Federal Re-Entry Simulation For Inmates Held At National Constitution Center

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-US Attorney Jacqueline Romero



by Alex Lloyd Gross

April 20, 2023

For most people, walking the straight and narrow is easy. For others, it is a challenge. Imagine the following scenario:

It’s 1986 and you are young and stupid. All of 19 years old and you have committed violent felonies that resulted in your incarceration  since your arrest.  You have served enough of your sentence and you get released.  You have a pair of clothes, $550.00 in cash and two bus tokens.  You do not have any current ID and to top it off, you have nowhere to go. All of your family is dead or have moved to destinations unknown.


You might think you will spend that cash on companionship or a hotel room. At $50.00 a night, your money will be gone in a week. You need food. You need a job. You walk into a place that is hiring. They want your ID and you have none to show them. You won’t get the job.  Will there be opportunities to steal? Yes,  The corner store has a teenage cashier and you can take your food and bolt out of the door. Will you get caught?  You have no idea what an Uber or Lyft is.  Cars were made with cassette decks   Now cars don’t even come with anything. What is a Key Card?  SEPTA buses were brown Flexible  models. Now they are new and you can’t figure out how to put the $2.50 in for a fare. It used to be 40 cents.

All of the above and more are challenges that people face everyday when they get out of prison.  Earlier this week the Us Attorney’s Office  hosted a re entry simulation for  people involved in law enforcement and social agencies. They were given a packet with their new name. Some had a few dollars. Some had children they had to take care of.



They had to navigate different stations set up and they would chose a card on the table in front of them. Would they go to jail?   Would they run out of bus vouchers?  This program showed just how difficult it is to go an entire day and get nowhere. The simulation took 2 hours and in that time frame, some people were told they were evicted, or  going back to jail.

According to Jacqueline Romero, the US Attorney, this is done to  show people what it is like. She does not want  people to re offend. Programs like this help those people that are returning to society. “For those that have been in prison for 15 years, or longer, we give them a bit more TLC , a bit more guidance, how do fill out a resume, for instance. “, Romero said.



Obviously, real money was not used  in this simulation,  and it did not result in in anyone really going to jail.  Having nothing and then getting three forms of ID,  and finding a place to live can be daunting. Some apartment complexes will not rent to felons or people on probation. Some employers will be very hesitant to hire a convicted thief, let alone a pedophile. This simulation showed people just how hard and difficult it could be.



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