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SURVIVAL Guide for Half-way House - What you need to know (including list of things to bring)

list of essentials / Halfway house survival list

One of the questions I keep getting is what do I need (or advice) for each leg of the prison journey. I couldn't believe how little info there was readily available (I'm not saying people aren't providing it....but they are certainly aren't as clever or as helpful as I am...HA)

Here's a list of essentials you might consider bringing when staying in a halfway house with limited shopping access for at least 2 weeks:


1. **Undergarments and socks:** Several pairs to cover the duration.

2. **Comfortable clothing:** T-shirts, pants, sweatshirts, and/or leggings for daily wear. (I wore a hoodie every day, because it was cold & it was easy to take on and off… but most importantly I wanted something with pockets).

3. **Weather-appropriate attire:** Jacket or coat, depending on the climate.

I have no idea where your halfway house will be but the chances of you having heat or AC are pretty unlikely. So have clothes that prepare you to not have either (Heat or AC).

4. **Sleepwear:** Pajamas or comfortable sleep attire.

It was cold at nite & they give you a brutal blanket. (I was able to buy a blanket from Amazon - that made it im somehow,…remember everything is supposed to be flame retardant (which is absurd). So they wouldn’t let you have lots of normal things (but it depended on the staff, some didn’t care & they let things through….you will see people have things they shouldn’t have but got them in)

5. **Shoes:** Sneakers or comfortable shoes for daily use.

  • slippers/sandals. You need something to wear in the shower. It’s not quite clean enough to go shoe less yet.


1. **Toothbrush and toothpaste**

2. **Shampoo and conditioner**

3. **Body wash or soap**

4. **Deodorant**

5. **Shaving kit (if needed)**

6. **Hairbrush or comb**

7. **Facial tissues and toilet paper**

They supply toilet paper & laundry soap (but there not great)

8. **towel…..they give you a towel but it sucks.

Also bring hangers. If they provide any then you’re lucky & they come in handy. Also you can’t keep your towel in a bathroom you share (with several inmates) so you bring that back to your room and keep it hung on the towel in your closet.

A Half way house in St.Louis protesting not receiving basic necessities


1. **Prescription medications:** Sufficient supply for the duration of your stay. They will supply meds but you still need allergy, ibuprofen …otherwise you have to wait in line & that sucks.

2. **Basic first aid kit:** Band-Aids, antiseptic cream, pain relievers.

3. **Identification documents:** Driver's license, ID, or any necessary legal papers.

4. **Face masks and hand sanitizer:** For hygiene purposes.

5. **Entertainment:** Books, puzzles, portable games, or a tablet loaded with movies or music.

Half way houses are a new level of boring. They make prison seem like a theme park. We literally had zero to do in Fresno. You couldn’t leave the compound. Sharing the room is awkward but you get used to it. So you hopefully have a dining room or Somewhere to read or watch TV. I basically just walked around our tiny little courtyard & played on my phone.

Halfway houses are made up of people from all different designations so there are some rough dudes. I really kept to myself originally and just said I was catching up on fixing my businesses/life now that I was out. Like everyplace if you aren’t social or hide in the room people will talk. I did the same shit I did at the camp.... I helped some people with resumes or applying for jobs online. Everyone needs helps. That’s helps you make you useful and avoid trouble.

I know they say all these places are safe (CAMPS and Halfway houses). I think that is part of the "we dont want to worry crowd," propaganda (that I don’t agree with). Yes for the most part these places are safe. But I will tell you at the half way house I went to people got messed with. We had the leaders of the crip group & nazi low riders ….it was tense at times. And by being curious (which I am) you can get put on the radar. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be stressed that MOST OF THESE PLACES are safe…..but they make it seem like EVERYONE will be fine….nothing can happen. That’s incorrect. There were fights at Leavenworth, guys got the brakes beat off them (people got stabbed for crying out loud)…..

I think KID GLOVE advice needs to be kept to a minimum. A little fear is not bad (and yes all of us going to prison are scared)…but when I went to the halfway house I was relying on the advice I was given prior and the halfway house is nowhere near as safe as a camp. Some people don’t want to go Home so they cause problems on purpose.

So at a HH you need to be careful at the beginning. People will ask for favors or money. People are desperate. Some don’t have a home to go home to.

Meds are given out at nite. It’s not as big a pain as the camp (well it depends on your camp). But at Leavenworth people waited for hours to get meds… was a pain ….some meds you were allowed to keep on you. At the HH you went and got your pills from staff at nite pill call .

6. **Notebook and pen:** For jotting down important information or journaling.

7. **Chargers:** For your phone or any electronic devices.

Chargers are the one thing everyone seems to forget…charging for EarPods. Phone, notebook, shaver. These get borrowed or stolen. So I would prepare accordingly.

Also there is a device on Amazon that is basically like a stand for your phone that attaches to your bed. My roomie gave it to me when he left. This thing was gold. There called gooseneck phone holders. They allow you to watch TV ON your phone while siting/laying down in bed. Everyone wanted one. It was weird. They aren’t expensive. Amazon had them. If you are a light sleeper or are bored it comes in handy to stream shows/watch movies.

Remember at halfway houses inmate checks are done far more frequently. At nite Staff comes in every 2 hours to check if you’re there….I woke up every nite /every time (and they weren’t trying to be loud). But they left me alone if I was on my phone. It became a savior because it was hard to sleep with someone checking the room every hour or so.

Im exaggerating with the photo....but most staff at camp get off on shinning the light in your face to keep you from sleeping. Guards often said "If were inmates are going to be up also." GOOD GUYS.

**Other Considerations:**

1. **Snacks:** Non-perishable items like granola bars or nuts for between meals.

You cant have anything that doesn’t seal. Like cake or cookies, chips that aren’t able to be sealed.

You are also NOT ALLOWED to eat in your room. So if you order pizza & bring it to your room you may get grief. Now it’s not like they are checking your room every five seconds so I ate in my room plenty. But it was packaged food.

I would recommend you buy

  • pretzels

  • Fruit snacks

  • Beef jerky

  • Goldfish crackers/popcorn

  • Peanut mix

  • Soda. You’re allowed 2 12 packs. Soda from the vending machine is around 1.50-2 a can

  • Water flavor packs lived off those)

You can order this all on Amazon and have it delivered in a day. I found that to be the cheapest/ best way. Others used Walmart or other services for speed but I think if you have a little patience you can’t beat Amazon prices and delivery.

BUT REMEMBER…they will go through all your things you purchase. They will keep and hold any items they don’t think you should have (and give you a receipt)

2. **Water bottle:** To stay hydrated.

3. **Laundry detergent:** If there's access to laundry facilities.

Buy the laundry detergent PODS.

The laundry facilities are small and usually busy because of how many people are there. I did laundry at like 4am (when the staff got used to the fact that I don’t sleep).

You are not allowed to walk around super early because there is limited staff at nite….you either need permission or have a job that necessitates you getting up that early

4. **Reusable shopping bag:** Handy for any shopping trips that may arise.

Maybe get a couple bags.

This list covers the basics for a comfortable stay while ensuring you have necessities and some entertainment during your time in the halfway house with limited shopping access. Adjust it based on your personal needs and the specific guidelines of the facility you'll be staying at.

You will be assigned a chore. BE CLEAR UP FRONT IF YOU HAVE MEDICAL ISSUES. If you say no to chores in front of other inmates it won’t go well. So it’s better to make sure staff never assigns this stuff. Having a medical issue doesn’t & shouldn’t get you out of chore duty, but it should help insure you get chore responsibility you can handle.

One last comment. Most people believe they can bypass the Halfway house and go immediately to home confinement. That is not how the system works. I am not saying it is impossible. But you need to always remember you are dealing with the BOP and nothing with them works rt. Best case scenario its possible you go home in a week....but most likely you are there for a month or two.

Also plan on working (I will talk more about this at a later date...or review my newsletters - #55 through 60). There is no way of getting around this. YOU WILL NOT be able to work for a company you own or a family member (THEY ARE HIP to every scheme in the book). The best you can do is go work for a friends.

Also working from home takes special approval. They will say NO at first. Also if you plan to volunteer they will say NO to volunteer work that involves felons. WHICH is incredibly ironic since felons are everywhere (they want you to go to AA / NA meetings which of course have felons). Ordering a burger from a Mcdonalds worker is possible interacting with a felon scenario.

In my experience they like to say NO rt off the bat. Most people dont fight back. Its up to you to decide what fights are worth it. But you can usually find a way to do what you want. You just have to advocate hard for it.

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1 commentaire

Alex Cafry
Alex Cafry
10 déc. 2023

Great content very informative. Thank you

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