Halfway houses are places that allow individuals with mental health illnesses or criminal records to rehabilitate and begin to reintegrate back into the community. They are quite literally a 'halfway house' between prison or jail and community living. They are used after jail time and the environment of a halfway house is structured as stringent as jail but at the same time, the halfway house operates in such a way that allows the individual to take control of their freedom and get their feet underneath them to adjust back into their lives.
How do they work?
A halfway house operates as a way to transition an individual from prison life to life in the community. It usually takes place after an individual’s sentence. When an individual arrives at a halfway house, there are rules that they must follow. The rules can include curfews, contributing to house life (chores, etc.), attending treatment programs for substance abuse if applicable, etc.
Are they worth it?
When an individual is released from jail, they are moving from a highly structured way of life to living in the community – an unstructured environment. This shift of environment can potentiate relapses in substance abuse, relationships with negative support groups, homelessness, and so on. A halfway house can provide a structured environment while also providing freedom for the individual. This type of support not only allows an individual to become acclimated back into the community (allowing them to set Medicare back up, set housing up, and even a job if applicable), it allows them to feel more in control of their environment, and receive mental health care.