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Multisite Evaluation of Shock Incarceration

NCJ Number
Date Published
51 pages
This evaluation study of shock incarceration programs consisted of a qualitative description of eight programs based on staff and inmate interviews; a study of inmate attitudinal changes during incarceration; a study of offender recidivism; a study of positive adjustment during community supervision; and a study of prison bedspace savings.
The two major goals of all the programs were to reduce prison crowding and to reduce recidivism through deterrence and rehabilitation. Programs varied on characteristics hypothesized to affect the ability of the program to achieve these goals, i.e., in the type of therapeutic programming, size, location, intensity of release supervision, and type of aftercare. The results showed that all boot camp inmates developed a more positive attitude toward their prison experience, compared to inmates incarcerated in traditional facilities. Nonetheless, the available data show that the recidivism rates of boot camp graduates and comparison samples of inmates did not differ. Specifically, shock incarceration did not result in a reduction in recidivism in five States included in this study. In three States, boot camp graduates had lower recidivism rates on one measure. As measured by employment, educational status, and financial and emotional stability, boot camp graduates and comparison samples adjusted equally well to community supervision. The data suggest that carefully designed programs can reduce prison crowding. 20 figures and 30 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1994