family and community life.

Watch as Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, the NC NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement gathered to address the white supremacy attacks in Charlottesville and the presence of hate groups with a history of violence in Durham.

Raise the age

In March 2017, Wake board supported ‘raise the age’ effort to limit teen incarcerations.

The Democratic-led Wake County Board of Commissioners is publicly endorsing a Republican-led effort that would keep more teenagers out of prison.

The Wake board, which is responsible for county spending, scheduled a press conference on Monday to support an effort in the N.C. General Assembly that would give the juvenile criminal-justice system jurisdiction over 16- and 17-year-olds.

North Carolina is one of only two states that currently prosecute people age 16 and 17 as adults.  READ MORE

Voting Rights

Living the Legacy – Dennis Gaddy

In 2000, Dennis Gaddy, a business man and law school graduate, found himself serving more than five years in jail for a poor financial decision. Gaddy turned his situation into a message, creating the Community Success Initiative in 2004.

Community Success Initiative (CSI) was founded as a non-profit corporation in May 2004 with a vision to work with men and women who are transitioning from prison and jail, or who otherwise find themselves entangled in the criminal justice system.

CSI’s Focus

  1. Assisting those who are entangled in the criminal justice system to get back on their feet
  2. Reducing crime in the community.

CSI 11th year anniversary Triangle Tribune article

CSI Community Success Initiative was was born in prison, and now has come into being, within North Carolina, aiding and assisting the newly released find their way back to families and society. The ultimate goal is that no one leave prison without a support network available to them, as soon as they leave the gates. This side of the razor wire is a far tougher place.

CSI Second Chance Program

Our program of “Second Chances”

  • Creates wrap around support in the areas of jobs, housing education, and human services
  • Engages our communities to help by volunteering time, talent, treasure
  • Establishes a legal support network to help our clients with various legal issues, such as Driver’s License that create barriers to employments and family life
  • Helps to create entrepreneurship ventures for CSI clients
  • Trains other organizations about the fundamentals of building and sustaining a second chance program
  • Organizes advocacy efforts that help to promote policy and laws that remove barriers that men and women face who are entangled in the criminal justice system.

If you, or you know someone who is interested in our program, you can feel free to contact us at 919-715-0111, ext 216 or email us at

Just Who is CSI, and What Do We Do?


Return on a Chance

Daryl Atkinson, Department of Justice Second Chance Fellow, and CSI member/supporter, has started a DOJ blog reporting his new perspectives and opportunities that he finds to “facilitate successful reentry by continuing to create secondary support systems with evidence-based reentry programming and public policies that remove obstacles to reintegration, thereby giving formerly incarcerated people a real opportunity at a second chance.”

Finding Solutions For Mass Incarceration – The State of Things

Host Frank Stasio talks with James Williams, Orange County public defender; Heather Thompson, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Michigan; Tamar Birckhead, professor of law at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law; Dennis Gaddy, executive director of Community Success Initiative; and John Chisholm, district attorney of Milwaukee.

NCATR – NC Access to Recovery

NC Access to Recovery (NCATR) is a voucher program that extends the current array of services and availability of providers in the state by providing treatment and recovery support services through the use of grant funds so participants can choose their services and providers freely and independently. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA-CSAT) awarded the ATR three-year grant to the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (DMHDDSAS) in October 2014. The Division is contracting with Recovery Communities of North Carolina to implement this initiative.  READ MORE