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New York's "shock" incarceration program, which allows selected felons to serve shorter, program-intensive sentences, has saved the state more than $1 billion since its 1987 debut, prison officials reported Tuesday.

More than 31,200 prisoners have "graduated" from New York's shock camps in 14 years. Since shock programs shave time off prison sentences, officials estimate that New York saved $878 million in operating costs over that period.

The state avoided an additional $126 million in capital construction costs because the program alleviated the need for new prison beds, according to the state Department of Correctional Services.

New York runs shock programs at four sites for up to 2,820 nonviolent offenders a year. The highly regimented six-month program includes military-style exercise, physical labor, academics and intensive substance-abuse treatment. The program, which can reduce minimum sentences by up to 30 months, is designed to build character and self-esteem.

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