NORWICH – Judge Frank B. Revoir, Jr. sat down to discuss New York’s Shock Incarceration program. Revoir said that he used to dismiss offenders’ requests to enter the Shock program as an attempt to serve less prison time. After visiting a Shock facility last month, he changed his mind and now thinks the program has the potential to reform offenders. He plans to consider the Shock program as a sentencing option earlier in offenders’ criminal history, rather than only using it as a last resort.
“The Shock program is based on idea that a person can be rehabilitated. Those that developed and supported the Shock program accept and believe in this idea,” said Revoir. “The Shock program is often mischaracterized as simply a ‘boot camp,’ but it is a much more comprehensive program than that.”
The New York Shock Incarceration program was established in 1987. There are now four Shock Incarceration correctional facilities in the state of New York and one facility will be closed. The Shock program is a six-month rehabilitation program that includes 500 hours of physical training, 600 hours of a therapeutic approach to treating addiction, a minimum of 260 mandatory hours of academic education, and more than 650 hours of hard labor. Once inmates complete the program, they undergo six months of an intensive “After Shock” parole program in their county and continue to follow up parole supervision for the remainder of their sentence.
According to the Shock Incarceration Procedural Manual, any male or female inmate from the ages of 16 to 49 years old can apply to the Shock program if they meet the following criteria: they are physically and mentally qualified, this is their first sentence to State prison, they are within three years of parole eligibility and they are not serving a sentence for a violent offense.
“I think the reason that violent offenders are not allowed to enter the program is to ensure the safety of its participants. The other criteria for eligibility are based on who has the most potential to benefit from the program. Shock is not for everyone. It is one tool in the toolbox of effective strategies to reduce crime and protect the community,” said Revoir.