Boot Camps

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A group of sixteen-year-old girls decide to run away and decides to shoplift to sell the items they collected An eleven-year old boy joins a gang and begins selling drugs on the corner, only to get caught. A fourteen-year-old girl becomes a prostitute to make some extra money. A seventeen- year-old boy steals office assistance’s office keys, only to vandalize it. Although these scenarios are fictitious, children do engage in these types of destructive behaviors. They are labeled by society as juvenile delinquents and the law as juvenile offenders. So, how are these children punished? Are they even punished at all? Can they be rehabilitated or are these children lost causes? In this paper, I will explore boot camp as a means of dealing with juvenile offenders. The topics of discussion will be are: whether participants in juvenile boot camps receive the services prescribed for them, what impact juvenile boot camps have on recidivism rates, and improving the services offered to juveniles in boot camps. Modeled after boot camps for adult offenders, the first camps emphasized military discipline and physical conditioning. In response to increases in juvenile crime and the high cost of traditional confinement, the number of boot camps for juvenile offenders has grown in the last several years. Concurrently, much has been learned about juvenile boot camps and about their effectiveness as an intermediate corrections option. In other words are boot camps maximizing their chances of developing an effective program to help steer juvenile offenders back onto the pathway to responsible citizenship (Austin, 1993). A considerable body of thought concerning correctional boot camps has evolved from the inception of the first adult camp in 1983 through the development of the current juvenile camps. Several studies have surveyed the status of boot camps (Parent, 1989; MacKenzie and Souryal, 1991; Austin, Jones, and Bolyard, 1993; U.S. General Accounting Office, 1993; Cronin and Han, 1994). MacKenzie and Hebert's Correctional Boot Camps: A Tough Intermediate Sanction, published by the National Institute of Justice in

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1996, provides the most recent comprehensive assessment of the state of boot camps. Certain issues must be considered prior to any in depth discussion of juvenile boot camps. These issues include: A definition of boot camp, the goals of juvenile boot camps, and findings from evaluations of adult boot camps (American Correctional Association, 1995). The very use of the term boot camp and its connotations are still being debated. The media tends to focus on the confrontational element of boot camps -- the element that juvenile practitioners like the least. Participation in boot camps are geared toward nonviolent offenders. The time spent in boot camps typically range from a few months to one year. A regimented schedule stressing discipline, physical training, appropriate education opportunities, job training, and substance abuse counseling or treatment are a part of the daily schedule of activities. The Office of Justice Programs has encouraged the consideration and development of innovative program delivery in this initiative, including designs that are in addition to or other than the military model (Office of Justice Programs, 1995), such as the Outward Bound model, environmental reclamation projects, and community service. The program guidelines also identify six key components to maximize the effectiveness of juvenile boot camp programs: Education and job training and placement, community service, substance abuse counseling and treatment, health and mental health care, continuous, individualized case management, intensive aftercare services that are fully integrated with the camp program (OJP, 1995). Parent addressed the issue of goals for juvenile boot camps. He identified five commonly expressed sentencing goals for juvenile boot camps: deterrence, incapacitation,...
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