Frequently Asked Questions

What is a halfway house?

A halfway house is a community-based residential facility for offenders who have been allowed to serve part of their sentence under supervision in the community. Also known as community-based residential facilities, halfway houses are typically facilitated either by the Correctional Service of Canada or by voluntary agencies.

What is it like?

Federal offenders live in halfway houses while they look for jobs, work, go to school, or attend addiction or psychiatric treatment programs. Offenders are assigned tasks and are required to contribute to the maintenance of their living and sleeping areas in addition to the maintenance of the halfway house. All offenders are expected to follow house rules.

What are the risks?

Comprehensive risk assessments of offenders are conducted in order to determine the potential risk that an offender poses when placed in a community-based residential facility. Factors considered by the National Parole Board include the offender’s previous criminal history, behavior while incarcerated, and evidence of change. Psychological and psychiatric reports are considered, as well as the opinions of various specialists.

Structured program facilities have strict admission and discharge policies as well as counseling and assistance services. Special program and treatment facilities are available for offenders with specific psychiatric or addictions needs.

Halfway houses can refuse offenders for a variety of reasons. Offenders who do not obey the conditions of their release can be returned to prison if they are believed to present an undue risk to the public.

How much does it cost?

Halfway houses are less expensive than prisons. Studies have shown that the average cost of maintaining an offender in a halfway houses is approximately half the cost of maintaining offenders in federal penitentiaries. Most offenders return to the community before they have served their entire sentence of incarceration.

Will a halfway house make my neighborhood unsafe?

Halfway houses contribute to community safety. Studies have shown that offenders who experience gradual, supervised reintegration back into the community have the greatest success while on parole as well as after their sentences are completed. Recidivism rates are low among offenders who are gradually released back into the community.

Will the presence of a halfway house in my neighborhood affect the value of my house?

No significant changes in average housing prices have been determined in any of the six major studies conducted to determine the affect of halfway houses on real estate values in the neighborhoods where they are located. A study conducted in Ontario-based communities showed that average housing prices were equal to or higher than average housing prices before halfway houses were opened within the various study areas.