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.

WVU’s Mr. Mountaineer Garrett Burgess a finalist for the prestigious British Marshall Scholarship

Just days after being named  Mr. Mountaineer, a competitive award that recognizes exemplary academic achievement and extracurricular involvement,  West Virginia University senior Garrett Burgess got word that he is a finalist for the prestigious British Marshall Scholarship.

Marshall Scholarships offer up to 40 young Americans of high ability the opportunity to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom. Burgess will interview for one of the coveted spots Nov. 13. 

Michael Benedum Chapter of the AAPL Veteran's Charity Clay Shoot 2017

Landmen Association raises $22,000 for WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — A local chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) recently donated $22,000 to the Veteran Advocacy Law Clinic at West Virginia University. 

The Michael Late Benedum Chapter of the AAPL raised the funds at its third annual Charity Clay Shoot, Dinner and Auction. The event received support from 27 oil and gas companies and service providers as well as numerous other firms and individuals.


High-Tech Startup Grows in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle

An entrepreneur works from an at-home office humming with five computer monitors. He’s developing a high-tech startup, with years of experience and a network of specialized teammates by his side. Serving as a private consultant for several of the country’s Fortune 100 companies has prepared him to transfer a lifelong passion for music into an innovative company. While his two kids play with the dogs in the backyard, an investor rings on the line.

Behind the house lies a scenic backdrop—but it’s the Appalachian Mountains contouring the horizon line, not the Silicon Valley skyscrapers one might expect.

Garrett Burgess was awarded a Newman Civic Fellowship. Courtesy: West Virginia University

WVU Fellowship Winner Aims To Help Veterans Access Benefits

You might not expect a veteran to be less-than-honorably discharged due to mental trauma...but that’s the issue many veterans are facing today. One student at West Virginia University is going around the state with lawyers to help veterans get access to benefits.

Thirteen percent of discharges from 1991 - 2013 are less-than-honorable, according to a study by Swords to Plowshares in conjunction with Harvard Law School. That’s more than 500,000 veterans, who are less qualified for benefits, and carry a life-long stigma. WVU student Garrett Burgess hopes to help solve that problem. He’s partnering with WVU College of Law’s Veterans’ Advocacy Clinic. Garrett says he plans to enter the military, and that’s is the reason he wants to help the clinic.