Del. Officials offer re-entry simulation to offer glimpse of life after prison
DOVER, Del. – For one hour I was no longer a reporter. I was a former inmate named Norman who had just been released from prison after four years, looking to get back on my feet. With no job, no place to live, and no money, it seemed almost impossible to find my place in society. And those are the kinds of challenges, former inmates face on a day to day basis.
“We start the simulation and week by week we see people hitting obstacles. Confusion, lack of priorities, where am I going,” said Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Logan.
It didn’t take long for me, or any other person going through this simulation to realize that there was a real problem with the re-entry process.
“When you’re going in for incarceration you’re not allowed to keep with you Social Security card, drivers license or anything like that so coming out without any sort of ID is a very important issue,” said Representative Ruth Briggs King (R-District 37).
Organizers of the simulation tell us the goal of the exercise is to change people’s perspectives of former prisoners trying to establish themselves in their community.
“There are people that, yes, I think that once you are released from an institution that you can just go out and get yourself a job they don’t realize that there are barriers to that,” said Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R-SD 19)
They add that through this experience, it ‘s crucial to keep the conversation going about how to improve the re-entry process to make sure everyone succeeds.
“I think before anyone is released from incarceration they there should be a plan in place, where they’re going to live, who they’re staying with, but that needs to start way before the release,” said King.
Organizers of the simulation also say that they hope by bringing more light to this issue, they’ll be able to stop the cycle of recidivism, and ultimately reduce crime in Dover and statewide.