Boot Camps The questions put forth in this research paper are: whether participants in juvenile boot camps receive the services prescribed for them, what impact juvenile boot camps have on recidivism rates, what benefits juvenile offenders derive from boot camps, and whether juvenile boot camps are cost effective. Other topics that will arise in the course of this paper are the definition of boot camp, and goals of juvenile boot camps. Responding to increasing juvenile arrests, several states and localities established juvenile 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 1996, provides the most recent comprehensive assessment of the state of boot camps. Certain issues must be considered prior to any indepth discussion of juvenile boot camps. These issues include: A definition of boot camp. The goals of juvenile boot camps.
Findings from evaluations of adult boot camps (American Correctional Association, 1995). A definition of boot camp The very use of the term boot camp and its connotations are still being debated. The media tend to focus on the confrontational element of boot camps — the element that juvenile practitioners like the least. Dr. MacKenzie, who has been studying adult boot camps since 1987, holds that defining the term boot camp has been a major issue and remains one.
Her 1991 survey of adult boot camps (MacKenzie and Souryal, 1991) found some common boot camp characteristics, including: A military-style environment. Separation of boot camp participants from regular prison inmates when they are housed in collocated facilities. The participants’ perception that boot camp is an alternative to a longer term of confinement. Some hard labor (MacKenzie, 1991). The most noteworthy finding from Dr.
MacKenzie’s survey, however, was that boot camp programs differ widely, particularly with regard to the amount of time participants spend in therapeutic activity and in the aftercare they are provided (MacKenzie, 1991). The definition of boot camps given by OJP in 1995 is: Participation by nonviolent offenders only (to free up space in traditional facilities for violent felony offenders, i.e., those who have used dangerous weapons against another person, caused death or serious bodily injury, or committed serious sex offenses). A residential phase of 6 months or less. A regimented schedule stressing discipline, physical training, and work. Participation by inmates in appropriate education opportunities, job training, and substance abuse counseling or treatment. Provision of aftercare services that are coordinated with the program that is provided during the period of confinement (Office of Justice Programs, 1995). OJP 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).
Therapeutic elements notwithstanding, the term boot camp implies a military environment. The OJP program guidelines require a regimented schedule. Dr. Hamburg pointed out that although juveniles can benefit from the structure and discipline of the boot camp model, the different branches of the U.S. armed services provide different kinds of basic training, and there is an array of military and nonmilitary models to borrow from in designing the most appropriate boot camp model (OJP, 1995).
The goals of juvenile boot camps Parent addressed the issue of goals for juvenile boot camps. He identified five commonly expressed sentencing goals for adult boot camps: Deterrence, Incapacitation, Rehabilitation, Punishment, and Cost control (Parent, 1995). Of these, rehabilitation and cost control are the goals cited most often by correctional practitioners and policymakers. The object of rehabilitation, Parent said, is to achieve some reduction in further criminality, either by changing an offender’s attitudes and values, perhaps leading to some behavioral change, or by addressing some of the personal deficiencies or problems that are believed to be linked to criminal activity (Parent, 1995), such as lack of education, substance abuse, and/or lack of social skills. Thus far the research on the effect of rehabilitation in boot camps has been inconclusive.
Similarly, few hard data are available on cost, although it is known that adult boot camps cost as much as traditional prisons per inmate per day. Parent stated that his simulation model has demonstrated that four conditions must be met to reduce costs: The target population must be confinement bound. The boot camp population should not be selected by judges, but by correctional officials, who would choose juveniles for boot camp from among those who have already been sentenced to or confined in a facility. The term of confinement must be cut significantly. However, this condition for cutting costs is easier to implement in an adult facility than in a juvenile facility, because adults usually receive longer sentences than juveniles. Program failures must be minimized.
There are several ways to do this: Minimize voluntary dropout rates. Orientation should give potential participants a very clear understanding of what to expect in the boot camp so that they are not surprised. Minimize expulsions. Participants should be given more chances for successful completion. This can be accomplished by establishing graduated sanctions and by allowing participants to repeat the program (recycle). Minimize post-release failure.
The recycling option should again be available. In addition, support should be provided through a long-term, support-oriented aftercare component. Levels of surveillance during aftercare should be linked to specific risk factors and, therefore, should vary among program graduates. The boot camp must have a large capacity. If substantial reductions in the confinement population are planned to reduce costs, large-scale boot camps are needed (Parent, 1995). Parent stated that currently there are two boot camp models — treatment and population reduction and that it is difficult to accomplish the aims of both models simultaneously.
The population reduction model, which emphasizes cost control, would be difficult to replicate for juveniles because they generally serve much shorter sentences than adult offenders. Rehabilitation, therefore, may be the only logical goal in opening a juvenile correctional boot camp. Findings from evaluations of adult boot camps Dr. MacKenzie’s study of Multisite Evaluation of Shock Incarceration (MacKenzie and Souryal, 1994), was conducted in eight States and involved young male offenders between the ages of 19 and 21 who had been referred from the adult court system. According to Dr. MacKenzie, the most surprising finding of the evaluation was that in each of the boot camps studied, regardless of the amount of therapeutic treatment, all participants who completed the program were more positive about their experiences than were offenders in a traditional prison setting. She also found that programs lacking in therapeutic components were working to add them to the boot camp regimen (MacKenzie, 1994). Some evidence indicated that the rate of recidivism declined in programs where offenders spent 3 or more hours per day in therapeutic activity and had some type of aftercare or intensive supervision after release. However, the finding of differences in recidivism came from an exploratory analysis. In general, the MacKenzie and Souryal evaluation found similar recidivism rates for those who completed boot camps and comparable offenders who spent long periods of time in prison (MacKenzie, 1994).
The selection of boot camp youths Even if, as Parent suggests, the primary goal of juvenile boot camps ought to be rehabilitation, the cost-control argument for targeting confinement-bound youth is a valid one (Parent, 1995). Dr. Altschuler, who has found that most juvenile boot camps are being used as an alternative to probation, raised another reason for targeting confinement-bound youth for boot camp rather than those who receive probation. According to Altschuler, research has demonstrated that low- or moderate-risk juvenile and adult offenders who are subjected to high levels of supervision (as in a boot camp program that includes a structured aftercare component) actually do worse than those left on traditional probation (Altschuler, 1992). It is therefore important to distinguish between juveniles who should be placed on probation with minimal supervision and those who need more supervision. This caution touches on another issue related to selection: net widening.
Judges may find appealing the option of assigning a youth to boot camp rather than to some other available intermediate sanction. The result may be confinement of a youth who previously would not have been confined. Under these premises, the final effect is actually an increase in the number of youth who are confined and thereby an increase in cost. There is also the issue of the high percentage of minority youth (as many as 80 percent) among those who are confined in boot camps. This can be attributed to the fact that boot camps typically serve urban areas with a high percentage of minority youth.
Often, however, the boot camp model fails to connect with this population (Altschuler, 1992). Boot camp design In addition to size, another consideration concerning the boot camp’s physical environment is whether it is located in a general population facility or is a stand-alone camp. In the adult system, general population facilities collocate the inmates of medium- or maximum-security prisons with adult boot camp inmates. The housing is separate, however, and the common areas of the facilities are used by adult boot camp inmates and adult prison inmates at different times. Stand-alone adult boot camps avoid this operational concern. Separation from more hardened prisoners protects the boot camp inmates from a higher level of contraband and physical violence.
Staffing also benefits because potential conflict between the boot camp staff and the prison staff of a collocated facility — for example, conflict arising from the promotion or demotion of a prison staff member versus a boot camp staff member — is eliminated in a stand-alone facility (Parent, 1996). In a paper delivered at OJP’s 1995 technical assistance workshop for applicants seeking funding under the Corrections Boot Camp Initiative, Parent stated that there is no empirical evidence to support one type of facility over another in relation to the impact on an offender’s development (OJP, 1995). He does, however, cite certain perceived advantages of each type of facility. For example, the advantages of locating a boot camp in a general population facility include cost savings derived from sharing infrastructure, goods, and services with the prison. In addition, it is easier to recruit and replace boot camp staff, because they do not have to move to a new community.
Because of concerns about harmful influence and physical violence, the collocation of an adult prison or boot camp with a secure juvenile boot camp requires adherence to statutory separation requirements as implemented by OJJDP rules (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996): Juveniles must be separated from incarcerated adults by architectural or procedural means that prevent sustained sight or sound contact. Brief and inadvertent or accidental sight or sound contact is only considered to be a violation if it occurs in a secure area that is dedicated to use by juvenile offenders, including any residential area (Parent, 1996). The best model to induce behavioral change The basic premise of the military boot camp model is that the military atmosphere acts as a catalyst to facilitate changes in offenders’ behavior. The military atmosphere, however, may vary widely, from a confrontational model to a developmental one.
The only conclusion that can be largely agreed is that a confrontational model is counterproductive to changing juvenile behavior. Dr. Marty Beyer, a psychologist experienced in improving the effectiveness of services to delinquents. Three things known about adolescent development, sh …