Definition of a Halfway House

The Oxford Dictionary defines a halfway house as, “a center for helping former drug addicts, prisoners, psychiatric patients, or others to adjust to life in general society.” Merriam-Webster defines a halfway house as, “a residence for individuals after release from institutionalization (as for mental illness, drug addiction, or criminal activity) that is designed to facilitate their readjustment to private life.”

Wikipedia defines a halfway house as, “an institute for people with criminal backgrounds or abusive drug use tendencies to learn the necessary skills to reintegrate into society and better support and care for themselves.” When an individual who is in addiction recovery refers to a halfway house, he or she is referring to a transitional living environment that mandates and promotes sobriety while helping residents make the eventual transition back into fully independent living.

Defenition of Sober Living

Early recovery is a vulnerable time – in order to prevent relapse after completing inpatient treatment, it is a good idea for individuals to transfer directly into a sober living house. These houses are designed to promote a high level of accountability while providing a safe and supportive place for recovering addicts and alcoholics to continue on in their personal journeys of healing.

At Riverbend Residence, we offer four gender-specific halfway houses in Sparta, New Jersey that cater to men and women of all ages. Our definition of a halfway house is somewhat traditional – we believe that sober living is a crucial phase of every long-term recovery journey and that men and women should be provided with a safe place to live as they navigate early recovery.

Definition of a Halfway House

The History of Halfway Houses

Were halfway houses always defined the same way? No – in fact, the term “halfway house” was once used to define a shady living environment for recently-released convicts – often convicts with violent pasts. From the mid-18th century to the first half of the 19th century, it was widely believed that crimes were best punished using the “deterrence theory.” This theory allowed certain, non-violent criminals to reside outside of prisons and suggested that the crime should fit the punishment – and that jail was not always an appropriate punishment.

By the year 1845, facilities were popping up throughout the United States that served as resources for convicted felons, allowing them to live outside of the prison system with a higher level of personal freedom if they were considered “reformed,” promised to abide by a strict set of rules and guidelines. These halfway house residents were encouraged to pursue vocational opportunities, ultimately integrating themselves back into society.

In the 1930s, these residences were referred to as “halfway out of prison” programs. They focused more on rehabilitation, offering residents a range of resources geared towards helping them successfully reintegrate into society at large. In the 1950s, halfway houses began to offer shelter to criminals and to men and women who had recently completed a long-term, intensive program of alcohol and/or drug addiction treatment. The 1960s and 70s became known as the “golden era” of the halfway house movement. There was a major shift, and halfway houses were now primarily sober homes for recovering addicts and alcoholics.

Riverbend Residence – Gender-Specific Sober Living

Riverbend Residence offers four beautifully appointed halfway houses to men and women in Sparta, New Jersey, and all surrounding areas. We maintain a strictly enforced set of rules and guidelines, geared towards helping our residents maintain a high level of accountability while navigating early sobriety and slowly making the transition back to fully independent, sober living.

If you have recently completed a higher level of clinical care and you are looking to take the next appropriate step, sober living is likely an ideal choice. For more information on our New Jersey halfway houses or to take a tour of our facilities, give us a call today. We are currently offering virtual tours in light of the recent coronavirus epidemic – give us a call at (844) 505-3447 for more detailed information.