Reentry Simulation At Columbia University
This Reentry Simulation was originally developed as an in-person experience, through a community wide effort led by the United States Department of Justice. Thanks to their work, the in-person simulation materials have been made free for facilitators around the country, who then help participants learn about the struggles and challenges faced by individuals who are transitioning from incarceration back into society.
The goal of this simulation is for participants to gain an understanding of the significant obstacles faced by men and women attempting to navigate the system upon their release from incarceration and returning home to their communities. To walk in the shoes of one who is returning home gives invaluable insight for professionals who are tasked with and/or are able to help those individuals achieve a successful reentry.
This simulation has also been facilitated multiple times in-person at Columbia University by Reinventing Reentry, for students, alumni, and reentry networks, and written about in the Columbia Magazine.
Would You Survive Parole?
Impact of This Simulation
Here are a few MBA student reflections on the impact of this simulation in Professor Damon Phillips’ B8584 REAP: Reforming Mass Incarceration and the Role of Business course.
“Eye-opening in terms of understanding the immense systemic challenges that formerly incarcerated people face in reentering society…[it] lent further credence to the fact that the entire criminal justice system is set up to be punitive rather than rehabilitative.”
“Extremely powerful…this simulation effectively prepares participants to empathize with the seemingly insurmountable challenges that incarcerated people face in reentering society.”
“This simulation stirred in me a great empathy that I had formerly reserved for people in confinement. Now, I’m beginning to understand that systemic failure reaches far beyond prison itself…[and the simulation] opened my eyes to ways that I can make an active impact.”
This online version of the simulation was collaboratively developed between the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University, REAP at Columbia Business School and the USA Department of Justice in the Northern District of Virginia. We are also grateful to our students, participants, volunteers, facilitators, and everyone involved and we hope that it forms a basis for broader use and learning at and beyond Columbia University’s campus.
ReEntry Acceleration Program (REAP) trains MBA students to deliver business training to incarcerated individuals, develops tools for potential employers, and creates forums for new relationships to shape a solutions-focused dialog around post-incarceration employment. REAP is also a partnership between Columbia University’s Center for Justice, Resilience Education, Hour Children, Osborne Association, and many other participating companies and reentry organizations that have helped shape this program