The Washington State Reentry Taskforce Holds a Reentry Simulation in Seattle

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

On June 21, 2017, the Washington State Reentry Taskforce had over 80 people gathered to participate in a Reentry Simulation including judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, civil legal aid, social service organizations, law enforcement and many other organizations that work in the criminal justice system. The Reentry Simulation was created by Project H.O.P.E. to educate decision makers and the general public on the collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction. Participants were assigned an identity and asked to meet the many requirements of probation, treatment, family reunification, employment, housing, and more.

"It was important to do the simulation at this point in time, because while there have been some advances in criminal justice reform the field of reentry continues to lag behind and the consequences to our returning citizens and the community are shameful, grave and at times, deadly," said Rhona Taylor, chairperson of the Taskforce and directing attorney of the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services.

"We often use this term 'collateral consequences' to convey the idea that, in incarcerating people, we don't intend for them never to be able to get a good job or for them to end up homeless," said King County Superior Court Judge David S. Keenan in a call to action. "But as a community, I believe that we need to acknowledge that the system is set up to produce these consequences. And calling them 'collateral' allows us to keep them at a distance-to be comfortable-when in fact we should be uncomfortable with the numerous challenges those reentering the community from incarceration face."

Through the Reentry Simulation, the Washington State Reentry Taskforce seeks to push the criminal justice community to understand the realities that people who have paid their debt to society face every day and hope that decision makers are compelled to implement change.  

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