Shock Probation Has Freed Thousands

Sep 28, 2011

Since 2006, the state of Kentucky has used shock probation, the program that last year allowed for the release of admitted killer Tonya Nicole Brown from state prison, to send 10,006 convicted criminals back into public life. She was freed by Senior Judge Steven Mershon after serving 15 months and 14 days, benefiting from this unusual, decades-old program that grants judges wide latitude in dealing with first-time offenders. A study of state records acquired by The Sentinel-News shows that Brown’s release is far from a rare occurrence and that many who have been released on the same terms as she frequently find themselves back before a judge for new or related offenses.