For many who were incarcerated in New York and looking for a way of shortening their prison sentence, a shock camp program sounded like a great opportunity. In many cases, these imprisoned individuals were trying to get back to their families and loved ones, desperate to refill the gaping void that they left behind.
That’s the deal that some prison inmates were offered, and it was deceptively inticing. The program was referred to as a shock camp, was said to last for six months, and was being conducted at the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility. Those who were offered the “opportunity” were told that if they enlisted in the program, they could have their prison sentence reduced.
But to those who experienced the camp, it felt more like being abused than undergoing any sort of treatment. The shock camp was conducted in a military style, but the tactics reported by participants went far beyond militaristic – even potentially violating their civil rights.
Treatment or abuse?
“Treatment” involved regular taunts from the guards that were more like personal attacks, calling them out for bad parenting and drug abuse. The camp also allegedly involved wearing demeaning signs, and even unsanitary practices like forcing inmates to eat off of the floor.
After one incident of inmates being caught exchanging notes, the entire dormitory was forced to walk around with mattresses held over their heads. This went on for 10 hours and ended with bleeding scalps. These allegations raise serious concerns for prisoner’s rights.
The idea behind these types of programs is simple: You have to break a person down before you can build them up again and reshape their behavior. The problem with this particular camp is that it never got around to building the inmates back up again, creating a highly toxic and abusive situation.