Last month in this blog, we discussed the case of a Houston man who had been sentenced to “shock probation” in his DWI manslaughter case. Michael Giacona was ordered to sit at the accident site wearing a sign alerting passersby that he had killed another man in a drunk driving accident. He was also ordered to write a sincere letter of apology to the victim’s family.
Shock probation is a form of punishment designed to shame offenders and require them to admit their crimes in public. It has become increasingly popular with judges throughout the country in recent years.
In Michael Giacona’s case, it appears that the shock probation did not work.
Giacona wore his sign in public for only one day, after which he reported receiving a number of threats against his life. The judge allowed him to end the public punishment in order to protect his safety.
Giacona also ran into trouble with the letter of apology. He drafted a note, but the judge did not believe it was sufficient. Since Giacona refused to write another letter, the judge rescinded his probation and sent him back to jail to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Before being put on probation, Giacona had served 90 days on a one-year sentence.
Although shock probation may not be very common, getting sent back to jail for a probation violation is not. Texas offenders who are released on probation must be careful to comply with the terms of their probation order. Those who don’t can end up serving long stints in jail.
Source: KENS 5, “Refusal to Offer Apology Sends Convicted Drunk Driver Back to Jail,” Kevin Reece, May 4, 2012.