No Perks Await Arenas at Halfway House

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Gilbert Arenas avoided a prison sentence but will be required to report to the Montgomery County Jail for two days before checking into a Halfway House in Rockville, Md.

The Washington Wizards guard was sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house for bringing guns into the team's locker room.

Arenas will spend the first two days of his sentence in the Montgomery County correctional facility because the department wants him to see the inside of a jail and appreciate what he has avoided.

Then he will report to the halfway house.  From Nebel Street in Rockville, it looks like a recreational center. Arenas will live there, signing out in the morning and checking back in evenings after performing his community service, which includes making presentations to youthful offenders about the dangers of violence and firearms.

So why a Maryland facility for a D.C. incident? Arthur Wallenstein, the director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said  for the past 10 years or more, the federal Department of Corrections has had a contract to place federal inmates and those who are on probation, like Arenas, in their pre-release centers.

The people who walk through the doors of this halfway house  have committed crimes. They are tightly monitored.

Pat Braun is a unit supervisor she showed us around the pre-release center including the living accommodations like those that await Arenas.

"Each room sleeps two people, and there is one bathroom for every two rooms," said unit supervisor Pat Braun. "He will have a locker and bureau for his things. Each room has a desk. You have to bring your own TV. There's only one to a room, and it can't be bigger than 19 inches."

But if Arenas wants to watch the NBA on TNT, he'll have to venture out of his room, which won't have cable.

"Arenas will have to go to the rec room like everybody else," Braun said.

The facility houses 150 residents. Calls are made on public phones. There's a computer center where residents can work on getting a job when they are released.

Recreation does include basketball. And privacy is hard to come by.

"Arenas is getting no break," said Keith Busey, recently released. "This is like every other halfway house."

Nor will the stay hurt Arenas, Busey said.

Officials said their goal is to make sure Arenas completes his 30 days of community service without any incidents.

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