Boot camps are correctional programs that emphasize physical labor, exercise and a strict, military atmosphere. Adherence to their rules and regulations are strictly enforced. The youth are given a military style routine that includes physical conditioning, academic instruction, counseling, and substance abuse education. They also encourage the youth to pursue further academic training and employment during the last period of the program. The main reason for these programs was for cost effectiveness. According to the article “An Impact Analysis of the Alabama Boot Camp Program,” the cost of 153 boot campers is $835,533. If the individuals in this group had served one-third of their average sentence, the cost of incarceration is $1,614,762” (pg 3). Another reason for the development of boot camps was the overcrowding of prisons. Instead of going to prison for 12 months, the juvenile delinquents could attend a boot camp for three to nine months.
Juvenile boot camps have many advantages, but there are also many negative aspects of the camps. It is proven that many of the teens graduate from the camps within the time period they were given to complete them. However, there is also a high re-incarceration rate. The features within these boot camps often use intimidation and humiliation in order to control the delinquents. These tactics usually lead to emotional and behavioral problems that counteract with what the system is trying to provide for the troubled youth. Many of these youth often show positive changes during the correctional program but when they leave, they are often not prepared to be a positive member of society so they may go back to their old ways. For example, one of my best friends’ younger siblings went to one of these camps after continuously getting into trouble. Throughout the time period of the camp, he would call home and sound like a completely different person because he was respectful and just wanted to come home to see his family and friends. After a month of being back with his friends, he went back to his old ways and got into more trouble. After leaving a strict environment, the youth can’t handle going back to their old environment in which they got into trouble in the first place.
The military is required to have strict organizational boundaries in order to ensure safety of the nation and its constituents. The people working within the military branches go through many training camps to prove that their behavior is acceptable in order to be part of the organization. Since boot camps have a strict, military style atmosphere, it is a good method to prepare people to become members of the Army, Navy, Marines or Air force. Otherwise, boot camps may not be the best alternative considering the long term re-incarceration rate.