Portage House

ESTABLISHED: August of 1973

OCCUPANCY: Ten adult, male, probationers or parolees

PRIMARY FUNDING: The Wisconsin Department of Corrections

STAFF: Director, Program Assistant, Program Coordinator, Counselor, and two night security staff. We also employ relief staff, work-study students, and interns.

TYPES OF CLIENTS: On probation or parole. Most residents are younger adults, eighteen to late twenties. The most common crimes committed by residents are: burglary, theft, drug offenses, forgery and bad checks; other typical crimes are OMVWOC, battery, domestic abuse, and sex offenses.


  • Room and board
  • 24 hour supervision
  • Assistance with job and school placements
  • Training in independent living skills*
  • Health assessments
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Family counseling, when appropriate
  • Recreation and community activities
  • Information and referral

*Independent living skills are taught on an on-going basis at Portage House. Areas covered include: budgeting skills, meal preparation, personal hygiene, assertiveness, communication skills, and problem solving. Staff provides information and referral regarding mental and physical health issues, sexuality, parenting skills, and recreation. Residents also participate in weekly education/training sessions for their first 12-15 weeks in the program. Topics include relapse prevention, cognitive distortions, criminal thinking, assertiveness, codependency, health and sexuality, self-esteem and healing the child within.

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF CLIENTS: Full time employment/schooling, responsible for the cleanliness of the house, rotate evening meal preparation, Tuesday evening training modules, Thursday house meetings, weekly individual counseling sessions with their respective primary counselor, involvement with outside service providers, meetings with DCC agents, work on service plan, movement up level system, community service, volunteer work, and many clients attend AA/NA meetings.

LEVEL SYSTEM: Responsible behavior is rewarded with increased privileges, later curfews, and longer away time.

CLIENT INVOLVEMENT: May vote at interviews and evaluations and may be involved in decisions to terminate clients from the program. Vote on some policies, sanctions, weekend passes, extended hours, and other special requests.

E-Mail: Portageh@co.portage.wi.us