In July, Dismas House of Indiana Outreach Coordinator Cheryl Ashe and Eric Micco, AmeriCorps summer medical student intern, presented the Reentry Simulation at the National Black Catholic Congress in National Harbor, Maryland.
The Reentry Simulation simulates the struggles and challenges faced by individuals who are released from prison. Attending the simulation were people from all over the United States. Over the course of two hours, participants experienced the first four weeks of life after prison.
How the Simulation Works
Each participant assumes the identity of a newly released person from prison and receives a packet of materials, including a “Life Card.” The “Life Card” lists the specific weekly tasks that must be accomplished in order to avoid the risk of being sent back to prison. The simulation begins with an explanation and instructions from the facilitator and the participants then set out to try and navigate their new lives. Each week takes place in a 15-minute segment. At the end of each 15-week segment, participants engage in a guided discussion about their experiences.
One of the simulation participants was a recently appointed judge from Houston, Texas. She attended the simulation to learn what issues people she sentenced to prison would experience up on their release.
Also, she told Dismas House of Indiana Program Director Matthew Kaczmarek about issues some defendants have such as having no transportation to court. Many defendants living in areas where there is no bus service. Kaczmarek suggested helping these defendants obtain a bike. He/she could ride the bike to the closest bus stop, load their bike on the bus and ride the bus to the court location. Kaczmarek suggested she could find a grant that would allow her to hire a social worker to work on the issues defendants were encountering.