Community residential centers like half-way houses serve a couple of purposes. Reducing the number of people incarcerated is a primary goal of these facilities and loosely supervising the offender is a second. This is called an intermediate sanction because the people that live there have been convicted of some crime, usually non-violent crimes. A full sanction would consist of putting these people in prison. Usually people in these facilities must obtain employment and go to that job during the day and then return to the half-way house at night. Strict curfews are enforced and any deviation or infraction of the rules of the house by the offender can mean that this privilege is revoked and the person will be jailed.
The resident needs some supervision and direction but not as much or not as intense as the incarcerated convictee. Commonly, people convicted of minor drug crimes qualify for residence in these centers and they must submit to random urine drug test's to verify compliance with the terms of the sanction.