While the video plays, Troy Ironmonger, the pre-apprenticeship program manager, stands out in the hallway and describes Zorn as “not afraid to sit right up front and be engaged.”

“Smart as a whip, you know? They do some algebra, geometry and some light trigonometry in this class, and she’s definitely mathematically inclined,” he said, describing Zorn as “a really great student.”

But being smart is not necessarily enough after time in prison. For a convicted felon, getting a job and getting stable housing are two of the biggest challenges, according to state Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton. And those aren’t the only ones.

Simmons knows this through experience: Earlier in her life she was sentenced to 30 months for drug possession and delivery. After getting out and graduating from Seattle University School of Law, the Washington State Bar Association rejected her attempt to take the bar exam, a requirement for practicing law. The Washington Supreme Court overruled the bar’s decision; Simmons has since been elected to the Legislature and is a co-founder of a nonprofit that seeks to help people getting out of prison.

Traumas and mental health issues can also hinder someone trying to be back out in the world: “We don’t know how to handle stress and anxiety.”

“We have served our time and are forgiven, and that’s not necessarily true,” said Simmons, who vice-chairs a House legislative committee that oversees prisons and public safety issues.

Efforts to help incarcerated people adapt to come back into society have some support across the political aisle. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, the ranking Republican on that committee, said she is working on legislation to improve prison environments for those inside. And she supports the parenting program.

“Anytime we can have a mother and child together, that’s a win for both mother and child and for the community and the state of Washington,” said Mosbrucker.

On Sept. 21, Zorn woke early to say goodbye to Torres and Haller – and Janessa and Dahlia. She picked out some street clothes to exchange for her gray sweats and tees, and after some waiting and processing walked out to meet her father in the prison parking lot.