TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) – Local leaders and members of the community got a chance to walk in the shoes of an inmate recently released from incarceration Wednesday in Texarkana.

The Literacy Council of Bowie and Miller Counties, in conjunction with other partnering agencies, organized a reentry simulation to bring awareness to the complex obstacles and challenges that formerly incarcerated people often face after they re-enter society.

Participants experience the first month of post-release life by assuming the identity of an ex-offender, complete with a criminal background, living and job situations, and the specific weekly tasks that must be accomplished in order to avoid the risk of being sent back to prison for non-compliance with the requirements of his or her supervised release. 

“As individuals come back into reacclimated society, if we can help them with education, employment, help them get stability, that reflects positively on all of us as a community,” said Kristina Jones, Education & Career Coordinator for The Literacy Council of Bowie and Miller Counties. “That’s going to help our economic development, that’s going to help our workforce numbers, and our crime will be reduced as a direct result.”

Jones says she hopes the event will encourage a collaboration between area agencies and service organizations to build guided pathways for individuals re-entering society from incarceration.