More offenders walking away from halfway houses

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DAVENPORT, Iowa - In 19 halfway houses across Iowa, about 35 people per year and per home escape or do not come back.

The number has risen since last year and has local Department of Correction agencies searching for a long term solution.

“We know that the state's prison system is running at 114% capacity,” says Waylyn McCulloh, 7th District Director for the Department of Corrections.

McCulloh says there is a need for halfway homes because they help offenders transition back into communities.

Halfway houses in Iowa are seeing a large number of offenders leaving without permission.

“In my calculation for the state of Iowa, it shows about an average of 35 people per facility,” says McCulloh.

It’s a number officials want to see drop.

“It’s exceedingly frustrating especially when you see people who are doing well 15:05>

Officials say stopping the cycle isn't easy.

“We see the phenomenon where people actually jeopardize and sabotage their success.”

About one third of offenders who are assigned to Iowa's halfway houses go back to prison. That's why the Department of Corrections is working on developing on a long term solution. Right now, it’s a work in progress.

“What we looked at is broad based risk assessment tools so that we can assess based on science and the probability that someone would violate,” explains McCulloh.

So far this year, about 15 people inside this facility have walked away.  The Department of Corrections says 90% of people are caught and taken back to jail.

The department also says majority of people in prison will return to communities.  They believe halfway homes provide a safer and easier transition.

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