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How hard it is to reenter society after incarceration? Very.

A reentry simulation by the U.S. Department of Justice aims to help participants understand challenges people face after being released from prison and jail.

In this NPR story, follow a group of social work students and professors in Alabama who participated in the simulation exercise. It's part of a nationwide effort to increase empathy for returning citizens and the barriers they face.

The participants have to complete a checklist of things people coming home from incarceration need to do, such as getting an ID card, checking in with their probation officer, paying court fines and child support, and visiting the employment office for help finding a job after prison.

People start the game with very little money and a lot of things to take care of. Shortly after starting the simulation, participants become frustrated and stressed, more so than they expected to. The empathy and perspective they built during the simulation drove home the need to make the reentry process easier and more supportive in the future.

Join Honest Jobs

Honest Jobs offers a nationwide job board with 300,000+ second chance jobs, and a reentry resource center. It's completely free for returning citizens and anyone with a criminal record:



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