Juvenile Boot camps that are also known as intensive incarceration programs are residential programs that are held for short-term resembling military basic training that is imparted to the adjudicated juvenile offenders (Williams, 2016). The primary goal of the juvenile boot camps is to reduce recidivism by modifying the anti-social attitudes and behavior of the juvenile offenders, which usually lead them to commit crimes again.
The boot camps also aim at providing cost-effective sentencing alternatives to incarceration by diverging the youths from traditional correctional facilities and permitting them to serve a shorter period in the program. The boot camps aims at improving the academic and literacy achievement and they are assisted in reducing their drinking and drug habits. There are three types of boot camp programs that are designed for offenders. Military drilling style, rehabilitative model and the vocational/educational model are three types of boot camp programs (Mitchell, 2017).
Potential pitfalls in boot camp programs
A lack of a standard boot camp model results in differences in programs in terms of size, style, cost, and availability of proper treatment services provided by the programs. Although Boot camps are stated to be strict where staffs are expected to use stringent methods with the inmates which often leads to abuse of inmates by the staffs. This is because most of the boot camps tend to adopt the military style as its central theme. The residential phase that includes intensive training is incomplete and the military style boot camp programs are inconsistent with policies, procedures and philosophies. The researchers believe that throughout the camp training, there is high risk of inmate aggression affecting the post-camp lives of juveniles by promoting such aggressive behavior.
Articles: Boot Camps for Juvenile Offenders
In this article, the author stated that the best approach to modify the behavior of the juvenile offenders using the military style is to implement it as a developmental model instead of a confrontational model especially with the adolescent offenders. This is because they respond to encouragement more than to punishment, as they are sensitive to anything that they consider as unfair. Although in order to avoid punishment, they tend to change their behavior but such change is not a response to punishment (Ncjrs.gov, 2018).
Correctional Boot Camps- Lesson learned from a Decade of Research
In this article, it has been observed that the disciplined structure and therapeutic programs assists in reducing idleness and create a safer environment improving the attitude and behavior of the inmates. This approach coupled with therapeutic orientation is better than other approaches and may be applied to correctional programs that target young offenders (Ncjrs.gov, 2018).
The boot camps programs must ensure that it implements ethical practice like the staffs are allowed to be stringent with the inmates but not to the extent that it amounts to an abuse of the inmates. It must include effective services that will assist the youth to bring out their own ideas to fulfill their need through a non-delinquent attitude. Although the boot camps programs cannot reduce recidivism largely, but funding for an appropriate boot camp that ensures proper design and fulfils the needs of the juvenile to feel competent for something and feel a connection to their families, encouraging them to live a crime free life.
Mitchell, O. (2017). Boot Camps. The Encyclopedia of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice.
Ncjrs.gov. (2018). Search Results - National Criminal Justice Reference Service. [online] Available at: https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Search/SearchResults.aspx?txtKeywordSearch=juvenile+justice+boot+camp+programs&fromSearch=1 [Accessed 22 Mar. 2018].
Williams, G. T. (2016). The Effectiveness of Juvenile Boot Camps and Their Impact on Minority Youth.