Social rehabilitation of persons serving prison sentence in a halfway house from professional perspective
Keywords:half-way house, persons serving a prison sentence, social rehabilitation, social work
In Lithuania, it has been possible for some time to serve a part of the prison sentence in a halfway house, so some inmates can gradually prepare for their re-entry and solve their social problems while being supervised by the professionals. In order to evaluate the benefits of the halfway house concept and to foresee possible directions for the improvement, it is necessary to analyze halfway house practices from the professionals’ perspective. The purpose of this study is to reveal the process of social rehabilitation of inmates in the halfway houses from the perspective of specialists working in them. Two methods were chosen to achieve the goal: 1) analysis of scientific sources and legal acts; 2) semi-structured interview method. Five halfway house workers participated in the study. For the sake of openness in sharing experiences, information about research participants is not made public, as confidentiality is guaranteed to all. Document analysis revealed that social rehabilitation measures are focused on preventive activities, which include strengthening social ties, work and positive employment, purposeful free time and education, as well as on interventional assistance, which consists of behavior correction programs. It is important to clearly define and distinguish positive employment from interventional measures – behavior correction programs. During the analysis of research data, factors that help inmates prepare for their return to society from the halfway houses were identified: 1) internal resources are associated with the motivation of inmates and employees; 2) communication that is focused on social relations and relationship between employees and inmates; 3) empowering inmates, which reveals the importance of employment and financial well-being; and 4) living conditions in the halfway houses and the rights of inmates. Aspects revealed during the research show that employees emphasize the lack of suitable premises and work tools, the lack of human resources. The lack of specialists in different fields and clear definition of work functions prevents the application of innovative and science-based work methods. Also, the data analysis revealed that there is a shortage of professional, results-oriented employees, as well as a lack of professional training.