Ohio’s Halfway House Programs
Evaluations & Outcomes
|Lowenkamp and Latessa 2002-2007|
This study included data from 22 halfway house facilities in Ohio representing 37 distinct programs. The halfway houses varied in capacity (with an average of 54 beds), services offered, and populations served; 95% of the halfway houses, however, reported that they offered substance abuse treatment, and 81% and 62%, respectively, offered employment and educational services. Placement in these facilities, which were funded by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), occurred after release from Ohio state prison—either as a condition of parole or post-release control, as a sanction after a violation of parole or post-release control, or as part of transitional control.
Recommendations for Practice
- Lowenkamp and Latessa’s (2002-2007) studies of Ohio halfway houses found that the type of programming offered and the level of program integrity (that is, the fidelity of the program’s implementation to its design) are significant predictors of the effectiveness of the programs in reducing recidivism.
- Other characteristics related to program implementation–including education level of the program staff, staff training, and the evidence-based nature of the program’s design–were also found to be significantly related to positive outcomes for clients.
- Lowenkamp and Latessa also found that halfway houses demonstrate the largest treatment effects on residents when those residents are screened as medium- or high-risk of recidivating. Their findings suggest that low-risk residents may actually be adversely affected by halfway houses. This principle of matched risk and programming held for female halfway house residents as well.
- Finally, the same study found that geographic location, when combined with high-risk residents, has varying effects on the recidivism of the programs’ residents. The treatment effect is an eight percentage point reduction in recidivism in urban programs, a 15 percentage point reduction in metro (suburban) programs, and a 38 percentage point reduction in rural programs.
Suggestions for Future Research
- Although many studies of halfway houses have been conducted, few have employed strong methodological designs. More research is clearly needed to further examine the effectiveness of halfway houses in preventing recidivism and improving other outcomes, such as substance use and employment.
- Furthermore, additional research is needed on halfway houses designed for specific populations, such as women, the mentally ill, and substance abusers; all but one of the studies meeting methodological criteria identified in this review evaluated programs of a more general nature. Finally, evaluations of halfway houses in various geographic locations would increase the applicability of findings.