Following many months and often even many years behind prison barriers, an inmate's next step in their correctional plan is to be granted day parole by the National Parole Board to a halfway housein an appropriate community.
These halfway houses are located in most of our larger city centres across the country. (There are two different types of halfway houses. Some are managed by Corrections Canada and others by private organizations, such as the Salvation Army.)
No longer with the accustomed previous physical barriers, an inmate in a halfway house must now abide by new regulations, and time schedules. As they progress through this gradual reintegration into society, the actual physical time spent at the halfway house lessens and more time is granted outside in the community in places of employment and with family contact. While they are away from this new facility they still need to report their whereabouts and their activity. This begins stringently where they report at regular intervals every few hours but then lessens as they are allowed more time away with less reporting back to the officers on duty.
Some of the goals of a halfway house is to reestablish family contact if this is a possibility, secure employment, and to continue necessary correctional programming on the street that successfully allows them to display a pro-social attitude along with evidence of law-abiding choices.
Personal life skills of grocery shopping, food preparation, clothes shopping, and money management are all skills they need to learn or begin to implement again after several years.
General restrictions during time at a halfway house would include no association with other inmates...which makes it very interesting/challenging when you are actually housed in the same facility with such a person! There may also be restrictions on certain food establishments, shopping malls, schools, playgrounds, or beaches, depending on the nature of their offence. They must report financial information, employment status, and any relationships they have.
Moving forward in their correctional plan to a halfway house is a whole new learning curve. It is a mark of progress but not necessarily an easy or successful venture. Their parole can be revoked simply by a subjective decision from their parole officer accusing them of a “deteriorating attitude”.
One of the keys to success for an inmate's stay in a halfway house is to build a healthy, open and trusting relationship with their newly assigned parole officer.
Over the last five months, 8 guys we have had close contact with have moved on to a halfway house environment. At this point they are remaining successful in this next stage of their correctional plan. All of these men have professed salvation.
Pray for an ability for each of them to adapt to this new environment, to be able to find suitable employment, and to continue to choose patience and submission to authority whether it is logical or fair.
Pray they will be able to continue to enjoy Christian fellowship, to be able to find churches that will love them and receive them, and that as they return to their families that they would have the ability to communicate the gospel not only by what they say but also by consistent evidence of a changed life.
Pray for Ben, Liam, Sam, Silas, Dennis, Peter, Curtis and Simon.* May God help them to continue to run the race set before them, knowing that He never will leave them or forsake them. *names have been changed
Thank you for your prayers for us as we seek to share the gospel inside prison walls and as we encourage inmate believers in their walk of faith. Thank you for your financial support that enables us to do this in a full time way. We are grateful for each of you and ask that God would cause your lives to be rich and full of His blessing.
We would love to hear from you as well!
Robert and Susan