Reentry Simulation demonstrates difficulties of prisoners returning to society

By  | 

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Fairbanks Reentry Coalition held a reentry simulation at the JP Jones Community Development Center on Thursday.

Law Enforcement, Reentry and Community Outreach Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office, Yulando Canelario, explaining the simulation to participants. (Andrew Hawkins/KTVF)

The simulation started at 9:30 a.m. and lasted around 2 hours long. Each participant assumed the identity of someone returning to society after being incarcerated. There were multiple scenarios and goals they had to reach to stay out of jail.

The simulation was broken up into four separate sessions, each one lasting 15 minutes. Each session represented a week. During the sessions, participants went to stations that represented different parts of life like housing and income. At the end of each session, every participant was evaluated at the probation station, where it was determined if they had met enough goals to remain out of jail, or if they would need to return.

On top of having limited resources in the form of money, participants were also limited in transportation. Only certain facilities would accept walking or biking tokens, while most of them required transportation. During the scenario, many participants were turned away from stations when they were unable to provide identification.

Yulando Canelario, the Law Enforcement, Reentry and Community Outreach Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office, was the facilitator for the event. She says simulations like this are planned for different parts of Alaska. She went on to talk about what the simulation is trying to accomplish in the long-run.

“We’re really hoping that people come away more educated, more compassionate, with a better understanding how they can be a part of the solution,” said Canelario.

One of the participants was Ashton Varner, the VISTA Team Leader for Fairbanks. She said a lot of her success in the simulation was due to the fact she started out with identification and a job. Despite never having to return to jail, Varner said it was still very stressful.

Linda Setterberg, the Coordinator of the coalition and the organizer of the simulation, spoke on what she hopes the simulation will do for the coalition.

“What we’re hoping at the end of this is when our steering committee and our coalition comes together and looks at the evaluations, we can fine-tune our goals for the year,” said Setterberg.

She said this is the first reentry simulation for the coalition but they are planning to hold more. For individuals or organizations that would like to experience a reentry simulation, Linda Setterberg can be contacted by calling 987-6045 or email her at reentry@iacnvl.org.

Copyright 2019 KXDF. All rights reserved.