Post Date: October 12, 2017
**We’ll continue to update this page as we learn more about the halfway house closures and what is being done to remedy this re-entry crisis.**
Some federal prisoners and their families have reached out to us over the past couple of months to let us know how changes in halfway houses were affecting them. For example, we heard that at least one halfway house in Ohio had been closed, which meant that prisoners slated to go there for reentry services needed to stay in prison a few extra months, go to another halfway house far from home, or both.
We decided to look into this issue further. Last week, we emailed more than 30,000 federal prisoners and asked them about their halfway house experiences. The responses have been disturbing. We have learned that this problem is not confined to Ohio, but is occurring in many parts of the country. The disruptions for some prisoners have been abrupt. One prisoner wrote to us, “I was due to be released to a halfway house next week and was notified today that my date has been changed to March 2018. My family was prepared for me to come home, and they will be devastated to hear that my date was changed one week from me going home.”
We have reached out to officials in the Trump administration and Congress. So far, we have learned that more than a dozen halfway houses have been closed (or declined to renew their contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons) due to budget cuts. We are still awaiting answers from others about whether these closures are the beginning or the end of the downsizing process.
For years, we have been telling policymakers that they were wasting taxpayer money by keeping so many low-level offenders in prison. Some of these policymakers have responded that public safety is too important to be measured in dollars and cents. Now, these same policymakers are using budget concerns to jeopardize the successful reentry of prisoners back into society. This is plain stupid, and we are going to fight it.
For now, please know that we are aware of this problem and are working to fix it. If you and your family are being affected by halfway house closures, please know that you’re not alone. We will be back in touch as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, if you want to take action, please call your member of Congress and let him or her know how the Bureau of Prisons’ halfway house closures are affecting your family and your loved one’s reentry.
Kevin A. Ring
P.S. Did you catch our conversation on Twitter? We shared just a sample of the responses we received from federal prisoners. Check it out and help spread the word!