Halfway houses are not prisons, nor are they civil commitment centers. They are usually just housing set up by organizations to help ex-felons integrate back into society, help with drugs, etc. They are usually just the average hotel / motel where ex-felons stay and live together / near each other, to help each other out, and they attend counselling and support groups. They make it sound like this is the average civil commitment center, which we doubt it is.
By Randy Wallace
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In 2003, we uncovered a disturbing sight inside the Reid Center, a halfway house for paroled killers, rapists and child molesters.
A FOX 26 employee with a hidden camera went inside and captured what appeared to be crack smoking and open drug dealing inside the tax-funded halfway house, now called the Southeast Texas Transitional Center.
At the time, the company operating Reid vowed to make big changes. Yet, within just a few months, we once again had our hidden camera back inside.
"Anytime somebody absconds, we're not providing the services that I think we should, that we're required to provide," Parole Director Stuart Jenkins said.
In 2011, FOX 26 Investigates decided to find out just how many dangerous criminals violated their parole by fleeing the halfway house. According to state prison records in 2008, 2009 and 2010, 757 parolees ran off from the halfway house.
That number includes child molesters, rapists and killers. Some have yet to be found. [name withheld] is the most recent dangerous sex offender to take off a tracking device, jump the fence and flee.
"Kind of makes you uneasy," said Carl Durrenberger who lives just a half a mile away from the halfway house. "Do they really have the security they should have? Are they watching those people like they should be watching them?"
- Again, this is not a prison, it's usually just a hotel / motel, and they won't have guards.
[name withheld] is so dangerous; the state placed him under civil commitment, meaning his whereabouts are under constant monitoring.
- From what we've read about civil commitment, it's usually behind razor wire (a prison) and the people cannot escape. A halfway house is NOT civil commitment! In civil commitment you see therapists and get help on a daily basis, which this sounds nothing like civil commitment.
"This is the second one in recent months," Texas Senator John Whitmire said.
In the last nine months, three sex offenders civilly committed to the halfway house ran off.
- Clearly this reporter or whomever is saying all this, doesn't know the difference between a halfway house and a civil commitment center.
Whitmire has scheduled a public hearing for February.
"To publicly ask TDCJ officials, the parole officials that send people there, are they confident that this organization, this corporation is doing everything they should," Whitmire said. "I don't want any shortcuts."
Geo Group Inc., which is paid tax money to operate the halfway house, did not respond to our numerous requests for comment.