What Is The Success Rate of Halfway Houses?

A halfway house is a community correctional center or institution where drug addicts can stay by choice, recommendation, or legal justice system for adaption to life in the society. Halfway houses are an important part of the legal system through which ex-addicts can pass through to ensure that they can return to normal life with reduced chances of relapse.

In a way, halfway houses can be considered an extra gate to ensure the successful reintegration of these people into society. Halfway houses are also known as sober living houses in tune with the fact that they provide an environment free of the triggers that could lead to relapse in substance abuse.

Many studies have been conducted to find out if halfway houses are, in reality, more successful than traditional parole methods. The results have been quite varied from study to study and often even inconclusive. The reasons for that are many and include both internal and external causes.

However, in general, halfway houses’ success rates have been found to be greater in terms of the re-integration of released inmates into society than a direct parole release. This is because halfway houses prepare the inmates thoroughly to live a life where they would not need to resort to substance abuse to get what they want.

What Are The Indicators Success Rates of Halfway Houses?

The indicators of halfway house success rates can be divided into several categories. These are based on the short-term and long-term effects of how successful the halfway house program was. They are as follows:

  • Positive Termination – The addicts must meet the standards set by the halfway house to be considered a success. These include improvement in mental and emotional status, return to family life, ability to hold a steady job or participate in an educational program, ability to perform basic human tasks necessary to lead a healthy life, financial independence, and general integration into society.
  • Behavioural Index – A suitable measurement technique must be used to assess the general stable behavior of the drug addicts and scale it on an index that covers all aspects of improved and acceptable behavior.
  • Addiction Severity Index – It rates the ex-addicts based on seven aspects – medical status, employment status or financial support, drug use, alcohol use, legal status, family relationships, and social relationships as well as general psychological state.
  • Past Record of Substance Abuse – This helps to identify patterns or triggers that lead to relapse that the halfway house may have been unable to address or were not equipped to.
  • Frequency of Failure – This is perhaps the most telling factor in this list. This includes relapses, recidivism, abscission, violations, rearrests, etc. But what happens if you leave a halfway house mid-stay? These are considered partial successes and may also be considered failures.
  • Comparison of halfway house success rate with that of the traditional program – This is the best way to tell if a halfway house is actually yielding any positive result or not. There will always be the absolute success rate but unless it is positive compared to the traditional system, it is not actually successful at all.

Of course, these are not absolute measures of the halfway house success rates. Human behavior is hard to quantify and there is every chance that a released drug addict who was clean and leading a legal life for years may one day relapse or get addicted again. To really know if a halfway house was successful, you will have to trace the entire life of a recovered drug addict till their death.

Even then, it would be hard to pinpoint which part of their success in practicing the correct lifestyle can be attributed to the halfway house program and which to external factors.

A true measurement of the halfway house success rate would be to see if the overall rate of addiction in the society is declining due to the use of halfway houses in integrating ex-addicts with a history of substance abuse into the society.

What Are The Factors On Which Halfway House Success Rates Depend?

Halfway house success rates depend on a large number of factors. The truth is, it is impossible to include each and every possible factor in the list. But studies have been able to show that some factors definitely contribute to halfway house success rate. These include the following points:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family
  • Education
  • History of substance abuse
  • Social circle
  • Residential, social and vocational environment
  • Social background
  • Psychological and emotional state
  • Family and/or spousal support
  • Ongoing treatment and therapy
  • Stability in employment
  • Residential permanence
  • Presence of triggers in everyday life
  • Nature of the halfway house program they participated in
  • The stringency of the halfway house rules and adherence to them

These are but a few of the factors that determine the halfway house success rates. The list is in no way exhaustive, nor is it absolute. It depends greatly on the released drug addict, the halfway house as well as the kind of life that the person follows after the program. A recent report from 2019 shows how halfway house failures can result from both the negligence of staff as well as the reluctance of the participants.

What Is The Halfway House Success Rate?

We have already stated before that the results of studies to quantify the halfway house success rates may vary. This is because since the study conditions and parameters are widely different, the results are variable too.

However, we can cite a few cases that were standardized enough to produce solid results. For example, one study conducted in 2015 showed that among two groups of parolees, 60% of those who went through the halfway house program successfully completed their parole compared to 48% in the traditional facility parole system.

An older study showed an average halfway house success rate of 61%, while the highest rate was 93%. This proves that throughout the ages, halfway house success rates have always been high enough to warrant their existence and necessity in society.

It cannot be denied that as times change, the nature of addiction changes. As a result, halfway houses see the need to adapt their programs to the evolving psyche of drug addicts. Unless they are successful in creating new programs that can properly help the newest generation of addicts, the halfway house success rates will not stay up.

If the success rate declines, states will naturally stop building anymore and may even close the existing ones. This will not be conducive to overall social improvement as halfway houses are an extremely progressive method to correct criminal behavior coupled with drug and alcohol abuse.

Instead, halfway houses should be made a mandatory part of the process of the evolution of addicts. After completing their rehabilitation program, ex-convicts must be made to pass the halfway house program too to make them capable of leading an independent, sober, and self-sustaining life.

Successful rehabilitation has taken the front seat today in the eyes of the justice system. It has learned to see that drug abusers are a victim of circumstance and they too deserve a second chance at life instead of just punishment. The halfway house success rates speak for themselves when it comes to the justification of why this is necessary for today’s society.