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Reentry simulation puts struggles of transitioning out of prison into perspective for court staff

Court staff members in Lucas County went through a reentry simulation to better understand the struggles people face coming out of prison and jail

LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — Mike Hampton knows the struggles of reentering the real world from being behind bars. He went to prison in 2006 and was released in 2008.

On Friday, he was known as Judge Mike Hampton, while playing a role in a reentry simulation for court staff members within Lucas County.

"Everybody is broken out into small groups of one, two or three and they're family units and they get packets. Some have money, some have no money, some have a car, some don't have a car so they have to take public transportation," said Thomas Luettke, the reentry coordinator for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

But they're all trying to figure out how to get through daily life with different obstacles and scenarios thrown in the way.

"Transportation issues, housing issues, getting kids to school, being re-incarcerated," Luettke said. "Things of that nature."

Hampton says something like this makes it easier for everyone involved in the court system and prisons.

"To actually walk in these shoes even in a simulation, they get a general idea of what a person has to face coming home so I think it's real good, get them knowledge, and it's easy to deal with something or somebody when you know a little about what they walked in," said Hampton.

Being involved with reentry programs is what got him to where he is today, so he wants to return the favor.

"I'm trying to show them, they can be successful out here because I am a living witness of it, here I am with you in a robe and doing positive things," Hampton said.

There is another simulation on Monday.