The official blog of the WVU Clinical Law Program

Re-Entry Simulation: The Struggle of Returning to Society


Former prisoners face challenges at every turn. Approximately 688,384 men and women were released from state or federal custody in 2011. [1] At West Virginia University, College of Law, students participated in a reentry simulation manifesting frustration in some and the feeling of defeat in others.

Students were provided packets, which consisted the criminal history, employment (if any), child support, student loans, amount of rent due per month, and the times per week attendance for treatment is necessary based on the identity given. In addition, the packet contained several other requirements, specific to each identity. Some packets contained monopoly money to be used as currency, and coins for transportation, while others did not. The students were instructed to assume the identity they were given while navigating the release process. Tables were set up around the room with designated areas, including: Employment, Probation Office, Employment, Transportation, Grocery, Rent/Utility Payment, Loan Assistance, Plasma Donation, and a Risk/Chance table. For each location, the students were required to pay a transportation token and show three forms of identification. The simulation recreated the experience of one month of living post-release, each week having a predetermined number of minutes to complete the required tasks.