An Exploratory Study of a Female Halfway House/Work Release Center
Pollard, Norman J.
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The problem. The intent of this exploratory study was to understand and document the feelings, attitudes and perceptions of the residents at the Fort Des Moines Women's Residential Correctional Facility. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the gathered data and identify the variables which influence halfway house/work release effectiveness and success. Procedure. The data were collected by using Naturalistic Research techniques of participant observation. Additional data were obtained by administering an adapted version of the Battelle questionnaire and the Correctional Institutions Environmental Scale (CIES), as well as using the residents' official records to form a demographic description of the residents. Nineteen adult female residents of the facility agreed to be participants. Eight staff members agreed to answer the CIES. The results were integrated throughout the paper to form a descriptive consensus of the facility. Findings. The results indicated that most of the residents expressed valid and open feelings about the program; the residents and staff perceived the program as being System Maintenance in orientation; there was a congruency between the two groups and their scores. Conclusions. The women residents of this program were consistent and congruent in their feelings, attitudes and treatment they were receiving. The research also indicated the facility was consistent with the literature's prescribed criteria and recommendations for a successful treatment program. There is no indication that there should be separate criteria for a women's facility in the measurement of effectiveness and success. The ideals of treatment cut across the boundaries of gender. Recommendations. Similar research should be conducted at a facility with a larger population and over a longer period of time. Such studies would create a data base in which further research may derive. A comparison study should be conducted in the Fort Des Moines facility to determine the impact of the computer-assisted program (Fairbreak) on the perceptions of the residents.