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High Costs, Poor Training, Recidivism Mar Colorado Halfway Houses 


Colorado’s halfway houses were intended to reduce recidivism, but insiders describe a system plagued by a lack of training and support, costs that can burden residents with debt, and overly harsh rules that have sent many back in prison, reports ProPublica. Of every 100 people in a halfway house, only two will be reincarcerated for a new crime, while 26 will fail and likely end up behind bars for technical violations and 14 for running away from a facility.

Colorado’s overall recidivism rate — defined by the Department of Corrections as returning to prison within three years — is 50 percent, one of the worst in the country. Former halfway house residents, staff members and experts attributed Colorado halfway houses’ high rate of failure to numerous and often pointless rules, which can be more punitive than those in prison; a scarcity of employment training; addiction treatment programs that are rudimentary or too brief; and financial costs imposed by the facilities that can sink residents into debt. Private companies operate 15 of the 26 state-funded facilities, all of which will receive $87.7 million in state funding this fiscal year, with little to no oversight on how that money is spent.

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