Effectiveness of Halfway Houses vs. Electronic Monitoring
Halfway houses and electronic monitoring are two methods used by probation or parole officers to allow offenders to enter back in to the community in different ways. Each option for officers offers a different way of supervision which allows for offenders to enter back into the community while still being monitored. In this paper I am going to explain how both halfway houses and electronic monitoring work and how they each are effective. Also I am going to discuss which one if any is better than the other. Some topics will include cost effectiveness and reducing recidivism. To conclude I have an officers input on which one he believes to be better and a summary of both methods using studies on the topics. Halfway Houses
“Halfway houses are another way to ease crowding prisons while providing close community supervision during their transition from institutionalization to freedom” (Klein-Saffran). These are also known as Residential Reentry Centers. They serve as a home to offenders who are released from prison until they are ruled safe enough to live on their own again. Halfway houses are all different and have different rules depending on what offenders are there and where the halfway house is located. Also depending on whether they provide treatment to offenders and have 24 hour supervision.
A halfway house in Georgia has certain criteria that an offender has to meet in order to be let in. This criterion includes: 1.
Be one who would otherwise be incarcerated
Be a nonviolent property offender
Not be regarded as a habitual criminal
Be capable of maintaining employment
These guidelines are usually present in most houses. Most criminals who commit crimes such as murder or rape are not allowed to be put in halfway houses due to their threat to society. Also the offender must be able to hold a job because they have to pay to be stay in the house, if they are unable to hold a job then they would not be eligible to stay due to costs. This is one set of guidelines that are similar in a number of halfway houses across to US but there are also other programs offered.
The Comprehensive Sanctions Center (CSC) is another type of halfway house program which incorporates several rehabilitative programs and varying levels of supervision. Depending on the offender’s crime committed, they are ruled into different levels of risk. Higher risk offenders obviously are treated differently than lower risk. This system has 5 different levels of restriction which I will describe briefly. -
Level 1 – offenders are denies access to community except in emergency situations. Usually for supervision violators and substance abusers. Usually not to exceed 30 days -
Level 2 – offenders are allowed access to community for employment and program participation -
Level 3 – except for work and program participation, access to community is limited to 4 hours a week -
Level 4 – offenders are allowed access to the community ad discretion of the CSC -
Level 5 – offenders are on home confinement – divided into home confinement with electronic monitoring or without. (Beck)
In this type of halfway house, there are drug treatments that are required for drug offenders and there also are life skill classes offered such as job readiness and financial management. This house is different from a typical house due to the fact that they offer 24 hour confinement for offenders and they have no source of income. The availability of close supervision and education along with substance abuser programs provides more help to the offenders who are classified at level one. This is a good alternative to incarceration but still is costly.
The overall goal of these Residential Reentry Centers (RRC) or halfway houses is to provide structured environment to help inmates re-establish their ties to the community while supervising the offender’s activities during the...
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