Shock Incarceration Program

The Shock Incarceration Program is a 90-day program designed as an alternative to traditional incarceration, providing a therapeutic environment where young, nonviolent offenders receive substance abuse treatment, academic education, and other help to promote their reintegration into the community. All aspects of the Shock Incarceration regimen have as their goal the development of law-abiding citizens. The therapeutic approach encompasses drill and ceremony, physical training, work, and education, to which are added a heavy emphasis on substance abuse education and treatment and the development of personal responsibility.

The sentencing judge must "Court Order" a 15-day evaluation to determine medical, emotional and psychological suitability in order for a male or female offender to be considered for placement SHOCK Incarceration Program.

Offenders ordered to participate must:
  • Be 17 to 29 years of age upon admission to the SCDC
  • Be eligible for parole in two years or less (eight year maximum incarcerated or suspended sentence)
  • Not be convicted of a violent offense or a "no parole offense"
  • Be serving a first time commitment in a state correctional facility - (no prior commitments over 90 days)
  • Be physically and mentally suitable

Daily physical training includes early morning calisthenics, which are routinely charted to measure accomplishment.

Seven hours each weekday are devoted to meaningful work both on and off SCDC property. Labor crews provide maintenance of community parks, buildings and grounds, storm clean up and renovation work to local and state governments.

Education is mandatory for Shock participants. Three hours of each day are devoted to structured classroom activities with additional time allotted for supervised study. Non-high school graduates are aided in preparation for GED testing, and graduates are involved in remedial work in weak areas.

As participants in Shock, offenders are involved in instructional programs provided by an array of skilled professionals, both volunteer and SCDC staff. These programs address common issues such as:
  • self-esteem
  • anger management
  • substance abuse
  • parenting
  • AIDS
  • leisure skills and more

Within a month of release, offenders are involved in instructional programs that address life-skills topics such as:
  • money management
  • job-seeking/keeping skills
  • communication skills

All daily activities (cleaning living areas, personal hygiene, work assignments, etc.) are strictly monitored in an effort to instill personal restraint, structure, cooperation and respect for others.

Visits and telephone calls are based on offender behavior and performance. Visits are held at the end of each month, while telephone calls are allowed at the end of the first month and on weekends thereafter.

Upon completion of the mandatory 90 days, offenders are automatically paroled and supervised in the community (by agents from the SC Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services) for the remainder of their sentences.

Scheduled graduations for offenders successfully completing the SHOCK Incarceration Program allow family, friends, and staff to participate in the achievements of the offender to include awards and recognition of accomplishments.

Graduates often echo the thoughts expressed in this letter:

"I think Shock Incarceration is a great alternative to prison... The more you put into something good, the more you get out of that good thing. So what if they make you do pushups and other exercises? That's not to hurt you, it's to help you build yourself physically. So what if they make you go to school, which to me is one of the finer points of being at Shock. That builds you mentally... Shock teaches and gives you respect, discipline, determination, motivation, and a lot more. And, oh, the staff here cares, 'cause if they didn't, I would've been gone a long time ago."

If you wish additional information concerning this program, please write:

Nikeya M. Chavous, Division Director
SCDC Division of Young Offender Parole and Reentry Services
Shock Incarceration Branch
S.C. Department of Corrections
Post Office Box 21787
Columbia, SC 29221-1787

(803) 896-8554