Impactful event showcases the daily challenges of individuals reentering society after incarceration
West Palm Beach, FL (March 18, 2019)
– The City of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Village Initiative (MVI) partnered with the US Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida for their annual Reentry Simulation. The event was held at the Salvation Army Community Center Northwest located at 600 N. Rosemary Avenue. This simulation allowed more than 100 business owners, government agencies and community members to experience the daily hardships and challenges faced by individuals reentering society after incarceration. Some of these challenges include the process of obtaining official identification, gaining a higher education, applying for healthcare, and finding employment. Participants were required to visit stations manned by volunteers instructed to provide an authentic experience.
The goal was for attendees to gain a better understanding which could potentially lead them to provide jobs and give formerly incarcerated citizens a “second chance at life.” These stations represented various services such as a superstore, career center, employers, social services, religious institutions, an identification station, treatment and counseling services, transportation and more. Attendees were required to visit all stations to gain the full experience. This three-hour event displayed a process that typically takes formerly incarcerated individuals up to four weeks to complete.
I think it's very interesting to have people go through this, and it's pretty realistic in a very condensed amount of time. It gives you a very good perspective on some of the things that people have to deal with when they're trying to reenter society after coming out of jail,” said City of West Palm Beach Police Chief Sarah Mooney.
The Reentry Simulation is one of the many local events co-hosted by MVI which began under the leadership of West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. MVI is facilitated by WPB Coordinator of Community Initiatives Kevin Jones. It was created in response to high rates of violent crime exclusive to young African American males in West Palm Beach. “This event was a great opportunity for participants that come from all different sectors in the city to understand what it’s like for returning citizens and the hope is that they will go back to their sectors and see how they can be more welcoming to this community,” said Jones.
For more information, or to learn more about the Mayor’s Village Initiative, call 561-822-1413 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mayor’s Village Initiative was developed as a result of the high violent crime rates almost exclusive to young African American men in the North End of the City of West Palm Beach, specifically in the neighborhoods of the Historic Northwest, Coleman Park and Pleasant City. Comprised of City of West Palm Beach staff, community leaders, community members and local organizations, the Mayor’s Village Initiative is a collaborative multidisciplinary strategy to prevent and reduce youth violence and improve outcomes for African American boys and young men in the three target neighborhoods.