Halfway houses help rehabilitate DUI offenders

With the prevalence of DUI convictions in Anchorage, Alaska and five deaths this year related to drunk-driving accidents, the Anchorage Police Department has increased efforts to combat drunk driving.

Alaska has some of the most stringent minimum sentencing laws for DUI convictions in the country. It is one of just five states that require a minimum sentence of at least three days in jail for a first-time DUI conviction. With an average of 2,330 DUI arrests a year and strict mandatory minimums, the Anchorage Department of Corrections is increasingly diverting first-time offenders from the Anchorage Jail to the Cordova Center, one of three halfway houses in Anchorage operated by GEO Reentry.

At the Cordova Center, DUI offenders have the opportunity to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous as well as drug treatment programs. Like the other offenders housed at the Cordova Center, they can also participate in community service programs or in-house volunteer opportunities, such as working in the kitchen.

The largest halfway house in in Anchorage, the Cordova Center can house up to 262 residents. The center’s beds are reserved for “minimum custody” offenders, such as the first-time DUI offenders and others serving fairly short misdemeanor sentences. Residents also include offenders awaiting sentencing for misdemeanor crimes as well as offenders at the end of their felony prison sentence—the Cordova Center offers programs and training to help them get a work-release job and help them succeed in the community upon their release, reducing the likelihood of recidivism.

The Cordova Center, like other facilities operated by GEO Reentry, is outfitted with alarms on the windows, surveillance cameras and other security features. Security staff is present 24 hours a day to ensure compliance with the center’s rules.

GEO Reentry operates residential program facilities like the Cordova Center throughout the country, offering county corrections departments services and support for monitoring and rehabilitating offenders. GEO’s services help reduce recidivism rates, subsequently easing jail crowding and enhancing public safety. Learn more about GEO Reentry’s programs.