Juvenile Confinement - Juvenile Boot Camps

offenders justice programs facilities

Boot camps for juvenile offenders began around 1985, when such a program was established in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. By 1995, states operated thirty juvenile boot camps, while larger counties across the country operated another eighteen camps in local jails. Boot camps for juveniles are typically intended for "mid-range" offenders—those who have failed with lesser sanctions like probation but are not yet hardened criminals. Juvenile programs typically exclude some types of offenders, such as sex offenders, armed robbers, and youths with a record of serious violence. Definitions of terms like "nonviolent" vary from program to program. Boot camps initially had three main goals: reducing recidivism among juvenile offenders, reducing prison populations, and reducing costs.

TABLE 7.5
Number of inmates under age 18 held in state prisons, by gender, selected years 1990–2003
SOURCE: Paige M. Harrison and Jennifer C. Karberg, "Table 5. Number of Inmates under Age 18 Held in State Prisons, by Gender, June 30, 1990, 1995, and 1999–2003," in Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2003, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2004, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/pjim03.pdf (accessed April 3, 2005)

Inmates under age 18
Year Total Male Female
2003 3,006 2,880 126
2002 3,038 2,927 111
2001 3,147 3,010 137
2000 3,896 3,721 175
1999 4,194 4,027 167
1995 5,309 * *
1990 3,600 * *
Note: Federal prisons held 39 inmates under age 18 in 1990, but none in 1995 and 1999 to 2003.
*Not available.

TABLE 7.6
Characteristics of youths and adults in state prisons, 1998
SOURCE: James Austin, Kelly Dedel Johonson, and Maria Gregoriou, "Table 7. Characteristics of State Prison Inmates, 1998," in Juveniles in Adult Prisons and Jails: A National Assessment, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, October 2000, http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/bja/182503.pdf (accessed April 3, 2005)

Youths Adults
Number Percentage Number Percentage Total
Offense/crime
Persons 2,772 57% 473,821 44% 476,544
Property 974 21% 216,756 20% 217,730
Alcohol related 135 3% 20,457 2% 20,592
Drug related 467 10% 210,975 20% 211,442
Public order 185 4% 40,468 4% 40,653
Parole/probation 79 2% 90,260 8% 90,339
Unknown 92 2% 5,676 1% 5,768
Other 85 2% 13,327 1% 13,412
Total 4,739 100% 1,071,740 100% 1,076,479
Race/ethnicity
Asian 65 1% 11,056 1% 11,121
Black 2,706 55% 497,343 48% 500,050
White 1,309 26% 355,960 35% 357,269
Hispanic 689 14% 156,782 15% 157,471
Native American 176 4% 9,421 1% 9,597
Total 4,945 100% 1,030,562 100% 1,035,507
Housing type*
Single cell 1,019 30% 120,221 22% 121,240
Double cell 670 19% 193,754 35% 194,424
Dormitory 1,757 51% 237,801 43% 239,559
Total 3,446 100% 551,776 100% 555,222
Note: Discrepancies in totals are due to rounding.
*Housing type statistics are reported for 21 states that house juveniles in adult correctional facilities.

Most juvenile boot camps share the 90–120-day duration typical of military boot camps. They employ military customs and have correctional officers acting as uniformed drill instructors who initially use intense verbal tactics designed to break down inmates' resistance.

TABLE 7.7
Juvenile offenders in residential placement, by offense, 1999
SOURCE: Melissa Sickmund, "More than One–Third of Juvenile Offenders in Residential Placement Were Held for Person Offenses," in "Juvenile Offenders in Residential Placement, 1997–1999," in Juvenile Offenders and Victims National Report Series Fact Sheet #07, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 2002, http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/ojjdp/fs200207.pdf (accessed April 3, 2005)

Juvenile offenders in residential placement Percent change 1997–99
Most serious offense Number Percent
    Total juvenile offenders 108,931 100 3
Delinquency 104,237 96 5
Person 38,005 35 7
Criminal homicide 1,514 1 −21
    Sexual assault 7,511 7 34
Robbery 8,212 8 −13
Aggravated assault 9,984 9 5
    Simple assault 7,448 7 12
Other persona 3,336 3 50
Property 31,817 29 −1
Burglary 12,222 11 −3
    Theft 6,944 6 −5
    Auto theft 6,225 6 −5
    Arson 1,126 1 23
    Other property 5,300 5 13
Drug 9,882 9 6
    Drug trafficking 3,106 3 2
    Other drug 6,776 6 9
Public order 10,487 10 8
Weapons 4,023 4 −4
    Other public order 6,464 6 17
Technical violationb 14,046 13 12
Violent Crime Indexb 27,221 25 3
Property Crime Indexb 26,517 24 −3
Status offense 4,694 4 −32
aOffenses against other persons include kidnapping, violent sex acts other than forcible rape (e.g., incest, sodomy), custody interference, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, harassment, and attempts to commit any such acts.
bTechnical violations include violations of probation, parole, and valid court orders. Violent Crime Index offenses include criminal homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property Crime Index offenses include burglary, theft, auto theft, and arson.

Boot camps emphasize vigorous physical activity, drill and ceremony, and manual labor. The offenders are allowed little free time and strictly enforced rules govern all aspects of conduct and appearance. Because of state-mandated education rules, programs spend a minimum of three hours daily on academic education. Most programs also include some vocational education, work-skills training, or job preparation.

In a study of three boot camps in Cleveland, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, and Mobile, Alabama, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention found high rates of program completion among those randomly assigned to the camps. There were also improvements in the academic performance of boot camp participants, with over 80% of those attending the Mobile camp showing a rise of one grade level. Unfortunately, the recidivism rates between the experimental groups who attended boot camp and control groups who did not attend showed that the boot TABLE 7.8
Juvenile residential facilities by state, 2000
SOURCE: Melissa Sickmund, "In October 2000, 4 in 10 Juvenile Facilities Were Publicly Operated and Held 70% of Juvenile Offenders in Custody," in Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2000: Selected Findings, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, December 2002, http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/ojjdp/196595.pdf (accessed April 3, 2005)

Juvenile facilities Offenders younger than 21
State All facilities Public Private All facilities Public Private
U.S. total* 3,061 1,203 1,848 110,284 77,662 32,464
Alabama 46 12 34 1,583 926 657
Alaska 19 5 14 339 261 78
Arizona 51 16 35 2,248 1,752 398
Arkansas 45 11 34 639 295 344
California 285 116 169 19,286 17,551 1,735
Colorado 73 12 61 2,054 1,112 940
Connecticut 26 5 21 1,360 900 460
Delaware 7 3 4 295 246 49
Dist. of Columbia 17 3 14 272 159 113
Florida 166 53 113 7,278 3,269 4,009
Georgia 50 29 21 3,270 2,593 677
Hawaii 7 3 4 122 107 15
Idaho 22 14 8 580 470 110
Illinois 46 26 20 3,402 3,074 328
Indiana 97 41 56 3,334 2,239 1,095
Iowa 76 18 60 1,166 395 771
Kansas 51 17 34 1,185 831 354
Kentucky 58 31 27 950 757 193
Louisiana 64 20 44 2,663 2,105 558
Maine 17 3 14 300 248 52
Maryland 43 11 32 1,492 690 802
Massachusetts 71 18 53 1,481 567 914
Michigan 108 42 66 3,896 1,782 2,114
Minnesota 121 22 99 1,922 986 936
Mississippi 20 19 1 787 785 2
Missouri 65 57 8 1,540 1,290 250
Montana 18 8 10 260 173 65
Nebraska 23 6 17 789 577 212
Nevada 15 10 5 1,176 750 426
New Hampshire 8 2 6 193 123 70
New Jersey 57 45 12 2,274 2,171 103
New Mexico 27 19 8 885 838 47
New York 210 59 151 5,081 2,883 2,198
North Carolina 67 27 40 1,555 1,237 318
North Dakota 13 4 9 203 105 98
Ohio 106 71 35 4,890 4,342 548
Oklahoma 52 14 38 1,034 535 479
Oregon 48 27 21 1,637 1,415 222
Pennsylvania 163 29 134 5,085 1,241 3,844
Rhode Island 11 1 10 360 211 149
South Carolina 42 16 26 1,592 1,072 520
South Dakota 22 9 13 646 365 265
Tennessee 63 28 35 1,824 1,041 783
Texas 138 77 61 8,354 6,475 1,879
Utah 51 17 34 1,135 453 682
Vermont 5 1 4 158 26 132
Virginia 74 62 12 2,868 2,616 252
Washington 42 31 11 2,064 1,938 126
West Virginia 27 6 21 381 241 140
Wisconsin 94 27 67 2,017 1,271 746
Wyoming 24 2 22 379 173 206
Note: State is the state where the facility is located. Offenders sent to out-of-state facilities are counted in the state where the facility is located, not the state where their offense occurred.
*U.S. total includes 158 offenders in 10 tribal facilities. These offenders were located in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

camp experience had little effect. As for saving costs, a 1999 study of boot camps in four states (Final Report: Boot Camps' Impact on Confinement Bed Space Requirements, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC, August 30, 1999) showed some savings in the number of prison beds required in three of the four states: "Washington and South Dakota saved a substantial number of prison beds, while Oregon's boot camp achieved a modest bed space savings."

Several factors seem to have a direct bearing on the success or failure rates for boot camp participants, including the length of the sessions and the amount of post-release supervision. In a study of many boot camps across the country (Correctional Boot Camps: Lessons from a Decade of Research, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, June 2003), it was reported that:

  • Participants reported positive short-term changes in attitudes and behaviors; they also had better problem-solving and coping skills.
  • With few exceptions, these positive changes did not lead to reduced recidivism. The boot camps that did produce lower recidivism rates offered more treatment services, had longer sessions, and included more intensive post-release supervision. However, not all programs with these features had successful results.
  • Under a narrow set of conditions, boot camps can lead to small relative reductions in prison populations and correctional costs.

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almost 4 years ago

im writting for our daughter,she is sickley has hep.c and has one son 14 that is giving her trouble by drinking and smoking pot and will not mind her at all and she is wanting a place to send him to try to straiten him out befor he ends up behind bars.please send us information on your places and we need one in georgie.thanks grand dad.