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Probation and Parole: Supervision - Community Residential Centers

crcs offenders facilities correctional

Formerly known as "halfway houses," community residential centers (CRCs) are a valuable adjunct to community control and treatment services. Originally designed as residences for homeless men, they are now seen as a key nucleus of community-based correctional networks of residential centers, drug-free and alcohol-free living space, pre-release guidance centers, and private sector involvement with offenders who have multiple programs and who are in need of intensive services. They also serve as residence facilities for a number of different classes of offenders, most of whom are high-need individuals and pose medium to high risk to reoffend. CRCs are generally intended as an alternative to confinement for persons not suited for probation or for those who need a period of readjustment to the community after imprisonment. Some CRCs specialize by client or treatment modality: women only, abused women, drug-dependent, alcohol abusers, mentally ill, court diagnostic program, developmentally disabled, and so on.

As the foregoing discussion illustrates, it is not possible to describe the average residential facility. Diversity in population, program, size, and structure is the rule. It is, unfortunately, also not possible to know for certain how many such facilities are in operation today, or the number of offenders served by them.

Despite the long tradition of residential community correctional programs, the research literature is both sparse and inconclusive. Most research indicates that offenders in CRCs display greater needs than do regular probation or parole groups. Many of these needs, such as psychiatric and drug/alcohol counseling, are related both to positive adjustment and to new criminal convictions. Offenders in residential facilities are also more likely to receive a variety of treatment and counseling services. It can also be argued that CRCs are more humane that prisons and can serve to lessen the deprivations of incarceration. It appears that residential community correctional facilities will continue to grow and develop new programs. In large part this will be a response to the crowding of local and state correctional institutions.

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