New York State Shock Program Saves Lives and Taxpayer Dollars

(With excerpts from New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision publications.)

In July 1987, New York State established the Shock Incarceration Program by enabling legislation that mandated that the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) create a 6-month program that would prepare young, non-violent inmates for early parole release consideration. The program was to operate in special facilities and provide a schedule of rigorous physical activity, intensive regimentation, discipline and drug rehabilitation.

Cheryl L. Clark and Ron Moscicki (both Sr. Consultants with Social Synergetics) were brought together, as Director and Superintendent respectively, to develop a model that was to be unique amongst programs for incarcerated populations.

The Legislature required that an evaluation of Shock Incarceration be conducted to assure its programmatic objectives were being met while assessing the impact of Shock. The cooperative relationship between DOCS and the Division of Parole has resulted in the creation of an institutional and aftercare program producing results unlike any other in the country.

Fiscally, the program is immensely cost-effective. On average, Shock graduates are released about one year prior to completion of their court determined minimum period of incarceration.

As of 2004, the documented savings of these early releases was $1.18 billion dollars. By June 2010, this figure had grown exponentially to more than $1.332 billion.
(Addendum: As of July 2010, the savings exceed $1.377 billion)

Additionally, despite their short period of incarceration, Shock inmates make strong academic progress relative to other inmates, with one of the highest GED acquisition rates of any similar program in the US.

Shock creates a prison environment that is conducive to positive change. Information on the prison disciplinary process suggests that, due to the rigorous, yet therapeutic, nature of the program, few misbehavior reports have been written at the Shock Facilities, compared to minimum and medium security facilities.

Shock Incarceration continues to be among the most effective programs for non-violent offenders in the country.

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