Alpha House is a men’s Pre-release Center (PRC) located in Billings, MT, serves as an intermediate step between prisons and the community. Offenders live in this PRC under twenty-four hour a day supervision for approximately six months. The residents are required to obtain employment, participate in counseling, abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol, maintain strict accountability for facility rules, obtain a residence for release, and demonstrate that they are ready to return to the community as productive citizens.
Prior to the existence of PRC’s many prisoners entered the community ill prepared to be productive citizens because they could not locate employment or because the temptation to use alcohol or illegal drugs was too great. The intent of PRC programs is to give offenders the opportunity to return to society in a gradual manner so that they can establish a healthy, crime free lifestyle.
Each offender is screened by local representatives of law enforcement, Probation and Parole, PRC personnel, a community member, and in many cases treatment providers. Only those offenders who show potential for success and appear to be an acceptable risk in the community are accepted. Security and public safety are of paramount importance.
Offenders may also be referred directly from the community. Examples may include an offender who is failing to meet the conditions of probation or parole, or a newly adjudicated offender for whom treatment and close supervision is necessary, but prison is not. Others come to us from prisons, treatment centers, sanction centers, and boot camp.
As virtually all offenders in prison are eventually returned to the community, Alpha House considers placement for offenders who have committed a wide range of criminal offenses. In the case of sex offenders, the approval process is particularly rigorous. All sex offender cases are first reviewed by a sex offender treatment provider to assess their risk level. Violent sex offenders and those most likely to reoffend (level III) are considered ineligible in almost all cases and generally, only sex offenders from the area are accepted. Arsonists are generally not approved due to safety concerns.
Alpha House organizes case management through teams in order to achieve enhanced focus, task orientation, and staff commitment. Resident teams are comprised of a coach, case manager, and a cross-section of other staff in an attempt to identify client needs from a broad perspective.
The Team Process taps the brain-power of every employee and aligns Alpha House in a shared vision and commitment regarding residents. Members are cross trained in all the technical skills necessary and have the authority to plan, implement, and control work processes. The team members assume responsibility for team performance reviews, training, etc.
While Alpha House does not have towers and razor wire associated with a prison, security is one of the most important services provided. Offender accountability in the community is a key security component. Numerous headcounts are done each day on each shift. Resident’s whereabouts are verified and confirmed by phone and on-site checks in the community and all residents are subjected to random urinalysis testing on a frequency that is based on individualized objective factors. Other important security procedures include regular, random personal and living area searches to control the introduction of contraband into the facility and frequent breathalyzer testing to monitor for alcohol use. Alpha House has a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use.
Each resident is assigned a case manager who will guide the resident through the different areas of their program. Residents attend one week of program orientation and assessment. Each resident meets with their case manager in contract team for the development of his Individualized Program Plan (IPP). The IPP incorporates all of the needs specified in the judgment and court order, local screening mandates, pre-sentence investigation, and assessments completed at Alpha House.
The resident then meets weekly with his case manager to monitor the progress made on his IPP and to develop a release plan. The case manager will work with individual types of releases such as discharge, parole, and conditional release. Some residents are eligible to transfer to transitional living status in the community the last 60 days of the program. These residents must check in daily, are still subject to all security functions, and must continue to meet weekly with his case manager.
Many residents have no formal vocational training previous to entering a PRC. The Job Development Program works with them to enhance job searching abilities, interview skills, appropriate dress, and demeanor. The Job Developer is also there to help resolve issues that arise between the resident and the employer. Alpha House has relationships with many excellent employers who regularly provide employment opportunities for individuals with criminal histories. Getting a job is absolutely crucial to the successful reintegration of offenders into society. The employers also benefit from having drug and alcohol free workers who are motivated to attend work every day, through the increased accountability of monthly evaluations and agenda checks. Worker’s Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is available to employers who hire Alpha House residents.
Alpha House offers a diverse Treatment/Education Module for offenders referred from the Department of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Prisons and United States Probation Office. Our program currently offers 14 different Treatment/Educational curricula:
- Level I Alcohol and Drug Treatment and Aftercare (Matrix)
- Parenting groups
- Partner Family Member Assault groups utilizing the Duluth Model and DOM/MRT
- Criminal Thinking Errors groups (CP&R)
- Federal Drug and Alcohol treatment group and Aftercare
- Aggression Control Education
- Medicine Wheel Group for the Native American population
- Working At Gaining Employment (WAGE) group facilitated by Job Services
Our programs begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue until 8:30 p.m. four days a week with some classes offered on Fridays as well. Our Treatment Staff are either licensed professionals or come to us with differing degrees and specialties of service. The staff meet all criteria for on-going education and training to maintain licensure and/or training for best practices procedures.
Alpha House has a treatment-oriented recreation program for residents. The program consists of outings in the community, participation in sporting events, and art and music projects. This program develops positive recreational habits upon which the resident can rely during the program as well as in the long term. It is important that residents understand that they can enjoy themselves in a pro-social setting without the need for drugs, alcohol, or criminal behavior.
Strict accountability is the rule. Residents who fail to follow their treatment plan or adhere to the rules may be returned to prison. Upon graduation, the successful resident has completed chemical dependency treatment, anger management, criminal thinking errors training, been employed for four to six months, saved a minimum of $500, obtained a residence, and maintained crime-free conduct.
Alpha House has visitation for residents to assist them in strengthening family ties and socializing while maintaining enough structure to provide a secure atmosphere for the residents, visitors, and staff.
Visiting Hours are set and there is no need to call ahead. The hours are:
Tuesday & Thursday
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM