Understanding Halfway House

A “halfway house” is a so-called umbrella term that can refer to various types of residential facilities. The goal of a halfway house is to provide residents with a transitional facility where they live after prison (or it’s a probation requirement) and then return to the community after some time.

People in such facilities live in groups and have to follow the rules, strict curfews, participate in various in-house programs, maintain employment, etc. Halfway houses were established to help people with criminal backgrounds to reintegrate into society by regaining control of their lives, finding jobs and permanent homes. But residents have to show a willingness to help themselves.

Read further to learn more about halfway houses and what are the benefits of living in transitional residences.

What is a Halfway House?

A halfway house (or a halfhouse) is a facility for individuals with criminal backgrounds and potential substance abuse. The task of a halfway house is to provide residents with a transitional environment where they can learn or re-learn the necessary skills to integrate back into society.

Apart from serving as a place to live, halfway houses also provide medical, educational, social, psychiatric, and other services to fully support residents of the facility.

The term “halfway” indicates that the house is a transitional facility between highly restricted residences (for example, jail) and traditional living.

Upon graduating, residents return to an independent lifestyle. Going through the halfway house improves one’s chances of making good decisions rather than relapsing to former behavior.

The concept of a halfway house isn’t new. This strategy has been used since the 1840s in the US. Most studies show that residents of halfway houses have better chances of successful integration into society.

The Success Rate of Halfway Houses

The results of studies can vary depending on different parameters and factors. But several reliable studies provide us with some solid information and statistics.

For instance, a study conducted a while ago shows that throughout years halfway houses show an average success rate of 61%, while the highest success rate was 93%. This study proves the success and usefulness of halfway houses.

Another research conducted several years ago compares the results of different groups of parolees. The research proved that the first group of parolees that returned to normal environments had a success rate of 48%. More than half of parolees from this group have returned to former habits.

The second group of parolees went through the halfway house program showing a success rate of 60%. This study proves that the chance of relapse is lower when going through a transitional stage rather than going back to the usual environment.

Factors Affecting the Success Rate

It’s worth mentioning that the success rate depends on different factors. Some people may be more successful when graduating a halfhouse, while others show worse results. The list includes the following factors:

  • gender;
  • age;
  • family and their support or its absence;
  • education;
  • potential substance abuse;
  • employment stability;
  • social background and the social circle;
  • everyday environment (including home, work, friends);
  • psychological or emotional well-being;
  • participation in treatment programs and therapy;
  • availability of a permanent home;
  • presence of potential triggers in everyday life;
  • halfway house rules and programs;
  • willingness or its absence to participate in halfway house activities and programs.

As the list shows, quite a few factors are affecting the success rate of parolees. But it’s not a full list as individuals have different needs that can affect their success. The willingness of a resident to live in a halfway house and participate in all activities might be crucial to success.

Benefits of Living in a Halfway House

In some cases, living in a halfway house facility is a requirement. For example, to meet probation requirements and get out of jail, parolees must live in half-houses. But in other cases, people may choose to go through a transitional stage on their own.

In any of these cases, living in a halfway house has several advantages. Read further to learn more.

Encouraging Residents to Find Jobs and Study

Trying to find a job or attending classes to pursue a certain job is usually a requirement. A half-house provides help with finding job offers so that in the future, the former resident with a criminal background can easily reintegrate into society, find a permanent residence, etc.

In some cases, residents decide to live in half-houses since they don’t have a place to live. The half-house community helps such people to take care of these needs.

Transitional Environment

As mentioned, halfway houses provide residents with a better chance of avoiding a relapse. Thanks to a supportive environment, people are encouraged to show law-abiding behavior. Living in such a facility also means following strict rules. For example:

  • no alcohol or drugs;
  • no violence;
  • following a 12-step program;
  • follow a strict curfew;
  • no stealing;
  • no destroying of other people’s property;
  • looking for a job.

Rules may vary depending on the facility, but the idea should be clear – no unlawful behavior. Following these rules helps residents to get back to normal life.

Recovery-Driven Activities and Environment

A typical half-house requires every resident to participate in in-house activities. Such activities help parolees to learn how to build meaningful relationships and communicate with one another. Most facilities also have the rule to follow 12-step or similar recovery programs.

Becoming More Organized

Following a strict set of rules may pose restrictions on individuals, but such a strategy helps residents to be more organized and responsible. These skills help former residents in the future since they learn how to be reliable and responsible at work, at home, etc.