PCC, Local Reentry Council Teaming on Reentry Simulation

PCC clock tower with cloudy skies behind it.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College and the Local Reentry Council (LRC) are teaming this month to provide local leaders a better understanding of the roadblocks justice-involved individuals must overcome when transitioning back into society.

According to PCC Reentry Coordinator Ralph Soney, the college has invited approximately 100 area stakeholders to participate in a reentry simulator on campus next week. Those who do, he said, will be randomly assigned new identities as individuals returning home from incarceration in order to gain “invaluable insight” that can be used to help individuals achieve successful reentry.

“They’ll experience the first month of post-release life,” Soney said. “They’ll receive a packet of materials, including a ‘life card’ that explains their criminal background, current living situation, current job situation, and the specific weekly tasks they must accomplish to avoid the risk of being sent back to prison for non-compliance with the requirements of their supervised release.”

Soney said a debriefing session that follows the simulation exercise will give participants a chance to describe how they felt navigating life as ex-offenders.

“The goal of this exercise is to help community stakeholders understand the barriers of returning home after incarceration,” he said, adding that “topics like employment, homelessness, mental health and jobs will most assuredly come up.”

PCC is the intermediary agency the N.C. Department of Public Safety has charged with helping Pitt County’s LRC provide services and support, including housing, transportation and job training, to justice-involved individuals upon their release from incarceration. Soney says the program “provides a serious return on investment” and has helped more than 179 people re-adjust to society since PCC adopted the LRC in August 2021.