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A collage created by clients is on display in the Women at Risk group therapy room. The collage indicates much of what the program hopes to accomplish with the women it sees. Colby Rabon/Carolina Public Press

Women at Risk strives to help keep women out of jail via counseling and treatment, case management, job search assistance and court advocacy. Read more here about how the program has undergone recent funding and other changes.

1982: Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice incorporates.

1983: WCCJ inaugurates its first program — the Alternative Sentencing Project — in conjunction with the 28th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, working from space at Asheville’s Central Methodist Church.

1984: Dr. Faye Sultan develops and implements the Women At Risk treatment model with female inmates serving life sentences at N.C. Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh.

1988: WCCJ begins the first Women at Risk therapy groups outside of prison, with seed money from the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

1990-91: Women At Risk receives additional funding from the Public Welfare Foundation, Buncombe County and The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

1992: First Women at Risk program director hired.

1993: First state grant funding of $90,000 received for Women at Risk.

1994: First Women at Risk case manager hired, and state grant raised to $105,000.

1995: Women at Risk funding moved to the state’s continuation budget.

1996: Women at Risk court liaison position created.

2000: WCCJ/WAR moves to 218 Patton Ave. in Asheville.

2001: “Deciding Against Violence” abuser-treatment group for women, licensed by the state for court-ordered referrals, is implemented. Substance abuse treatment groups added and individual staff members pursue licensure.

2002: WAR program receives licensure from N.C. Department of Facility Services as an outpatient substance abuse treatment facility.

2011: Legislative appropriation to the Women at Risk program eliminated in lieu of a contract through the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

2012: Homeward Bound of Asheville takes over administration of Women at Risk.

Peggy Manning

Peggy Manning is a contributing reporter for Carolina Public Press. Contact her at

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