University of Alaska Anchorage's College of Health hosted a Re-entry Simulation event for more than 50 students and community members Friday.

Participants were assigned a profile of a person just released from prison and tasked with navigating the challenges re-entrants face. This includes obtaining an ID, finding employment and securing housing, all while complying with probation and parole requirements.

The simulation was sponsored by the Anchorage Re-entry Coalition in partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office through the program Project Safe Neighborhoods.

"Over the past 15 years or so, what we've seen is that with aggressive strategies for prosecuting people who are committing violent crimes in our neighborhood, we see a reduction in crime — temporarily," explained Karen Vandergaw, with the U.S. Attorney's Office. "And then people get out of prison and what happens is we end up seeing the same names over and over and over again. So now Project Safe Neighborhoods takes a closer look at what we can do from the federal side, the Department of Justice, to help re-entry, because everyone's goal is here it have people, when they get out of prison, to succeed." 

According to the Alaska Department of Corrections, more than 60% of people who are released from prison return to custody within three years. Two-thirds of those people return within the first six months after being released.  

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