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  • Writer's pictureAlex Glass

Navigating Halfway House

Hi everyone, I hope you're doing well and if you're reading this that might mean that your loved one is about to go to the halfway house, which is fantastic. Even though the halfway house might be a pain in the "you know what," it's better than being behind that fence. It's one step closer to being back at home with your loved one and you know when they get there that it's really close to being over, at least as far as the BOP is concerned. You have every right to be excited and feel good and this article is intended to help you stay excited and feeling good without letting the HWH stuff get to you...because it will if you let it.

In the midst of all of the excitement, I think its important that you keep some things in mind. These things aren't meant to dampen your enthusiasm, but rather to help you maintain those good feelings and know what to expect a little bit so that you're not caught off guard. The first and BIGGEST of them to keep in mind is that your loved one is so much better off in a halfway house than behind a fence, hundreds of miles away. They'll have access to the internet, good food and so much more.The people I encountered there had left the prison mentality behind and so everyone got along and tried to help each other. It was a much more positive environment. So no matter what happens to make you mad while your loved one is there, don't forget that. There are going to be things that make you mad too, I promise. They are another level of the BOP bureaucracy and they operate as such. They often have stupid, inconsequential rules that are there just so if they want to write you up, they can. I don't really think they did this by design, but it has become (if you look at it the right way) a test for how your loved one is going to do in the real world. So just know in advance that you're going to deal with a fair amount of stupidity and don't let it throw you. What I'm going to tell you now is based on MY experience at the halfway house I went to. I would imagine they're mostly the same, but I can't swear to what it will be like at yours. With Covid-19 here we were locked down completely. In two months, I left once and that was to get tested. Visitation was suspended indefinitely and very few were going to work. Those who were working had been there for awhile and had established, verified jobs before the lock down happened. Cell Phones - We were allowed to have cell phones so long as they didn't have a camera or web access. I know this is ridiculous but that's what they say. It took me a day or two to figure out that this wasn't one of the rules that was really enforced. Pretty much everyone had smart phones. I'm not telling you to go get a smart phone, only that where I was, it wasn't enforced very sternly. I will say that I had mine taken until I left the halfway house because "the wrong person" saw me with it. So it's one of those kind of things. Your loved one probably isn't going to get in trouble for it, but it may get taken. I wouldn't recommend sending them there with a new iPhone for example. Visits - The way we were set up, we weren't allowed to have visitors, but if you go to drop off some hygiene items or clothes or food, we were usually allowed to hang out in the parking lot for a little while, until the staff came out and barked at us to wrap it up. Again, this is my experience with the one I was at. My parents came once or twice a week and we always got to hang out for a little bit (40 minutes or so). Food, Clothes and Hygiene - We were allowed to have all of this brought to us at the HWH I was at. We weren't supposed to have food brought to us, but I never saw anyone get turned away for bringing in food. Clothes and hygiene you can bring to your LO. Phones and Home Confinement - There is a process that have to follow. Your LO will be assigned a Case Manager when they get there and this is the person who makes the determination about whether your LO is cleared for home confinement. In most of these situations the case manager wants to get them out to HC, but has guidelines they have to follow.

You must have a land line. Yes the old phones that used to hang on the wall. This is one of those retarded policies that serves no real purpose and hasn't been updated simply because nobody wants to take the time to write a new policy. There are several ways this can go and your LO's Case Manager will make the call. It has to be a land line that can't be relocated. It can't have any features because they're afraid your LO will have the number forwarded and they can run around and do what they like.

They'll require documentation by way of a bill or work order showing that its a basic phone line with no features. Before you get too many questions going in your head, understand that there are no definite answers and you're just going to have see what you LO's case manager has to say. I have seen people go with VoIP phone lines and bundle systems. It's going to take a few days or a week to get it set up. This is one of those things with not letting their stupidity screw up your celebratory feelings about your LO coming home. Expect to spend some time working on this. There aren't many companies who don't do land lines anymore so it's a challenge. This desperately needs to be updated.

During the Covid-19 lock down, they're probably not going to be able to work. It's frustrating, I know but instead of working, your LO can use the time in there to do research on jobs, resumes and other stuff on the computer. We had two internet connected computers where I was and I got a lot of info. I sent out some resumes to see what the climate was like for felons and found a couple of people willing to hire once I was able to work. Encourage them to use this time to reflect and think about a direction for themselves now that they have current information to make such decisions. It's hard to make these decisions inside because you don't have current information. They can use the time in the HWH to read and figure things out which can actually turn out to be a huge blessing. That's the big takeaway from this whole article is that no matter what happens at the HWH and how much they might make you mad, your LO is MUCH better off there and, with some limitations, is able to start putting their lives back together. For yourself and your LO, prepare yourself for things not to come together as fast as you may like and embrace the fact that they're having time, with resources, to figure things out. I hope you enjoyed this article. I'll be doing many more in the future and if you have any questions feel free to email me here at It's my passion to help people going through this and I'll do what I can to help you.

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