Author: Alex Thompson

What you should know about halfway houses

what is it like living in a halfway house

In our appendix table, we attempt to break down which of those 527 facilities fall under our “halfway houses in the criminal justice system” definition, and which facilities primarily serve other purposes. Unfortunately, much less information exists about how many state-run or state-contracted halfway houses and halfway house residents there are. However, as we will discuss later, these numbers include facilities that serve primarily or entirely as residential correctional facilities (where people serve their entire sentences).

what is it like living in a halfway house

Prison policies discouraged any type of relationship between prisoners and staff; they preferred to keep a strict separation between staff members and offenders. I loved it when Sally shook my hand and called me by my first name, and introduced herself by her first name. Early on in recovery, staying in a sober living home is an effective relapse prevention approach.

Residents typically adhere to a set schedule that includes chores, group meetings, therapy sessions, and job training or educational programs. This routine fosters discipline and helps residents develop essential life skills necessary for independent living. Additionally, residents are often required to adhere to curfews and maintain sobriety, with regular drug testing to ensure compliance. You’ve gone through medical detox and completed an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. While the goal of sober living homes and halfway houses are similar, there are a few variances.

Exploring Halfway Houses: What Are They and What Is It Like Living In One?

I was excited to spend those three hours in the car with my wife, and to embrace whatever change was to come at the halfway house. All I knew was that the halfway house would offer more liberty than prison, and that was good enough for me. People who served time in minimum-security camps did not have documented histories of violence. Case managers are also in charge of connecting participants to valuable community resources in order to ensure their well-being and long-term success. Income and healthcare benefits, community services, job opportunities, and other resources are examples of these resources.

  1. When you move into a halfway home, you agree to these agreements, and breaking them might result in fines, having to make reparations, or even being asked to leave.
  2. We married inside of a prison visiting room a decade before, but that morning was the first time we’d ever alone together.
  3. Peer support plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation process, as individuals share their experiences, offer encouragement, and hold each other accountable.
  4. Case managers are also responsible for addressing difficulties that may prevent the homeless from accessing livable housing alternatives in other housing programs.
  5. They may also not force housemates to participate in treatment regimens while they are living there.
  6. The homes are usually run by a rehab facility, a person in recovery or residents who have maintained sobriety for extended periods of time.

The main goal of residential reentry centers, the term that the Federal Bureau of Prisons uses to describe halfway houses, is to reduce recidivism. Most of the centers are run by contractors, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons provides oversight. Rules vary, but most houses require participation in some type of recovery program.

Halfway houses for people without homes are designed for the general population, but the programs may be capable of helping people in recovery from substance abuse issues. They provide the support systems necessary for individuals to reconnect with their community and locate resources that help them find purpose. Some halfway houses also have on-site Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Individuals who require more intensive addiction treatment can access outpatient medical services at a rehab facility while they finish their sentence at a halfway house. Unlike halfway houses, sober living homes do not usually need residents to have served time in prison.

There’s far more that we don’t know: Lack of publicly available data makes it difficult to hold facilities accountable

In a Facebook video, a resident described “6 to 8 people” leaving Hope Village daily in an ambulance. Federal RRC residents3 are generally subject to two stages of confinement within the facility that lead to a final period of home confinement. First, they are restricted to the facility with the exception of work, religious activities, approved recreation, program requirements, or emergencies.

what is it like living in a halfway house

Within a few days, I received my first pass to leave the halfway house and walk to the DMV. Since I had a job waiting for me upon my release from prison, four days after I checked into the halfway house, a staff member authorized me to go to work. Whereas only one week previously I was being reprimanded for chewing gum in prison, suddenly I was free to navigate my way around the magnificent streets of San Francisco. That pass allowed me to leave the halfway house early in the morning and I didn’t have to return until the early evening. It was extraordinary, better than anything I’ve ever known since 1987, when my federal prison term began. I didn’t even mind going back to the halfway house because I had my iPhone with me.

Stay Informed

This lack of guidelines and oversight has ensured that people in halfway houses are not being aided in safely and effectively rebuilding their lives after serving time in jails and prisons. Transitional housing units designed for people experiencing homelessness are sometimes known as halfway houses. They are similar to recovery residences because most forbid alcohol or drug use, and many provide similar support services. Many halfway homes are still used to shelter newly released offenders or as a solution for homelessness, while others are dedicated to housing persons who have recently completed addiction treatment. Residents in halfway houses are frequently ordered by the courts to stay for a set period of time.

This is mostly due to the fact that halfway houses require you to remain sober while you live there. Therefore, people who already have some level of sobriety under their belt are more likely to succeed at a halfway house than those who are new to recovery. Some halfway houses require residents to pass a drug screening and/or breathalyzer test, as they’re not equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms or delirium tremens. Halfway houses are ideal for people who’ve already gone through medical detox and have completed an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Some halfway houses are dedicated to help people who have completed addiction treatment. Qualifications to live in a halfway house vary based on the facility.

This ambiguity means that pinning down how many people are in halfway houses each day – and how many specifically state-funded halfway houses there are – is nearly impossible. The term halfway house can refer to a number of transitional living environments that help people re-enter society. For people in recovery, it usually refers to sober living homes that provide varying degrees of support and supervision. In conclusion, life in a halfway house is a journey marked by challenges, growth, and resilience.

Who Can Live In A Halfway House?

States fall far short of their duty to meet the health needs of incarcerated people. Many state prison systems have similar facilities that state prisoners can transfer to before completing their prison sentence. Halfway houses were first established in 18th century England to shelter youngsters who had committed crimes. In the United States, similar houses were established to house prisoners who had recently been released from prison. Transitional housing was created to help those who are homeless or in a crisis, as well as specialized populations facing social acceptance issues, bridge the gap between temporary and permanent accommodation.

How Much Does Halfway Housing Cost?

Laura Clarke of Advanced Recovery Systems describes how people transition back to work while staying in a sober living home or halfway house. Sober living homes are not for everyone, but if you think it might be right for you or a loved one, reach out to your doctor or therapist to see if they’re able to recommend one for you. If you attend 12-step or other recovery meetings, you can ask other members of your group for recommendations as well. If you still haven’t been able to get recommendations, do a quick Google search to read reviews and find halfway houses in your area. Like anything else, time in the halfway house is a matter of perspective. Since I served decades in prison, without any privacy at all and with the iron boot of corrections pressing down on my neck, I had a different perspective from most others who experience the halfway house.