Describe a juvenile halfway house, and the effectiveness

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A halfway house is also known as a Residential Reentry Center. The purpose of these facilities is to re-integrate former offenders into society after having been in jail. It intends to continue offering support services to former inmates. Remember that jail is not supposed to break the individual, but to rehabilitate him.

Ideally, if the detention facility did its job properly, then the inmate must have already undergone some kind of change. The continuum of services for the former inmate, as he or she comes back to regular life, is meant to strengthen what incarceration and the services provided within the correctional facility instilled. This is, of course, an ideal but not necessarily a typical scenario.

The supervision of the proper procedures within a halfway house is conducted by personnel appointed by the U.S. Probation or the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA).

A halfway house provides an ideal scenario of an orderly and respectful home where rules are followed (beds must be made, there are limitations on activities such as smoking, for example) and where the counseling and work skills continue to be learned.

It basically is a regular house. It has a kitchen and an eating area, multiple beds, a meeting area, a meditation area (in some cases, for Chaplain or church volunteer ministries), and a schedule that must be followed such as meals, sleeping, and attending group meetings.

Two or three days out of the week the former inmate can go to his own home and apply the skills. The question is: to what extent is the "real life home" functional enough not to destroy what the halfway house is trying to teach the individual?

This being said, the effectiveness of the halfway home is that juveniles get, perhaps for the first time in their lives, a general idea of what a normal home should be like: one where there are rules to be followed, limits to obey, and support to be had. These benefits should be continued in an optimal scenario, but unfortunately the former juvenile inmates often come from dysfunctional homes. In fact, many juveniles unconsciously repeat a crime in order to get the discipline and support that they so desperately need. In the end, the justice system ends up raising many juveniles.