The use of halfway houses as a starting point for those who were once in prison is a great idea and can be beneficial to not only the individuals who are having to adjust to life outside of prison but also to the community around them. These homes help to stabilize the individual, help them to be able to adjust to life in society again and help them to become better parts of society. There are many who believe that halfway houses are not a good thing and would rather not have them but there are many reasons that these people are not looking at the whole picture and are not looking into the benefits that halfway houses can provide.
There are many reasons that the surrounding neighbors and communities could fear a halfway house. Some of these reasons are the stereotypes that are associated with these places. This means that there is the common thoughts and beliefs that those who are in the halfway houses are not truly ready to be reformed and therefore it can be thought that these individuals should remain in prison. This is a misconception as the halfway house provides the individual with stability and helps them to be able to transition into a life outside of prison.
The halfway house often provides the individual with a way to be able to find employment, get hooked up with needed medical and other health care services including rehabilitation and mental health, and a way to be able to live until they are able to stand on their own two feet (Welsh and Harris 2009). Without halfway houses these former criminals would be left on their own to find all of these resources and many times in the past the individuals had a hard time finding these things which has resulted in them committing more crimes. With halfway houses the return rate to prison is lower.
Another problem that many individuals have with halfway houses is that they do not understand how giving the individual a place to live is really what they deserve. However there are some new programs that are offered in some halfway houses where the perpetrators of crime are forced to pay restitutions to the victims of their crimes. These programs have been successful in the satisfaction for both the perpetrator and the victim. In a recent study on this issue, the results were found to be positive for all that were involved (Bonta, Boyle, Motiuk, and Sonichsen 1983).
Another common misconception is that the residents of the halfway house are not ready to be in the real world when they leave and that there is a high rate of repeat criminal offenses. This was looked at by a group of researchers and what was found was that those who had successful completions of the halfway house programs were less likely to have repeat criminal offenses where as those who were not successful in their treatment through halfway houses (Hartman, Friday and Minor 1994).
This is very important to note as there are many reasons that an individual would not have a successful completion but then when an individual did have a successful treatment that they should be allowed the benefits of reformation and believed to be reformed and hoping for a better life. Halfway houses can be very beneficial to both the former criminals that inhabit them and the local communities in which they are located. In many cases halfway houses provide a place for these former prisoners to live while they are working on getting back on their feet and becoming stable.
Halfway houses and their programs beneficial to the individual as they are not on the street or trying to make it on their own in a world where it is more difficult for them to find a place to rent, obtain employment or anything else. The benefit to the community is that these former criminals are off of the streets and in a place where treatment and supervision is mandatory while they are becoming more stable. Thus they are less likely to commit petty offenses like theft in order to eat or make money for needed items.