As part of our ongoing Q+A series, we recently sat down with local activist Kerwin Pittman, who founded Recidivism Reduction Educational Program Services (RREPS). In case you don’t already know, recidivism is the statistical tendency of convicted criminals to recommit offenses, often due to economic or social barriers upon re-entry. 👋 Thank you for speaking with us, Kerwin.
Are you native to Raleigh?
Yes, I have lived on the south side of Raleigh most of my life.
How would you describe Raleigh in three words?
Evolving, beautiful + home.
Where can we find you on a typical Sunday afternoon?
At my computer, working with a cup of coffee.
Please describe your work in the length of a Tweet (240 characters).
I am a social justice activist providing solutions to tough issues in Raleigh + across NC. I’m also the founder of a nonprofit that helps people involved in the criminal justice system get back on their feet.
What led you to create RREPS? How did you become passionate about recidivism in our area?
RREPS was created because of the lack of grassroots re-entry resources — but also to help returning citizens and individuals navigate the legal system successfully in our area. I am passionate about these issues because I once faced the challenges of re-entry.
What’s the biggest challenge to recidivism in our community? Why is recidivism education beneficial for everyone who lives in our city?
The biggest challenge is lack of resources to provide support to returning citizens, such as mentorship, job placement, job training, and housing. Recidivism education is beneficial to all because if we reduce the recidivism rate we reduce crime, bolster our local economy + create a better city for all residents.
What other organizations are you involved with + what projects are you currently working on?
I’m involved with EmancipateNC, Raleigh PACT, and Love Is A Parable. I also sit on the task force for racial equity in criminal justice created by Gov. Roy Cooper. I am currently assisting returning citizens, mentoring and training activists around the state + fighting injustice wherever it rears its ugly head.
What is your vision for Raleigh 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
My vision for Raleigh in 5 years is hopefully a more equitable city for marginalized communities — where everyone helps one another. Within 10 years, Raleigh could be a model city when it comes to sustained equitable reforms. Together, we can build a better Raleigh.
If you’d like to continue this conversation, you can reach out to Kerwin via email or @KerwinPittman on social media. Use the links below to share this info with your community.