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Shock Program Inmates Eligible for Conditional Sealing of Criminal Record

inmate behind bars

Shock incarceration is a program available to certain inmates who can obtain conditional release after completing a six-month intensive program of physical activity, discipline and therapy. In 2012, the Supreme Court, New York County, held that the Shock Program qualifies for conditional sealing of a criminal record under New York Criminal Procedure Law section 160.58. The availability of record sealing makes shock incarceration even more attractive to eligible inmates who can benefit from this program.

What is Shock?

Shock incarceration is a six-month program conducted in a shock incarceration facility. It involves rigorous physical activity and intensive regimentation and discipline, along with rehabilitation therapy and programming. Many people compare shock incarceration to military boot camp.

Selection for shock incarceration can occur at a reception center or general confinement facility. Any eligible inmate can apply for the shock program, or the court may order it in certain circumstances. The inmate must agree in writing to be bound by all the terms and conditions of the program. Upon completion, the inmate is immediately eligible for conditional release. The following conditions are required for eligibility:

The inmate was either sentenced to an indeterminate or determinate term of imprisonment, and is eligible for parole or conditional release within three years

The inmate is between 16 and 50 years old

The inmate was not previously convicted of a violent felony, A-I felony, homicide, felony sex offense, or an escape or absconding offense

The inmate was between 16 and 50 when the crime was committed

Shock Incarceration is a “Judicially Sanctioned Drug Treatment Program”

New York Criminal Procedure Law section 160.58 provides for conditional sealing of a criminal record for drug-related convictions and specified offenses under certain circumstances. The condition required for sealing is generally considered to be completion of the Judicial Diversion Program. However, the JDP is not the only program which can lead to conditional sealing under CPL 160.58. The law actually provides for completion of JDP, a pre-existing Drug Court program or district attorney sponsored (DTAP) program, “or another judicially sanctioned drug treatment program of similar duration, requirements and level of supervision…”

In the Matter of K., the Supreme Court, New York County, held that the Shock program qualifies for conditional sealing as “another judicially sanctioned drug treatment program.” The court compared shock incarceration and its aftercare program to the Manhattan Treatment Court, a pre-existing drug court program eligible for conditional sealing. The court ruled that even though the shock program was normally voluntary and not court-ordered, given its virtue and rigor and the fact that it may be judicially mandated, it qualified under the third eligibility prong of CPL 160.58.

To help ensure a successful application for conditional sealing, a defendant should hire an attorney to help with this process. An experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the system will know how to highlight the defendant’s success in the program and/or success on parole, and explain how sealing would benefit the individual to reenter society and lead a productive life.

For help gaining participation in shock incarceration, the Judicial Diversion Program or other drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration, or for assistance applying for sealing of your criminal record under New York criminal procedure law, contact Dupée & Monroe in Goshen at 845-294-8900 to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Hudson Valley criminal defense attorney.

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