Journal Entry: Scott Donald Carper-12/06/2023

Journal Entry

Halfway house intake
(My 9 thoughts to consider)

During a halfway house intake, staff is going to try and figure out if you are better prepared to re-enter society. They want to see/hear what you learned & see if you understand your situation/ensuring a successful transition.

Now for those of you that I have never heard of a RELEASE PLAN. It’s an important document that I expect will become a huge part of how you document your incarceration. It’s basically your resume pre/during/post prison (what you have accomplished).

When I got to intake at the halfway house I busted out my notebook (which is everything I have done in prison). It includes all my newsletters, classes, grades, certificates… & most importantly my RELEASE PLAN.

Now the intake guy looked overwhelmed “like what is this?” I don’t think he needed to see it….but staff is staff & they all talk so I know it made an impression because I my was mentioned later by my case manager.

All the release plan does is show you are ready to transition….it shows you know the game. I used to always begin my conversations with staff by saying “I’m different, you’re not going to have any problems with me.” I soon realized, even as inept as the BOP staff Is they usually know if you got your act together within 5 seconds. They don’t need to hear how great we think we are….they just need simple/succinct answers to get the job they don’t want to do, DONE.

The people you want to impress are case managers/councilors/med staff (who have less presence but hold massive sway) & the bosses (who surprisingly were very visible at the HH as opposed to a camp).

Be friendly…. say Hi ….sir, ma’am….all that stuff. Some of the best advice I received at the Leavenworth A & O meeting (the one we had 8 months into my sentence) ….. “sir, officer,” can go along way.

So here are some of the questions/Situations I remember going through:

1. Background Information: Questions about your personal history, including family background, previous addresses, employment history, and educational background.

2. Legal and Court-Related Inquiries: Queries about your legal history, pending court cases, probation or parole status, and any pending legal obligations.

3. Substance Use and Treatment: Questions about your history of substance use, past treatments or rehabilitation, and any ongoing support or counseling.

4. Health and Medication: Inquiries regarding your current health status, any medical conditions, prescribed medications, and specific health needs.

5. Goals and Expectations: Discussions about your goals, expectations, and plans during your stay at the halfway house. This might include your aspirations for later in life.

Wow I’m not sure what direction you go with this. I would argue for employment at your company or at least consider fighting for a medical waiver until they send you home. I would tell them until you have all the necessary medical support you can’t even think about it.

Remember you can only work within something like 60 miles of the HH.

You are either going to work, volunteer, or be on a medical waiver.

6. Support System: Questions about your support system, including family, friends, or any organizations or groups you are affiliated with that might assist during your transition.

7. Behavior and Attitude: Inquiries about your readiness and willingness to comply with halfway house rules, follow program guidelines, and contribute positively to the community within the facility.

8. Understanding of Halfway House Procedures: Verification of your understanding of halfway house rules, schedules, expectations, and available resources.

But ask him for the Hacks/cheat sheet. Where can go? how early can you be up and around? What case managers are good (I learned a valuable lesson with this question ….like everywhere there are good/bad case managers….I asked one person about mine who gave me a vague answer….if I would have literally asked one more person I would have learned my guy was known to be the slowest CM with paperwork….and he was). I can’t imagine with how big your HH is how many case managers you will have ….. but that intake guy can MAYBE swing you to a good one….so I would treat him like high level staff.

You will notice a definite hierarchy with staff at the HH. The case managers hold all the power in the day so the lower staff just does day to day maintenance of the inmates (so rt off the bat I noticed inmates treating some staff with more respect then other staff…..BIG MISTAKE….the case managers go home at 5/6 and the other staff runs the roost….I saw serious payback for perceived slights)

Moral of the story….and something that I know you don’t have a problem with ….be nice to everyone….the most aloof, awkward guy at my HH actually had the most power. If he didn’t like you….you got bad chores….bad rooms/roommates….tested at bad times …. Denial of mail/packages….there is all sorts of ways they can mess with you.

9.Planning Ahead: Think about your goals and plans for your time in the halfway house. Consider what steps you’ll take to reintegrate into society, acquire employment, seek further education, or other personal development objectives.

Ahh you get it… be ready for the standard “how are you going to be productive.?” Here & later?

That’s all I got!


Some of the staff questions aim to gather information necessary for the staff to provide appropriate support and tailor the program to your needs (SO SOME OF IT MAKES SENSE, although it’s for programs that either don’t exist or they say they do and don’t)

Being honest, and cooperative (I DIDNT SAY OPEN….LESS IS MORE) during this process should set you up.

Remember, each halfway house may have its own specific requirements, so my info is based on my experience (and the fact I’m brilliant & usually rt about most things).

You will be fine. Come up with some stock answers.

In my experience saying in some way shape or form that you made a mistake and prison helped you regain your footing …..IS THE SINGLE GREATEST THING TO TELL A BOP OFFICIAL. Admitting culpability is a game changer, and it helps you in so many ways credibility wise. In my case it’s true…I hope for most others it is also.

Prison/the BOP as an organization is beyond broken. Experiencing the loss of your freedom is truly life-altering. The issue lies in the myriad of punitive methods available (literally billions of ways to do it better), yet the BOP seems to monopolize every conceivable way of executing them poorly.