On August 25, 2016, the WVU Clinical Law Program hosted an Ex-Offender Re-Entry Exercise. The Exercise was operated and facilitated for our clinical law students by First Assistant United States Attorney Betsy Jividen and a team of professionals from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia, the U.S. Office of Probation for the Northern District of West Virginia and the Federal Correctional Institute, Gilmer. The purpose of the Exercise was to heighten student awareness regarding the considerable legal, social and economic barriers that ex-offenders face while attempting to successfully reintegrate into society. Specifically, students attempted to navigate simulated real-word re-entry challenges related to transportation, employment, housing, benefits, voting, parenting, and drivers’ licenses.
According to General Practice Clinical Law Student Anna Casto, “The Exercise provided great insight regarding the significant obstacles ex-offenders faces while attempting to reintegrate into our communities.” Veterans Advocacy Clinical Law Student Kirsten Lilly similarly observed that “while [she] was aware that re-entering ex-offenders had to overcome challenges, [she] was entirely surprised to learn the enormous scope and breath of the legal and economic issues with which they are confronted immediately upon release.” The WVU Clinical Law Program extends a sincere thank you to the selfless professionals who volunteered to come to the WVU College of Law to operate and facilitate the Ex-Offender Re-Entry Exercise for our clinical students.