9.9. Community Residential Facilities

David Carter

Moving up in the continuum of correctional sanctions, CCCs would be considered the last stop before a lengthy jail or prison sentence, as they can have the highest level of containment. These are often called CCCs (Community Correctional Centers), TCs (Transition Centers), or CBCFs (Community-Based Correctional Facilities), and other names. From this point, these variations will all be considered as CBCFs, as there is a blending of the names to the variety of missions that are within these facilities. However, even two community residential facilities with the same name can be different, as the functions of CBCFs can be multifaceted. CBCFs can function similarly to a halfway house, it can provide a stop for individuals just checking in for the day before they go off to their jobs, they can be used for outpatient services, even residential services where there is a need for public control/safety.

The overall benefit of CBCFs is their ability to have an increased focus in rehabilitation, at a lower cost than a State institution. This is where their greatest effect can materialize if there is adherence to the principles of effective intervention. As we touched on in the first section on punishment, the principles of effective intervention have been demonstrated to have the best impacts on reductions in recidivism. Collectively, we call these the PEI. These include concepts like proper identification of criminogenic risks and needs of offenders, using evidence-based programs that address these items, matching and sorting clients appropriately, and responsivity in terms of programs and services. For a detailed account of how the PEI integrates into community corrections, see a very detailed report by the National Institute of Corrections, under the U.S. Department of Justice: https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/019342.pdf .

CBCF Success

What should come as no surprise, as is the theme with correctional practices in the community, CBCFs have mixed results. This is largely dependent on the composition of the facility, the individuals within the facility, and the programs offered. When individuals are lumped together, in non-directive programs that do not adhere to the PEI, the outcomes of CBCFs are not favorable over the jail, prison, or probation. However, when CBCFs separate offenders based on risk, putting more programming with the higher risk clients, and little programming on the low-level clients, the outcomes are substantially better. For example, in a study on CBCFs, Lowenkamp and Latessa (2004) found that when the offenders were separated by their risk, targeting higher-risk individuals, much larger reductions in recidivism can be achieved. [1]

Unfortunately, many CBCFs do not adhere to these principles, and thus, their effectiveness is not as positive. As stated, this is the case for many of these agencies within community corrections. When programs do not follow the principles of effective intervention, they do not fare as well. For a recent report on the status of Community-Based Correctional Facilities, see a question and answer session with the PEW Foundation and Dr. Joan Petersillia: https://www.pewtrusts.org/-/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/sentencing_and_corrections/qacommunitycorrectionspdf.pdf


  1. Lowenkamp, C.T., & Latessa, E.J. (2004). Residential community corrections and the risk principle: Lessons learned in Ohio. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Research Compendium, 2: 245-254.

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