A halfway house is a community based residential facility for offenders who, having been sentenced to a term of incarceration, are serving a portion of their sentence under supervision in the community.
Halfway houses provide twenty-four hour supervision and general counselling and assistance to offenders. Some halfway houses may also offer treatment or other programming. Typically, offenders live in halfway houses while they work, find a job, go to school or attend treatment or other programming.
Halfway houses may also be called Community Based Residential Facilities, Community Based Residential Centres, Community Residential Centres or Community Residential Facilities.
Halfway houses are on a continuum of correctional services that are provided to offenders during their term of incarceration. The halfway house experience is a form of gradual release into the community while the offender is still under a prison sentence. Halfway houses create an important bridge between institutional care and the community. They provide needed rehabilitative and residential services and they provide an opportunity for unique and innovative programming that is tailored to the needs of residents and the community.
Some agencies hoping to establish halfway houses meet resistance from community members and groups. People fear that the establishment of a halfway house in a neighbourhood will lead to increased crime or decreased property values. These concerns are real and should be carefully considered by agencies hoping to establish halfway houses.
Research has shown that halfway houses do not contribute to increased crime rates or to decreased property values. The vast majority of offenders who re-enter the community through a halfway house successfully complete their stays. Further, recidivism rates are low for offenders who have been gradually released into the community.