Young Offender Boot Camps Essay

3611 words - 15 pages

Young OffenderBoot CampsThere are many issues to consider when dealing with the treatment of young offenders in the justice system. These young persons are vulnerable and a desired method of treatment needs to be obtained to ensure the children are dealt with effectively and rehabilitated to the best of their ability in order to become contributing members of society. A fairly new method which takes the place of incarceration for young people are boot camps which aim to decrease the rates of re-offending.This alternative measure of incarceration has been utilized in the United States for over twenty years, and is, "Based on a military basic training model stressing discipline and physical ...view middle of the document...

These figures represent only official state facilities, and do not include private camps and those established by local jurisdictions. If the figures included these facilities run by other jurisdictions and private persons the number would be significantly higher. The idea of juvenile boot camps is much newer than adult faculties, although, in Texas alone their Juvenile Probation Department approved eighteen proposals to construct juvenile facilities across the state.After distinguishing where these facilities exist, it is important to understand the elements and goals of the programs. There are several elements of boot camps which include a regimented military-style program, strict discipline and rules, young, first-time nonviolent inmates, and programs that offer a shorter alternative to prison sentences. These elements can be altered in order to form different methods of treatment within the camps. The goals vary within each program, but effectively they are all similar. They range to include incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, reduction of prison costs and crowding, and punishment. Each program varies these goals in order to obtain the maximum positive potential results possible.Rates of recidivism can be dependant on the types of offenders allowed to participate in the program, and therefore these participants are controlled for in order to make the programs look desirable to continue to obtain public support and funding from the state. There are several people that play a role in deciding the participants of the program. These players include the sentencing judge, the correctional authority operating the boot camp, or a combination of the two. Another factor that plays a role in participant selection is the participant themselves. These young offenders are able to choose to participate in the boot camp or endure a longer period in incarceration. Surprisingly there are a majority of offenders that choose incarceration over the tough boot camps.There are several issues that arise when studying boot camps. One needs to understand how to make boot camps effective in order to reduce the risk of reoffending after completion of the program. The camps used to be considered as scaring children senseless and it was thought that this idea "scared" the children not to re-offend. Now there has been more studies and researchers realize that this method needs to be mixed with treatment and aftercare in order to be an effective tool of punishment and treatment. "Despite common wisdom holding that nothing works to alter a life of crime, programs can achieve rehabilitation by emphasizing problem-solving skills and anti criminal role-modeling." A criminologist by the name of Castellano, believes that there is too much emphasis on punishment and retribution, and this makes the military models less effective in treating offenders. A boot camp in Illinois has therapeutic elements and intense community supervision afterwards- the aftercare program...

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