A program in Rapid City provides women coming out of prison with housing and tools to ease their transition and they’re looking to expand

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox.
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:16 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Nationally, 68-percent of women in prison who are addicted to either drugs or alcohol end up back in prison within five years.

Here in Rapid City, Passages provides transitional housing and tools for women coming out of prison who are struggling with drugs or alcohol. Their rate of return to prison after five years is half the national average.

Don Van Etten, Chairman of the Board of Passages, says they currently have a long waiting list of women coming from places like prison, drug court, the Cornerstone Mission and the Care Campus.

With so many women on the waiting list, Passages is building a one million dollar, six thousand square foot new facility, and they want Vision Fund help.

Van Etten says they’re asking for 150-thousand dollars to help replace the current rental home off of East Quincy Street that provides services for five women. The new facility will help 14 women.

When leaving prison, he says women might be missing a car, drivers license or lack confidence. During their transition through Passages, they work and attend AA or DA daily during their six months in the program. The women are asked to attend church and a bible study in an effort to build connections in the community.

”We feel it’s necessary to help these gal’s get back on their feet and become productive citizens of the state of South Dakota if they want to stay here. So, that’s how come we’re trying to expand,” says Van Etten.

Passages costs are covered through community donations and help from Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Rapid City has also helped by providing the Denver Street lot where the construction is taking place.

Van Etten says they’ve applied for vision funds in 2018 with no success, which he believes is because of the number of women involved in the program.

Copyright 2021 KEVN. All rights reserved.