Organization Info

Alvis House
Type: CBO
Sector: Ex-Offender Re-entry
City: Columbus
Best Practice Program: Services to adult criminal population

Organization Mission

To serve individuals and families by providing effective programs and services that foster personal responsibility and healthy lifestyles resulting in safer communities for all.

Alvis House

Alvis House relies on research-based practices to help ex-offenders transition into the mainstream society. 90% of program graduates do not commit a new crime within one year. 

Employing Research-based practices helps Alvis House Achieve Low Recidivism Rate

Alvis House PlaygroundAlvis House is known throughout the Columbus region as an industry leader in community reentry programs.  Denise Robinson, President and CEO, attributes this renown to a firm commitment to providing research-based programs and services in order for Alvis House’s clients to live productive lives. “We decided 18-20 years ago that we were not going to do any programs that were not based on solid research,” she says.

Alvis House has partnered with the University of Cincinnati—a national leader in studying “what works” in reentry programs–to garner the best practices that research and analysis can provide.  Alvis House leaders report that “research has repeatedly demonstrated that a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) approach is the most effective way to change behavior [and] so Alvis House has committed to using CBT in all of its programming.” Research shows that it is possible to turn many offenders into ex-offenders by affecting how they think, who they associate with, how they relate to others, and how they cope with problems. This is why the foundation of Alvis House’s cognitive treatment program, called Equip, is the motto: “How you think affects how you act.”

Alvis House volunteer and client

Alvis House programs have proven to be an effective solution to decreasing recidivism and improving community safety.  Ninety percent of Alvis House clients who completed the residential reentry programs did not commit a new crime (measured at a minimum of one year after program completion).

Alvis House clients also become productive citizens with a positive economic impact. They become tax payers instead of a tax burden. Each month, on average, Alvis House clients earn $100,000 in wages, pay more than $2,000 in child support, and do over 500 hours of community service work. Involvement in community service not only leads to immediate improvements in the community. Over the long-term, Alvis House clients gain practical, marketable skills and they develop relational connections to their local community.

Alvis House also employs four certified Offender Workforce Development Specialists (OWDS) with a combined 67 years of highly specialized workforce development experience. These staff members help Alvis House participants to find sustainable jobs. This program element at Alvis House is also based on research. A recent federal study found that the odds of recidivism within one year of release for an offender receiving Offender Workforce Development services were significantly lower than the odds of re-offending for a comparison group not given such services.

Alvis House participant

Alvis House’s success in ex-offender reentry has earned them community respect and confidence. The nonprofit is also making a big contribution to the Ohio communities it serves (Columbus, Dayton, Chillicothe, Lima, and Toledo) through its provision of programs for people with mental illness, addictions, and developmental disabilities. According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 21% of male prisoners and 38% of the women have a history of mental illness, and 85% of men and 79% of women have a history of substance abuse. Untreated, they are likely to re-offend and end up back in the corrections system. This vicious cycle is not only unsafe for the public, but also expensive to taxpayers and a waste of human talent and productivity.

Alvis House has one licensed psychologist and a doctoral-level psychology resident on staff, both of whom have extensive experience working with the developmentally disabled (DD) population in the least restrictive environment possible.  Alvis House offers men and women with DD “supported living services”—that is, a variety of supports built around each individual to enable them to live in their own home and fully participate in their community. For DD clients with substance abuse treatment needs, Alvis House provides a specialized, weekly alcohol and drug group designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities.