A lack of a halfway house anywhere in the Northwest Territories is hurting prisoners in their attempts to integrate back into society after time in prison.

That's what Joe Pintarics, executive director of Yellowknife's Healing Drum Society says. Since the Salvation Army closed its Yellowknife halfway house three years ago, people released from the prison system have a rough road ahead, and that's partly because there aren't enough local facilities to help them make that transition.

Offenders either have to go down south to stay in a halfway house, or remain in jail until they are granted full parole.

"It's a different culture. It's a completely different setting, to have to learn to live in Edmonton," Pintarics says. "And that's just not a very good response," Pintarics says.

Halfway houses are helpful, he says, because they allow offenders to partially reintegrate into society — they can look for work, go to school, or take programs during the day. But they have to come back and are supervised at night.

"We want it available to guys who are serving time that need to come out to that need to find a place to [transition] back to life in normal society," Pintarics says.

Opening a halfway house is always a tricky proposition, because residents are rarely comfortable with the idea of ex-convicts living nearby. But Pintarics and others at The Healing Drum in Yellowknife will meet with Corrections Canada next month to come up with a plan to get one somewhere in the N.W.T.