Residents of Ohio’s Alvis House Alum Creek center, most of whom are at the halfway house because of a drug conviction, get counseling, do household chores, work on their job skills, or stand by for random room searches. They leave for outside work and return at a set hour, signing a clipboard as they do, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “In some ways, this is more stressful than prison,” said Mark Fraker, caught last year during a cross-country drugs delivery. “You always got somebody up on you about doing the right thing.”
The people who run Alvis House think that Ohio’s budget problems, and the state’s overcrowded and costly prison system, will make lawmakers more willing to expand support for community-based correctional facilities, such as halfway houses and drug treatment centers. After years of tougher-sentencing laws, Gov. Ted Strickland’s proposed changes for the upcoming two-year budget would reduce the number of people sent to prison for low-level crimes, the most expensive rehabilitation option. Ohio could save about $11.5 million by increasing funding for prison and jail diversion programs and for community corrections facilities, an analysis from the state Office of Budget and Management says. The state corrections department has an annual budget of $1.8 billion.