DISMAS HOUSE, ST. LOUIS, MO
Oxford House is a concept in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In its simplest form, an Oxford House is a democratically run, self-supporting, and drug-free home. All Oxford Houses have in common these characteristics:
* The House must be democratically self-run.
* The House membership is responsible for all household expenses.
* The House must immediately expel any member who uses alcohol or drugs.
Each house must fulfill all three of these requirements in order to obtain and retain its Oxford House Charter. Each House represents a remarkably effective and low-cost method of preventing relapse. This was the purpose of the first Oxford House established in 1975, and this purpose is served today in each of the over 1,200 houses in the United States today.
Dismas House currently acts as landlords for Oxford Houses in the St. Louis area and in Columbia, Missouri. Each house usually consists of eight to fifteen individuals living together in a self-governing environment. Oxford Houses are democratically self-run by the residents who elect officers to serve for terms of six months. There are no resident counselors in an Oxford House.
A recovering individual can live in an Oxford House for as long as he or she does not drink alcohol, does not use drugs, and pays an equal share of the house expenses. The average stay is a little over a year, but many residents stay three, four, or more years. There is no pressure on anyone in good standing to leave. The relapse rate for program participants is less than 20%. There are currently approximately 800 Oxford Houses serving some 5,000 participants worldwide.
Half Way House Program
Dismas House strives to prepare offenders for their return to free-society by offering assistance in job placement, housing placement, vocational or educational referrals, and substance abuse counseling. Dismas House offers in-house life-skills classes to help residents deal with the new pressures of day-to-day life in a free society. These classes cover stress management, parenting skills, basic personal finance, public health issues, and employment readiness. Offenders learn fiscal responsibility by paying a percentage of their income towards their room and board.
Dismas House recognizes that the offender’s return to the house is an adjustment to both the offender and to the family he is returning to. To this end, Dismas House allows for both supervised visits in the facility and unsupervised pass time away from the facility to ease the transition for the resident and his family. Residents earn more and more time away from the facility by completing their program goals and complying with program rules. Most Bureau of Prisons residents will have the opportunity to participate in a home confinement program before they discharge. This allows them to live at an approved home location while still maintaining accountability to the BOP. Resident’s whereabouts are known by staff at all times and are verified through random accountability checks.