What Is NY Shock Incarceration And How Do I Qualify
NY Shock Incarceration is a program in New York that allows some inmates to participate in an intensive 6-month “boot camp” style program to earn early release from prison. It was introduced in 1987 as a way to help reduce overcrowding in prisons while still providing rehabilitation services to eligible offenders.
There are certain offenses that make an inmate ineligible to participate in Shock Incarceration:
- Violent felony offenses defined in NY Criminal Procedure Law Section 70.02
- However, exceptions are made for:
- Burglary in the 2nd Degree (PL 140.25(2))
- Robbery in the 2nd Degree (PL 160.10(1))
- Attempts to commit the above crimes
- A-I felony offenses, including:
- Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the 1st degree
- Kidnapping in the 1st degree
- Murder in the 1st and 2nd degree
- Operating as a major trafficker
- Homicide offenses defined in NY Penal Law Article 125, such as:
- Criminally negligent homicide
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Felony sex offenses defined in NY Penal Law Article 130, such as rape and criminal sexual act
- Escape or absconding offenses defined in NY Penal Law Article 205
How to Apply for Shock Incarceration
Court-Ordered: The sentencing judge can order an eligible defendant directly into the Shock program. However, as part of plea deals, prosecutors often require defendants to waive their eligibility for Shock.
Voluntary: Inmates who were not court-ordered into Shock can apply directly to the program’s screening committee. The committee reviews each case individually to determine if Shock is appropriate based on public safety and the applicant’s well-being. If approved, the application is forwarded to the DOCCS Commissioner for final approval.
Does Shock Incarceration Work?
- It has saved NY taxpayers an estimated $1.5 billion since 1987 based on the cost of housing inmates who earned early release.
- Shock graduates have a lower recidivism rate compared to the statewide average:
- Around 28% of Shock graduates return to prison
- Versus 40% statewide average recidivism rate
However, some argue these statistics are misleading because Shock participants are already a self-selected group with a lower risk of reoffending. Overall, research on the effectiveness of boot camp programs like Shock has been inconclusive. While they can provide some rehabilitative benefits, long-term impacts on recidivism are uncertain.
The NY Shock Incarceration program can allow some inmates to earn an early release from prison through successful completion of an intensive 6-month “boot camp.” While the program has shown some potential benefits, such as cost savings and lower recidivism rates for graduates, overall research on its effectiveness has been inconclusive. Offenders interested in Shock should carefully weigh the challenges of the demanding program against the chance for early release. Consulting with an attorney can help inmates determine if they are eligible and if Shock is the right fit for them.