Last July, legislative hearings were held to gain insight into why halfway house programs are failing. The hearings uncovered a grossly neglected, ungoverned service in need of comprehensive reform and regulation. A recurring theme of the hearings: Employees were ineffective and lacked proper training.
Any person with the responsibility to transition former inmates back into society must have the requisite training. It’s common sense. I will be proposing legislation requiring employees to have comprehensive training in maintaining a safe and secure environment, preventing violence, and curbing inmate escapes. I also sponsored a bill requiring the state auditor to review halfway house contracts, which was conditionally vetoed by the governor.
Whether the employee provides treatment, education, job training, or medical services, these individuals are the gateway back into society for the program’s inmates. Mandatory training would prepare them for the job and take an important step toward fixing a troubled system.