What Is A Halfway House?

For those that have been released from prison, some of the terms and conditions of parole/probation require an individual to live in a halfway house. A halfway house is so named because it serves as a residency for those halfway between incarceration (no freedom) and a normal law-abiding life of citizen. Those with a criminal background learn skills and positive behaviors to reintegrate into society. The aim is to reduce the rate of recidivism while providing support for at-risk individuals that may have no other means besides state-sponsored support. All meetings with family members and attorneys at law will have to take place at the house as well.

Individuals living in a halfway house adhere to strict rules of conduct. Typically, there is an emphasis on providing a drug-free environment, with group counseling and curfews imposed to limit the behaviors of those who are trying to not relapse into a criminal life. In both examples, individuals living in a halfway house typically spend one to six months in this setting while they seek housing, employment, and other support services. Residents who stay for an extended period may be required to pay rent on a sliding scalethis both recoups the costs of a person staying in a publically-subsidized environment, but also gives an incentive/motivation to an individual to find their own housing and sufficient employment.

Two Types of Halfway Houses

In the United States, there are two main types of halfway houses. The first type is where individuals are given one-on-one services (i.e. housing, counseling) to limit their exposure to other individuals and provide more personalized support until the individual becomes more adjusted to normal society. When they progress, they are gradually integrated into larger populations of a same-sex dormitory setting (mimicking military barracks). The idea for this type of halfway house is to render the halfway house setting unfit for an independent individual, while also exposing the in-progress individual to positive examples of reintegration into society.

The second type of halfway house works in reverse. Individuals begin in a dorm-setting and then progress to relying less and less on support services. Eventually, individuals move into a housing setting (i.e. shared housing, apartment) or with like-minded persons theyve encountered in the halfway house.

It should be noted that there are other types of halfway houses, which cater to those seeking substance abuse rehabilitation or care for persons with chronic mental health issues. Some are known as sober living houses or care facilities.