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Press Release

United States Attorney's Office Launches Reentry Simulation Initiative to Commemorate National Second Chance Month

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA - On Monday, April 17, 2023, in partnership with the National Constitution Center, United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero hosted a Reentry Simulation to raise awareness about the challenges that formerly incarcerated individuals face when they reenter society. The event marked the launch of the United State Attorney's Office’s "Reentry Simulation Kits," distributed to community organizations and other stakeholders to encourage greater understanding and support efforts to promote successful reintegration.

Reentry Simulations are designed to help people understand the significant challenges faced by citizens returning home from prison. Versions of this exercise have been facilitated by U.S. Attorney's Offices and community and criminal justice organizations nationwide. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania redesigned the kits to facilitate conducting Simulations with easy-to-use, high-quality and reusable materials designed to replicate the challenges encountered such as obtaining identification, finding employment, and accessing essential services.

What is a Reentry Simulation?

The Simulation is a two-hour activity that prompts participants to walk in the shoes of someone who has just returned home from prison by providing them with tasks to complete within a certain amount of time. 

The exercise is divided into four 15-minute segments, representing four weeks (the first month) of someone returning home. The participants receive a "wallet" with an "Identity Sheet," which lists information about their criminal offense and life circumstances. They also receive a "Life Card," which details the tasks they must complete, including complying with the terms of probation, finding a job, attending treatment, managing family responsibilities, paying bills, and purchasing food and transportation.  The participants must move among several corresponding “stations” to complete the tasks at each station within the allotted time. 

The Simulation is followed by a debrief and discussion about the criminal justice system and the complexities of Reentry. This exercise can create awareness about the barriers to Reentry, change perceptions about returning citizens and the criminal justice system, deepen empathy, and inspire people to think more about the workings of our criminal justice system. 

“Promoting successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals is why we are here today to commemorate National Second Chance Month with the launch of the Reentry Simulation Initiative," said U.S. Attorney Romero. "In my previous role as an Assistant United States Attorney, I participated in the office's Reentry Court for years and I saw the struggles. I hope that our Reentry Simulation Kits and numerous simulations hosted after today will open up many more eyes and inspire understanding."

The United States Attorney's Office is committed to raising awareness about the importance of Reentry and to supporting initiatives that promote successful reintegration into society. Over the next several months, the Office will facilitate Simulations across the District with law enforcement, community members, non-profits, and people from all walks of life. By working together, we can ensure that our returning citizens have the tools and resources they need to succeed in their journey home.

Updated April 18, 2023