E very year hundreds of convicted non violent felons make it through the Monterey Shock Incarceration Facility. It's one of three operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
A fter 6 months of rigorous and physical training in a military boot camp type setting , the inmates qualify for early release from prison to go back to their communities on parole. For many convicts, shock incarceration will shave years off their original sentences.
M onterey's prison Superintendent, Leroy Fields says it reforms criminals and saves taxpayers money. "Our goal here, one of the things we talk about, is not getting out of jail so much, it's about staying out of jail." Fields told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.
S hock incarceration not only involves a lot of military-style discipline , inmates are also required to undergo intense drug and alcohol abuse counseling , participate in work details in neighboring communities and attend school whether they've already graduated from high school or not.
A mong those who made it through this program is 33-year-old Lindell Crawford, a father of two from Syracuse who was convicted of selling crack on the city's northside.
" T hose days are way behind me now, " Crawford said. "I don't look back, I look forward. Look forward to going home, get a nice job. If not a nice job, any job, just to keep me busy away from my old behavior."
S ince 1987 when shock incarceration first began , 46,077 inmates graduated were granted early release. The savings to taxpayers amounts to $1.426 billion. The rate of recidivism, those who commit crimes after their release, is 26.4 percent for shock grads compared to 42.0 percent for ex-cons from conventional prisons.
Crawford says he has changed after 6 months of shock incarceration. "I never had integrity before . I never thought about doing the right thing. When I was by myself, my mind was always thinking negative and now it's just positive things that flow through my head now."
He often used the word "integrity" in his conversation with Kenyon. "My integrity since I got here to do the right thing at the right time... is definitely a product of my life every day now. When i go home I will apply it to my life. I know how to do the right thing. I'm a grown man. I just have to do it."
Last week, C rawford was among 31 inmates who graduated after 6 months of shock incarceration. By completing the program, he reduced his 2 year prison sentence by 10 months.