Shock Incarceration Program
The sun won’t rise on the patchwork of mud and snow for another hour and a half. But inside the barracks, shrill whistles are rousing over five hundred men from their sleep. “Matthew” – one of the men hastily falling into formation in the last barrack in his row – mentally prepares himself for fifteen minutes of intense calisthenics and drills followed by a thirty-minute run in the crisp February air. Although he imagines himself as a soldier to pass the time, he is far from it. Instead, he is inmate #14A9375 at the Summit Shock Center – a “boot camp” for felons convicted of drug crimes, among others.
Shock incarceration (SI) programs such as these are among several sentencing options available for men and women convicted of a drug felony. Not everyone is eligible for SI and not everyone who is eligible chooses to apply. But those who do enter and complete the program often receive an earlier release than those who serve a traditional prison sentence, sometimes by months or years.
What Is the Shock Incarceration Program?
Shock Incarceration programs are boot camp-style prison alternatives for eligible men and women. They include intense physical and drill training, addiction treatment and education programs, academic eduction, and hard labor. The goal of the program is not only to serve as an alternative to prison for non-violent offenders, but also to help inmates overcome their drug addictions and develop the character qualities necessary to successfully exit the program as safe and productive members of society.
Although there are many SI programs across the country, New York places a special emphasis on alcohol and drug abuse treatment and on developing an attitude of responsibility. The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT) program, which helps inmates overcome the addictions that often lead to future felonies, is a required part of the program. Network – a behavioral training program that focuses on developing responsibility for oneself, for others, and for the quality of one’s life, is also an integral part of New York’s SI programs.
What Can I Expect?
If you are admitted to an SI program, you will receive a one-year sentence that takes place in two phases.
Phase 1 – “Intensive Incarceration” – lasts for six months and is the “boot camp” portion of the sentence. You will be assigned to one of New York’s four SI facilities: Monterrey Shock, Moriah Shock, Summit Shock, or Lakeview Shock (all women are assigned to Lakeview). These facilities operate like military boot camps. You will rise at 5:30 am for a standing drill count, perform intense calisthenics, drills, and runs before breakfast, then engage in hard labor on facility and community projects, attend treatment and educational sessions (including Network and ASAT program sessions), and receive academic eduction toward a GED (if no high school diploma) or help tutor others who are so doing. Your day will be strictly regimented and discipline, unquestioning obedience, and respect for authority is essential.
After Phase 1 is complete, Phase 2 – “Intense Community Supervision” (also known as “AfterShock) – places you on probation for another six months, during which time you will be closely monitored by your parole officer and undergo continued drug testing, but will also have first-priority access to continued counseling and vocational training programs to help you re-enter society.
Will I Be Sentenced to SI?
Judges cannot sentence you directly to an SI program. These programs are voluntary for individuals who want to shorten their sentence at the same time as they work on overcoming their drug addictions. However, not everyone who wants to enter a program is eligible. You must be under 35 years of age, have committed a non-violent and non-sexual crime, have no previous indeterminate prison sentencing, be eligible for parole within three years, and be mentally and physically capable of the military-style of discipline and hard labor.
If you meet these initial eligibility criteria and request SI in lieu of your mandated sentence, you will need to pass a screening interview, which includes physical and mental screenings.
How Can The Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald Help?
At The Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald we are experienced in dealing with drug cases and can help advise you of your options. We will also fight to pose your case in the best possible light to maintain your eligibility for SI programs, if you receive a prison sentence. Remember – if your conviction includes a violent or sexual crime in addition to drugs, you will lose your eligibility. Anything that calls into question your physical or mental suitability for such a program must also be avoided. We work hard to protect your freedoms and give you every possible alternative.
If you are facing drug charges, we can help. Contact our New Windsor office at 845-567-4820 to schedule a confidential consultation. Se habla español.