Simulation helps community members understand challenges after incarceration

Community members, educators, employers and others are encouraged to learn how individuals, after serving prison time, face a multiple challenges reentering the community and finding employment during a reentry simulation event held later this month.

Inside Out Reentry Community, an Iowa City nonprofit, is holding the event from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 19, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 140 Gathering Place Lane, in Iowa City. During the first 90 minutes of the event, participants will be given a fictional identity of an individual attempting to reenter the community following a criminal conviction.

Participants will navigate through “multiple difficult tasks” and gain insight into the hardships that come with parole. Following the stimulation, organization officials will have a 30-minute debrief and panel discussion, featuring firsthand experiences and stories of individuals who have gone through this process.
This is a public outreach event for the community and is free for participants. However, space is limited and an RSVP is necessary.
If you go
What: Inside Out reentry simulation
Where: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 140 Gathering Place Lane, Iowa City
When: 1 to 3 p.m. April 19
Cost: Free
Details: RSVP required at [email protected] or (319) 338-7996

Michelle Heinz, executive director of Inside Out Reentry Community, said the organization is anticipating about 50 people will attend this year’s simulation. There still is space left for individuals to register, but it is filling up quickly, so she suggested signing up as soon as possible.

The simulations are an “eye-opening experience,” Heinz said.

“Individuals who attend often comment on how challenging it is and how it helps them gain a greater understanding of the obstacles that people face,” Heinz added.

Read more at The Gazette. Written by Trish Mehaffey, April 3, 2024.