25th Anniversary Shock Incarceration Celebration
Commissioner Brian Fischer
Monterey Shock Incarceration Facility
September 12, 2012

Our correctional system is based on the belief that when a person leaves prison he or she should be better prepared to deal with life than when they entered. That belief is what pushes us to create and provide specialized counseling programs, offer medical and mental health services, education and a host of other services too numerous to mention.

For twenty-five years, Shock incarceration has been a singular program that demonstrates our commitment to preparing individuals for a better life. It has been a mind and body program, combined with education and drug counseling. It uniquely focuses on the individual, his or her needs, fears and hopes. It was designed to offer a new way of assisting each person to become healthier, smarter, stronger and most of all, a more self-aware and self-assured individual who knows his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Shock incarceration owes its success to the best trained and most dedicated staff the Department has, and to the creativity and support of individuals like Cherrie Clark, retired Shock Director and Ronald Moscicki, retired Lakeview Shock Superintendent. Their leadership led the way for teams of drill instructors, counselors and everyone else connected to Shock to create and manage a program unlike any other program the Department has to offer.

It is because of you, current and former staff here at Monterey, and your counterparts at Moriah, Lakeview, Willard who worked magic over the years that I stand here with great honor and respect this afternoon as the Commissioner and pay tribute to your service to our state. With the Executive Proclamation he has issued today, Governor Cuomo also recognizes the significant accomplishments of this program and the indispensible service that staff have contributed to our agency and the citizens of New York State.

We know that you volunteered for your assignment and trained hard to be the best. Many of you get up every morning to run with the platoons and all of you provide a personal level of counseling and concern for those under your care. It is because of you that the program is so successful and why we are all here today.

You all know the history of Shock, starting in 1987 with the first platoon entering Monterey. We added Summit, Moriah, Butler, and Lakeview, culminating in 1995 with the opening of Willard Drug Treatment Campus, a program for parole violators similar to the regimen of a shock incarceration facility.

Between 1987 and July of 2012, some 79,114 Shock eligible inmates were screened for program participation, including 6,694 females. Of those, some 61,687 inmates were transferred into Shock with 45,135 graduating.

The difference in the numbers reflects the fact that not everyone is suitable or capable of handling the Shock program. Too often those who leave the program do so because they were not ready to make the personal commitment to change, which is needed to succeed.

Likewise, some who graduate return to prison failing to use the skills they learned while in Shock.

Over time our prison system has changed and evolved. The number of inmates in our system has declined, the type of inmate entering has changed, the age of the population has shifted and we have witnessed similar changes in those who have entered Shock, which has created a wider pool of candidates. The program’s principals, however, have not changed.

The New York Shock Incarceration Program is the longest running shock treatment program in the country. It encompasses key programmatic treatment elements designed to help an individual be prepared for a successful return to the community. That goal, to prepare the individual for re-entry cannot be understated, it is what makes the Shock program unique and critical.

Through its special perspective, the Shock program directs, encourages and supports change. It teaches self-discipline, self-control, decision making, conflict resolution, team work, education and substance abuse treatment. This is accomplished while also emphasizing physical training, so that each individual leaves the program stronger and healthier.

This mind and body approach, a core component to Shock, allows each individual to leave DOCCS with a new sense of self, a new awareness of what can be accomplished and a new purpose in life.

If that wasn’t enough, consider the economical value of Shock. Since its beginning, it is estimated that the program has saved the state over $1.3 billion (that’s billion) dollars.

Success should not, however, be measured in just numbers or dollars. Not every candidate qualifies for Shock and not every Shock participant succeeds. We, as professionals, need to be evaluated on our efforts to make a difference, not solely on numbers.

Our responsibility is to provide treatment and support to those placed in our custody. Our role in Shock is straight forward and Shock operates in a holistic manner, emphasizing both the mind and the body.

For 25 years, Shock has taken on its responsibility with professional seriousness and effectiveness because at its core, the men and women who have worked in the program have proven themselves to be among the best the state has to offer.

In recognizing the history and value of the Shock Incarceration Program, we need to understand that we are recognizing our staff, the people who have dedicated their lives to helping others develop into better members of society.

The Shock Incarceration Program exists, and its tremendous value is based on the hard work and dedication of people. Without them, there is no program. It’s that simple.

By acknowledging Shock’s 25th Anniversary, let us acknowledge and congratulate all the staff that have worked in Shock, are currently working in Shock and will one day take over, ensuring that this highly successful and impactful program can run for another 25 years and beyond.

Thank you.