The Juvenile Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program (SHOCAP) is a systemic information-based process for dealing with the small population of chronic and recidivist juvenile offenders committing serious crimes in our community. Studies have shown that a small number of chronic juvenile offenders commit a disproportionate amount of juvenile crimes and that, in the absence of effective intervention, these same offenders are likely to continue their criminal careers as adults.
The SHOCAP program is based on the principle that the application of a more systematic approach to information gathering, analysis, planning, and integration of police and juvenile justice activities will increase the effectiveness of the police, prosecutor, and juvenile authorities to deal with and reduce serious juvenile crimes.
The El Paso Police Department's SHOCAP unit was initiated in 1988, and it is staffed with one sergeant, four patrol officers, and one civilian clerk. Sgt. Monica Gomez, Officer Ted Saiz, Officer Martin Ramirez, Officer Raul Garcia, Officer Eric Gonzalez, and Mrs. Ana McKinney currently staff the unit.
The SHOCAP Unit, which focuses on the serious habitual juvenile offender, works directly with the Juvenile Probation Department and the Texas Youth Commission to target specific habitual juvenile offenders to ensure that they comply with the conditions of probation and parole.
The primary objective of the SHOCAP program is to reduce crime and to promote public safety through prevention programs and offender accountability. The members of the SHOCAP unit work on weekends and weeknights when activity is high, making announced and unannounced visits to probationers homes. A zero tolerance approach is imposed on active SHOCAP youths. When a probation violation occurs, probationers are immediately detained. However, when a parole violation occurs certain criteria must be met in order to issue a directive to apprehend the parolee for detention. Supervising agencies determine the disposition of the probationer/parolee.
The SHOCAP program is an information system developed through the direction of the Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs. The Public Administration Service in McLean, Virginia provides program and technical assistance for site development and implementation.
The Development and implementation of this program in El Paso County was brought about through the cooperative efforts of the Juvenile Court, law enforcement officials, probation and parole authorities, prosecutor’s office, Department of Human Services, and school authorities.
The SHOCAP program serves as an information system that enables practitioners and professionals of the juvenile justice system to focus attention on a small percentage of juveniles who repeatedly commit serious offenses in the community.