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The Shock Incarceration Program

In our era of high criminal activity something had to be done to eliminate the vast over crowding of today’s prisons. A military type “boot camp” was created to alter offenders’ behavior and deter them from any future criminal activity. This program is said to provide a therapeutic environment and meet the needs of offenders that can still become law- abiding citizens.

The Shock Incarceration Program meets those needs and at the same time meets its goals which are “reducing the demand for bed space in the Department of Correctional Services and treat and release selected state prisoners earlier than court-mandated minimum sentences without ompromising community safety”(Nieto). The paper will discuss the program’s origination, guidelines, eligibility, screening process, and daily activities. An interview with a shock graduate will give a first hand view on the realities of the program.

The New York State Shock Incarceration program was established on July 13, 1987. It was designed for young inmates who could benefit from an intense six month program of incarceration. The legislative bill states “the program would be provided to certain inmates institutionalized to the State Department of Correctional Services who are in need of substance buse treatment and rehabilitation. The program is an alternative form of incarceration that highly stresses discipline, considerable physical work, exercise, and drug rehabilitation therapy.

It would build character, gradually implant a sense of maturity and responsibility and promote a positive self image, so they can return to society as law-abiding citizens. ” Four facilities were established. The first Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility (SICF) received their first inmates on September 10, 1987. Summit SICF received their first inmates on April 12, 1988, and their female component began in December of 1988. Moriah SICF received its first platoon on March 28, 1989.

Lakeview SICF received its first inmates on September 11, 1978. Summits’ female portion of the program was transferred to Lakeview in May of 1992. According to the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1997, There are only seven states that offer this program to women, New York is one of seven states and holds the most women with one hundred and eighty beds available. New York’s Shock incarceration program is divided into two phases. Phase one consists of an intensive incarceration program operated by DOCS.

In phase one an inmate is built around a therapeutic program called network,” which tries to obtain a positive environment to support successful reintegration of inmates into the community. Here inmates are heavily occupied with activities associated with boot camps. Phase two begins after program completion, where an inmate is intensively supervised while in the community by the Division of parole. A program called “AfterShock” assist them with housing, drug and alcohol treatment, relapse prevention, family counseling, and job training and placement.

Each state has its own criteria for inmate eligibility into the program. New York’s judges cannot sentence offenders directly to shock, hey must be legally eligible and meet the following criteria. Anyone ages sixteen to thirty-five years old; nonviolent or sex offenders are not eligible; and parole eligibility has to be less than thirty-six months; screening is conducted on general suitability (criminal history and nature of current offense) both male and females are eligible. Vermont’s is also a voluntary program it’s two criteria’s for eligibility, one is to be a male, and to be able to work.

I Tennessee judges can sentence an offender to mandatory shock incarceration, however, the Department of Corrections can also recommend an inmate. Its criteria are as follows sentenced to prison ages eighteen to thirty-five, their term must be less than six years and up to twelve for drug offenders. Offense must not involve serious injury, sex offense, or minors they must have good physical and mental health and comprehend and be able to follow instructions. Anyone that meets these criteria for eligibility can move onto the next step, the screening process.

All convicted offenders who are legally eligible for shock incarceration are sent to an orientation and screening process at Lake view Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility. At these interviews’ inmates re informed about the program and must decide whether they want to volunteer for the program instead of serving their full prison term. Participants are carefully examined for mental and a physical problem that would prohibit them from taking part in the program. As the evaluation takes place, the inmates are introduced to some of the program activities they will be faced with.

Once an inmate begins the program the first two weeks of shock are called “zero weeks. ” Here inmates learn the basics of physical training, drill ceremony and discipline, its period of orientation and initial evaluation. Since most inmate dropouts occur during zero weeks, the staff uses this period to emphasize education as a way to ease them into the program. According to Clark, their days consist of “highly structured activities including physical training, work, drug and alcohol treatment, education, recreation, and drill and ceremony.

There are no free time periods, no packages from no home, no commissary, no radios, no magazines, no newspapers, and no televisions. ” A standard day begins at 5:30 a. m. , which and inmate wakes up for standing count, 5:45-6:30 Calisthenics and Drill; 6:30-7:00 Run; 7:00-8:00 Mandatory breakfast/cleanup. :15 Standing count and company formation. 8:30-11:55 Work /school schedules. 12:00- 12:30 pm Mandatory lunches and standing count.

A 12:30-3:30 Afternoon work/school schedule. 3:30-4:00 Shower. 4:00-4:45 Network community meeting. 4:45-5:45 mandatory dinner, prepare for evening. :00-9:00 schools, group counseling, drug counseling, prerelease counseling, decision making classes. 8:00 Count while in programs. 9:15-9:30 Squad bay, prepare for bed. 9:30 Standing count, lights out. Inmates are required to work six hour days, divided in two three-hour periods, before and after lunch. Most camps are located near state conservation land, where inmates can maintain public use areas clean, they also work on the grounds of the shock facility. The staff and inmates have also helped the communities in need in the aftermath of emergencies. Moriah SICF inmates help maintain and clean up after forest fires.

Summit and Lakeview inmates help nearby community’s cleanup after tornadoes, and Lakeview inmates cleaned beaches after a large amount of fish were found dead in Lake Erie. Shock Incarceration inmates not only perform hard labor but they also provide services for Toy’s for Tots Program. They repair amaged donated toys, sort and prepare them for distribution all over the United States and Canada. The Network Program has been used by the Department of Correctional Systems since 1978, however, since recent budget cuts it is now only available to shock facilities.

Network program objective are grouped into three areas: “responsibility for self, responsibility to others, and responsibility for the quality for the quality of one’s life ” (Clark). A sense of self-worth and personal pride forms the foundation of a responsible lifestyle. This program was devised to help give a person these qualities; respect for self and others. It has proven to be successful in providing an opportunity for positive growth, it teaches that in order to make responsible decision he/she must consider their personal needs, the effect they have on others, and their own situation.

In order to be successful with the Network Program all staff, officers, counselors, supervisors, teachers, and support staff are intensively trained in Network methods so those skills are reinforced in every aspect of the Shock program. As stated earlier the Shock Program is a two-part process, the post prison part of the program is called Aftershock or Aftercare. Its goals are to continue the intense of supervision started during the incarceration phase and provide opportunities and programs in the community to avoid future incarceration.

Parole officers supervising shock graduates have reduced caseloads, for thirty-eight graduates two parole officers are assigned, to increase interaction and give more time for home visits, drug testing, and curfew checks. Graduates of this program have priority access to community services, such as educational and vocational training, increased employment opportunities, and relapse prevention counsel. In order to see how effective the Shock Incarceration Program really is an interview was set up with a Shock Incarceration graduate. Mr. Richard Roman is presently twenty-nine years old.

At the age of twenty- four he was sentenced to a two to four, for possession of a control substance and direct sale of a control substance. The state of New York offered him the program after serving four months of his term. He was sent to Moriah Shock Incarceration. His daily schedule consisted of physical workout, work, and school/drug program, (example of a schedule given previously). His contact with the outside world was limited to Sunday, very other Sunday he would have a visit, on Sunday without a visit he was entitled to a one phone with three attempts to contact someone.

This he feels one the only problem the program has, it does not provide inmates with enough contact with the outside world. He was required to attend drug rehabilitation programs three times a week alternating with school. Mr. Roman states that many of the inmates had problems with much of the staff, he says he felt they were prejudice. Out of twenty DI (Drill Instructor) maybe two did their job correctly. He also states he had continuos ‘ problem with one particular DI he later named DI-50.

The drill instructor always failed him with a grade of fifty even though his job was done correctly every single time. He feels the program is worth every single moment spent there he learned responsibility, time management, and manual labor he could one day benefit from. His program was one hundred and eighty-four days exactly, and he would do it again if he had to, but only if he had no other choice. He does feel the program is rehabilitative and the program has many tools to offer, it is effective if you want it to work for yourself, if not you’ll just end up doing the same things all over gain.

The shock program has saved the government millions of dollars throughout the years, it has also proven to be very effective in reducing the number of offenders returning to jail. The program uses several different methods to attain its goal, the interview with Mr. Roman has demonstrated how effective the program has turned out to be. Mr. Roman was never arrested again. He finished the aftercare portion of the program and probation set forth by the division of parole. These are the goals of the program, to keep young offenders out of jail and to help them become law-abiding citizens.

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