What Is a Halfway House? - Definition, Rules & Statistics

Instructor: Janell Blanco

Janell has an MBA, a Master's in Education, and a BS in Public Safety Management.

This lesson will provide the definition of a halfway house. The lesson will also discuss the rules and statistics about halfway houses. There will be a quiz following the lesson.

Halfway House Defined

Halfway houses, also known as a residential reentry centers (RCCs), are transitional homes for inmates. They are defined as safe, supervised, and structured environments that provide assistance to inmates who will be released from incarceration soon.

Living in a halfway house allows them to become slowly integrated back into society while serving the remainder of their sentence. Halfway houses are not as secured as jails and prisons but allow for the inmate to gain skills and knowledge to obtain employment.

They also provide inmates with assistance, such as employment counseling and financial management, that are necessary for the inmate to live beyond prison or jail walls. The inmate can establish relationships in the community while on supervised release and in residence at the halfway house.

Halfway houses were started in 2004 with an initiative from President Bush. There was a $300 million initiative to start the program. There was a hope that the inmates in the program would be less likely to re-enter the prison system.

An inmate's unit manager, case manager, and counselor must make a referral to place the inmate in a halfway house 17-19 months prior to an inmate's release. The team then decides which halfway house will best suit the inmate, and they determine how long the inmate will stay at the halfway house. An inmate's stay at a halfway house cannot be longer than 12 months.

Halfway House Rules

There are several rules that the inmates must follow when they enter a halfway house. Each halfway house may change the rules or add rules as they see fit for the house or for individual inmates. Listed below are the rules recommended by the Federal Bureau of Prisons for both state and federal halfway houses.

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