Prison Bootcamps Essay

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Pages: 7

The Juvenile Justice System came up with a new alternative to help the problem of juvenile delinquency. This new alternative was juvenile boot camps. Boot camps aim to address major problems children have in their lives as well as those that are first time offenders. A major problem some of the children have is with authority, which institutions treat with a heavy dose of authority in the form of drills, exercises and other training led and enforced by staff as part of a military platform. (Puzzanchera, 2010)

There are public and private boot camps. For desperate parents seeking a solution to their children refusing to behave at home, doing poorly at school, and engaging in unsafe activities like drug or alcohol use private boot camps may be an option. Privately run boot camps for teens are different from public boot camps. First of all, private facilities are a privilege. They are businesses that charge fees for their services, and so some facilities may not be affordable for some families. Besides, some applicants may be rejected if it is judged that they would not be a good fit for a particular program.

The first of these public boot camps was set up in Oklahoma and Georgia in 1983. The Georgia program was a two-part program consisting of a rigorous 90-day tour in a prison boot camp followed by a less structured period of community supervision. The program was designed as an alternative to prison, and participation was mandated by the sentencing judge as a condition of probation.

Oklahoma had 4 separate boot camp programs within the state, with an overall capacity of 446 inmates. These are the Regimented Inmate
Discipline program for men, the Female Offender Regimented
Treatment (FORT) program for women, and a shock incarceration program for men and one for women. (Alleman and Gido 2001).

Florida and New York then followed by opening up there own juvenile boot camps. New York’s boot camp program emphasized discipline, work, substance abuse treatment, and education-all within a military-style environment. New York’s program was much larger, required a longer period of incarceration, and placed a greater emphasis on treatment for substance abusers than most programs. Now there are over 30 boot camps through out the United States.

The basic set up of a juvenile boot camp involves military style training. In order for this type of a juvenile institution to be called a boot camp it must have the military style training. They rise early each morning and are kept busy most of the day. Correctional officers are given military titles and participants are required to use these titles when addressing staff. Punishment for misbehavior is immediate and usually involves some type of physical activity like push-ups. Most times, groups of inmates enter the boot camps at one time. There is often a ceremony where inmates are immediately required to follow the rules, respond to staff in an appropriate way, stand at attention and have their heads shaved. Many programs have graduation ceremonies for those who successfully complete the program, and family members and others from the outside public frequently attend the graduation ceremonies.

Much debate has taken place on correctional boot camps on whether the youth inmates’ behavior is changed while they attend the camp and after they are released.

State juvenile correction systems in the United States hold youth in many types of facilities, including group homes, residential treatment center, boot camps, wilderness programs, or country run youth facilities. But the largest share of committed youth, 40 % of the total locked long term correctional youth facilities operated by state government or private firms. These facilities are large and hold approximately 200-300 youth. Many facilities operate like a prison with razor wire, isolation cells and locked cell blocks. (Puzzanchera, 2010)

Tremendous research has taken place over the years to determine what