Do federal prisoners go to halfway houses before their sentences are up?

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Federal law requires that, “to the extent practicable,” the Bureau of Prisons ensure that a prisoner nearing release spends part of the final months of his or her prison term “under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for reentry . . . into the community.” (18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1).)

The Bureau of Prisons contracts with local community correctional facilities, more commonly known as group homes or halfway houses, to provide pre-release services for this period of time. While living in a halfway house, the prisoner will usually have access to job counseling and placement, financial management education, and other programs designed to allow adjustment to life outside of prison.

Prisoners in this kind of situation have to comply with strict rules, like meeting a curfew each night; they remain under prison authority until final release.

Federal prison officials also have the option of putting a prisoner on house arrest for ten percent of the prison term or six months, whichever amounts to less time. (18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(2).)

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