U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Shock Incarceration and Its Impact on the Lives of Problem Drinkers

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1991
34 pages
This study examined the effect of shock incarceration on offenders identified as problem drinkers, based on a criminal history of alcohol-related crimes and self-reported drinking behavior.
The subjects for this study consisted of a group of male offenders who participated in Louisiana's shock program and a comparison group of regularly incarcerated male inmates selected to be similar to the shock sample. All male offenders who participated in the shock incarceration program from October 1987 to October 1988 volunteered to participate in the study; the sample consisted of 192 subjects. All offenders were administered questionnaires that contained several Jesness (1983) personality scales and self-report demographic questions at time 1 (just prior to entering either the chock program or regular prison) at the diagnostic centers. Both samples were then tested again at time 2 (approximately 90 days later), near the time of possible completion of the shock program for participants. So as to assess offenders' performance while on parole, a standardized parole evaluation form was distributed to intensive-supervision and regular parole officers. Demographic and criminal justice system data were collected from correctional records for both the shock and regularly incarcerated samples. The findings indicate that problem drinkers in shock incarceration became less alienated and more prosocial in their attitudes compared to the problem drinkers in the prison inmates. Problem drinkers who graduated from shock incarceration were also found to adjust better on parole than offenders paroled from regular prison; however, the behavior of problem drinkers as a group was more varied than that of non-problem drinkers, which emphasizes the importance of and need for programs such as this to provide adequate support and aftercare for problem drinkers and substance abusers. 5 tables and 49 references

Date Published: January 1, 1991