Boot camp is an alternative to incarceration. In this paper I will prove that Boot Camps for youthful offenders does in fact work. Boot camps started in the early 1888 by Warden Zebulon Brockway at the Elmira Reformatory located in Elmira, New York. The warden did this because he wanted to invoke a new way of disciplining and keeping the inmates active.
The reasoning that this style of imprisonment worked was because there were virtually no prison guards which saved thousands of dollars. Another reason that it worked was because the men would work day and night producing quality goods that were much less then the competitors. Yates Law prohibited the inmates from competing in the open market which eventually lead to the end of the military like structure.
Another reason for and end of this type of incarceration was due to World War I. Prior to the war local citizens were invited to the facility to witness the military like drills and ceremonies. As soon as the war ended the people didn’t like the military which shut down the program.
The United States Army used basic training to rehabilitate soldiers who committed crimes. They used this system because prisons were overcrowded and very expensive. This way reduced the cost and allowed the return of 42,000 soldiers into active duty.In 1965 shock incarceration was developed in Ohio. This was an attempt to “shock” inmates by making them think twice about what they were going to do. The length the incarceration was on for 90-180 days. An analysis of the program in Ohio proved to be successful.
There was a 130 percent less recidivism then those with prior records.In Kentucky they had the highest rates of rearrest, reconviction and the return to prison. There reincarceration rare was only 21.4 percent. This was consistent with the finking form other shock probation programs that were heralded as effective (Vito and Ellis). The First Juvenile boot camp was established in 1985 in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.
The kids who were accepted into boot camps were between the ages of 17-26 and the offence had to be one that was nonviolent or less then one first degree offense. Boot camp incorporates military drill and ceremonies and physical training. After care is now one of the steps in a successful program. Most states now believe that group counseling are vital for the inmates success. They also integrated drug and alcohol treatment which is a very good idea because many youths have a drug problem and need the help to kick the habit. They also have educational programs as well.
Inmates that have not graduated from high school can prepare and take the test to receive their General Equivalency diploma. The cost to for boot amp inmates differs from state to state depending on the size of the facility. The average cost for housing an inmate for 90-120 days is about $4,205. The cost for housing an inmate who commits the same crime and is imprisoned for one year is about $21,000. It is much cheaper place a troubled youth into a boot camp rater then into a prison for a year.The reasoning for boot camps is complex. The theory of people committing crime is that they have free will. This is the classical view stating that every person makes a choice as to what they are going to do and why.
If a person chooses to commit a crime they must be thinking that the benefits outweigh the pain. Holman and Quinn have stated:That is , human behavior is believed governed by external environmental circumstances and/or internal biological conditions. Free will is, therefore, and illusion. An example would be a starving person, living in abject poverty without hope of obtaining money or employment, who steals food.
Although some would claim that this person still has the freedom to choose not to steal, a positivist would agree that she or he does not – that such a person is forced into crime by circumstances.Boot camps focuses on rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. The ways that they would be punished is by making them do extra push-ups running , sit-ups, etc.
This environment is supposed to be therapeutic as the drill instructor and the correctional officers are acting as role models. Anderson found that young inmates living under a controlled environment or “milieu therapy” recidivate less. Active therapy is used to help the inmates who have aggression and hostility issues. This therapy helps them manage there problems and to think logically about what they are going to do. Physical training is used to teach problem solving techniques. It also teaches then aggression control and to take responsibility for their actions. They use these methods because many of the crimes which are committed the person uses irrational thinking and poor judgement. This will hopefully help them into making a good decision.
The Alabama boot camp program or the Disciplinary Rehabilitation Unit (DRU) began in September of 1988. It accommodates more then 180 inmates and the program lasts 90 days unless a person keeps failing. The inmates are usually between the ages of 15-34 and many of them have a juvenile records. They must be selected by a board of directors and pass a physical fitness test as do the correctional officers. The program is divided into three phases which will address every aspect of the inmates needs. The first phase is for thirty days and attempts to make the inmates realize that they are there because of poor decisions and judgements. They are also urged to face the facts by writing down what they have done wrong in the past.
The Dru officials demand conformity and discipline right from the start. They also now realize that they must stop making excuses as to why they committed the crime. One participant explains his experience of this phase:”I Learned that I have a problem with people who are in charge…For the first time in my life I learned to be honest with myself..
. It made me see that I have no one to blame bu me for the poor choice I have made.. I finally had to own up to all the bad things I have done and admit sorrow for them… I wasn’t honest with myself..
.I learned that I did not have self-control of myself..
.I became aware of my negative attitude.” In the second phase the inmates learn problem solving techniques. They also get involved in the twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous as well as the narcotics anonymous program. They learn that they must take one day at a time and use their problem solving techniques in day to day life.
They also learn more about themself their strengths and weaknesses. They are also taught how to control their anger and diffuse bad situations which they may encounter in their life. A participant of the second phase explains his experience:”The physical training (PT) has given me a certain confidence that I can do anything… The PT program and the discipline given my by my drill instructor has shown me that I can do for myself instead of relying on other people…
The 12 steps and the classes have helped me to think better and will help me to stay away from drugs… The counseling has taught me how to control myself and how to listen when other people talk… I like the marching because it makes me feel proud..
. The group counseling has changed me by teaching me to control anger and follow orders… The sessions with the DI’s showed me that I can learn how not to be misled.”Phase three is the pro-release training and personal development.
During this phase inmates are subjected to many lecture by social workers and correctional officers. They tell them the truth about what life is going to be like when they enter into the free community. They tell them that the odds are against them and they must apply everything that they have learned while at boot camp and apply it to their daily routines. They are also to write out what they plan to do with the rest of their life.After the inmates have successfully completed the program they were asked to take a six part survey with all open ended questions. Seventy seven took the survey and the results concluded that fifty stated that they were taught self control. Forty seven stated that they are now self-disciplined and twenty four said they gained self respect. Seventy six reported that the experience changed them for life.
Fifty reported that the self-control and self-discipline will make them law abiding citizens.When asked the question how they initially thought boot camp our be fifty three stated that they thought it would be hard and tough. Nineteen thought it would be stupid and five thought it would be good. After they completed the program they were asked what they thought of the experience seventy five reported that it was a good experience while two thought it was a negative one.When asked what they like most about boot camp forty four reported they liked the physical training and the marching. Fifteen said that they liked the classed that were offered and ten said that they liked working.When it comes to the recidivism rate of the Alabama boot camps the program successfully has a rate of only 14.4%.
The correction officers say that it is a good thing because now it opens up space for more serious offenders. Form the survey that stated that seventy six thought it was a good experience it is consistent with the low recidivism rate. They believe that it works because inmates are forced to learn self-discipline and self control. They are also forced to take responsibility for their own actions.The way to make boot camps even more effective is to have effective aftercare programs. Research found that those who were provided with aftercare were much less to recidivate then those who were not involved in the aftercare.
The studies focused on boot camps in Maryland, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Illinois. In Baltimore the recidivism rate was ate a 19.6% then those amount other Maryland boot camps. Arizona had a reincarceration rate of only 12 percent when you compare it to the prison rate of an astonishing 32 percent. After two years of boot camp graduates in New Hampshire the recidivism rate was at 17 percent compared to the prisons rate of 47 percent. Illinois had a report done after three years for the graduates of boot camps and the recidivism rate was at 21 percent but the prison rate is at 34 percent. This seems to be the key when wanting to help and lower the rate of recidivism.
Proper aftercare and close monitoring will in fact help these troubled teens as you can tell by the number stated above.The future of boot camps as well as shock incarceration will grow because of their success. My feeling is that if one troubled teen is helped then it is all worth while. Why stop trying to help if the majority is not willing to change but if that one will work hard and follow what they have learned in the boot camps then we should continue what were are doing. ReferencesAnderson, J. , Burns, J. , ; Dyson, L.
, (1999). Boot Camps: An Intermediate Sanction. New York: University Press of America.Hebert, E. , ; MacKenzie, D. , (Eds.).
(1996). Correctional Boot Cmaps: A Tough Intermediate Sanction. New York: Russel.Vito, G. F. And Ellis, J.
(1985). An offender-based tacking system study of three districts in the commonwealth of Kentucky Research Report Series: No. 4).
Louisville, KY: University of Louisville, College of Urban And Public Affairs.