What Is A Halfway House For Substance Abuse Recovery?

Between the stress of work, family obligations and social pressures, the coping mechanisms learned in the calm environment of treatment can prove difficult to apply. Halfway houses and sober living facilities are important because they give people the support they need to make a smooth transition.

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 .

Litigation – while always an option there are many hurdles to challenging a reduced federal halfway house placement. And with the Addiction exhaustion of remedies requirement, the BOP very well may run out the clock on you through that process before you are released.

Poor Conditions And Bad Incentives Make Halfway Houses Hotspots For Covid

If they consent, the individual can spend the last 3 to 12 months of their sentence at the facility. Since RRCs are located within public communities, people convicted of violence– or sex-related crimes are typically not eligible for relocation.

I hope that this explanation of the differences between halfway houses and recovery houses has been informative to you, and that this information can help you determine which environment is best for your recovery. Remember, where a person lives after inpatient treatment can have a huge impact on their success in recovery. As a result, I strongly encourage you to take some time to weigh the pros and cons of each living environment and make the best choice for you. GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy.


This section gives you an overview of what to expect and how to best deal with the challenges of the halfway house. Many people use the terms “halfway house” and “sober living house” interchangeably. When referring to substance abuse recovery, there are some key differences. Halfway houses are transitional living facilities for people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. The 29-year-old fugitive, whose name has not been released, apparently left a federal halfway house in Virginia and was wanted on a probation violation.

What Is A Halfway House?

Mutual self-help, assistance in economic and social adjustment, integration of activities of daily living, and development of a sound recovery program are requirements of licensed halfway houses. View a PDF version of Licensed Halfway Houses in Pennsylvania. Most states do not release comprehensive policy on their contracted halfway houses. From states like Minnesota, we are able to see that the carceral conditions in federal RRCs are often mirrored in the state system. 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.

The term “sober living house” typically refers to facilities for non-offenders who voluntarily seek help. Most houses require individuals to take part in some kind of addiction treatment program.

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Although it felt like I was finally being released, the fact is that my next stop was a halfway house. I had heard it said that the halfway houses were worse than prison and, in fact, I observed on several occasions where an inmate refused to go to a halfway house, opting instead to stay in prison. After spending several months in one of Philadelphia’s glorious halfway houses, I can somewhat understand the sentiment. It was the most inefficiently run, wasteful, and completely ridiculous institution anyone could possibly imagine. The Sprout Health Group editorial team is passionate about addiction treatment, recovery and mental health issues. A halfway house has many advantages, particularly for individuals who may not have a strong personal support system at home.

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 majority of programs in the United States make a distinction between a halfway house and a sober/recovery house. The primary focus of halfway houses is to help reformed convicts gain self-sufficiency and to treat those with mental disorders. Many halfway houses offer drug or alcohol addiction treatment, and Sober living houses it is also common for those who have already received addiction treatment to be accepted into a halfway house. Halfway house residents must also comply with random drug testing, as well as maintaining a job, and doing chores at the shared home. Aftercare planning is one of the most important components of a person’s inpatient stay. It involves making plans for where a person will attend outpatient treatment and where they will live after being discharged from inpatient treatment.


The largest CEC halfway house in Colorado was similarly subject to criticism when reporters found evidence of rampant drug use and gang violence, indicating the failure of the facility to provide a supportive reentry community. Subsequent audits identified a number of major staffing issues, including high turnover rates and misconduct. This pattern of inadequate staffing extends to CEC halfway houses in California, where a former facility director cited inadequate training and earnings barely above minimum wage. The clinical director of the California facility, responsible for resident health, did not possess a medical degree, or even a college degree.

Half & Half House

The May 24, 2013, memorandum is very specific about how federal halfway house placements should be handled. Generally speaking, though, the memorandum instructs BOP staff to conduct individualized federal halfway house placement decisions. The memo treats prisoners with longer sentences andfewer community ties as better candidates for longer federal halfway house placements. By contrast, “low risk” prisoners with a job and home to go should be sent to home confinement in lieu of federal halfway house placement, according to the memo. Finally, halfway houses typically have rules regarding residents’ participation in treatment programs, while sober living homes focus more on developing healthy habits after completing recovery.

  • Finally, a lifelong friend got me a job offer as a truck driver for car parts.
  • Although they are sometimes called “federal halfway houses”, RRCs are rarely run by the federal government.
  • If you have a friend or loved one either in prison or in jeopardy of going to federal prison, there is probably no one nationwide more knowledgeable, more experienced, than Brandon Sample and Associates.
  • Improper management and inadequate oversight of halfway houses also enables inequities in the reentry process.
  • He was already approved for home confinement if they are really looking to cut budgets why not let him come home?

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, halfhouse approved recreation, program requirements, or emergencies. A team of staff at the RRC determines whether an individual is “appropriate“4 to move to the second, less restrictive component of RRC residency. Even in this second “pre-release” stage, individuals must make a detailed itinerary every day, subject to RRC staff approval.

In general, sober living homes do improve abstinence rates for their residents. One 2010 study looked at residents emerging from two facilities called ORS and CSLT. Halfway houses often require residents to follow curfews, maintain the facility through chores, and attend house meetings. Unlike RRCs, residents at a sober living house can leave at any time (although they may still be responsible for paying their last month’s rent). Although some halfway houses serve people experiencing psychiatric issues or homelessness, most focus on recovery from substance abuse issues.

The case is similar for other organizations that operate halfway houses. Unfortunately, the BOP has a lot of discretion over such matters. While many individuals are eligible for home confinement, they must first pass through a halfway house before home confinement can begin. There is a program called “federal location monitoring” that allows for federal prisoners to be sent straight home. The U.S. Probation Office would supervise their home confinement under such circumstances. I encourage you to reach out to your member of Congress and two U.S. That is likely your best shot at getting him sooner than May 2018.

Posted by: Conor Sheehy

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