Kentucky's shock incarceration program for youthful first offenders was evaluated with respect to its implementation during its first 18 months of operation, from July 1993 through December 1994.
First Incarceration Shock Treatment (FIST) is a 127-day program offered to male and female inmates who have at least 4 months remaining to parole eligibility and a maximum sentence of 10 years. The program focuses on nonviolent offenders ages 17-29. The rigorous daily schedule includes physical training and conditioning, individualized academic programs, a 120-day drug treatment program, a living skills program, work details, community meetings, and military drill and ceremony. The analysis revealed that FIST successfully implemented a program that met the Bureau of Justice Assistance specifications and used a structured selection process. Many FIST inmates had background characteristics often associated with young people at risk, such as single-parent families, low incomes, drug abuse, and prior arrests. the program appeared to selected qualified professional staff and operated relatively smoothly. FIST does not operate a separate aftercare but releases inmates to the most intensive supervision available in their county of origin. Eighty-four percent of the inmates graduated and about 75 percent of the graduates received parole at the first post-FIST hearing. The program also appeared to stimulate short-term changes in inmate behavior and skills. Establishing a complementary aftercare program would make the program more comprehensive. Tables, figures, 24 references, and appended questionnaires
Date Published: January 1, 1996
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