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Halfway house critical to Edwards success after prison

Former Governor to spend three days a week at halfway house

Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 6:52pm

BATON ROUGE, La (Fox 44 Baton Rouge) -- Former Governor Edwin Edwards will have to go to a halfway house three times a week as part of his sentence. Experts say a halfway house is critical to his transition back into society.

The process of re-joining society after living in prison is exciting, but it's also incredibly stressful. "It's a rollercoaster of emotions," says O'Brien House executive director Katherine Martin. "They're having to deal with life situations that they haven't before."

That's where a halfway house comes in. "The total quick emersion back into the society is too big of a jump," says local counselor, Dr. Nick Abraham. Instead, halfway houses give former prisoners the chance to learn life skills they may have lost over time.

"We help people to make decisions, to debrief problems, to learn skills, communications skills, anger management skills," says Martin. It's a support network that can help keep those individuals out of jail for good.

"We don't want people to have obstacles in their way that would cause them to immediately return to the facility or immediately relapse," says Martin.

Change, however, doesn't happen overnight. Experts say it could take up to three years for people like Edwards to fully rehabilitate. There are a number of factors involved, everything from support from the community to the level of motivation a person has to re-enter society.

"It's a critical step. It's one of the greatest things we do for people who are just coming out of prison."

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