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News stories tagged with "alt-prison"

"My association with being a felon is probably the same as most people's: You're dehumanized. There's a stamp on your forehead that says 'you're less than.'" Photo: Natasha Haverty
"My association with being a felon is probably the same as most people's: You're dehumanized. There's a stamp on your forehead that says 'you're less than.'" Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: Back in the world

Today, the final part in a series about society's efforts to turn away from long-term incarceration for nonviolent offenders. In Part one, we met Jeff, a college-bound young man from Western New York who fell into serious drug addiction, broke into a pharmacy, and cycled through drug courts and rehab for years before being sentenced to prison.

But instead of serving a four year sentence, Jeff went to Moriah Shock, a bootcamp-style, six-month program in the Adirondacks. We left off yesterday when Jeff was three months away from his release, and feeling confident his time in Shock would help him stay drug and crime-free when he returned home.

"I mean obviously I'm not going to walk around, I'm not going to march around and call cadence, but it helps establish certain discipline that's essential through the program, and this is from the heart, I'm not just speaking to build up the program because I know whatever I say is going to be fine."

In Part three, producer Natasha Haverty finds Jeff back in the world, rebuilding his life and looking ahead.  Go to full article
Lunchtime in the mess hall. Photo: Natasha Haverty
Lunchtime in the mess hall. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: into Shock prison

This week as part of our Prison Time Media Project, producer Natasha Haverty is looking at some of the approaches cash-strapped states are taking to try and cut prison their populations.

Yesterday, we began the story of Jeff, a young man from western New York who fell into serious drug addiction and broke into a pharmacy to feed his habit. After spending years cycling through drug courts, unable to stay off drugs, he was sent to prison here in the North Country.

"It's very true to say that I as given a great opportunity at drug court and I failed. I failed at drug court. I failed. I'm going to prison, for years. That's the lowest of the low, that's the lowest I can think of before death."

But unlike many other inmates, Jeff was sent to a shock prison in Moriah, in Essex County, which focuses on life skills training and rehabilitation. Part two of our series takes us to Moriah Shock and finds Jeff at the middle of his prison sentence.  Go to full article
Jeff in class. Photo: Natasha Haverty
Jeff in class. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: One man enters the system

When Governor Nelson Rockefeller pushed through his landmark drug laws in New York forty years ago, he argued that any alternatives to his new tough on crime zero tolerance approach had failed:

"I was on this kick of trying to get the addict off the street, into treatment. Now this was a beautiful concept, except it just didn't happen to relate to the realities because the pushers keep finding new people. And I have to say that as far as I am aware, there is no known, absolute cure for addiction."

But in recent years, those Rockefeller Drug Laws have gone through a series of reforms. These days, cash-strapped states like New York are struggling to reduce inmate populations so that they can close expensive prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to mothball two more correctional facilities downstate this year.

And reducing the number of people behind bars means experimenting with diversion programs for non-violent drug offenders: States are offering counseling programs, rehabilitation and therapy, and opening alternative, "drug courts." The goal is to battle drug addiction without incarceration.

This week, as part of our Prison Time Media Project, Natasha Haverty follows the journey of one man through a system that's trying to turn away from mass incarceration. Here's part one of her three-part series.  Go to full article

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