Boot camps, also known as shock incarceration treatments, became increasingly popular in the United States as a reaction to the rising juvenile crime rates in the past two decades. The general public made the juvenile justice system its scapegoat and critiqued it for being too lenient on the youth. As a result, the "get-tough" reform was introduced into the juvenile courts, and alternative methods of incarceration and rehabilitation were explored in order to meet the needs of the youth. Subsequently, the idea of boot camps rapidly increased in popularity. The widely-touted aim for the boot camps was to be able to provide a harshly disciplinarian environment in exchange for a shorter incarceration period. The short intense duration of these programs is designed to "jolt" young first-time offenders out of criminal behavior.
[...] The results concluded that attending boot camps did not make an impact on lowering the rate of recidivism as compared to the juveniles who were under intense parole supervision (Styve, et al 215). Another study conducted by Styve, MacKenzie, Gover and Mitchell, titled Perceived Conditions of Confinements, had similar effects. Instead of comparing boot camp inmates to paroled inmates however, they compared them to teenagers who went through the more traditional process of jail time. “State pairs” were created in which each boot camp was compared with the prison that would have housed the juveniles if the boot camp had not been in operation. [...]
[...] In this way, if similar studies were conducted where recidivism rates are the benchmark for the success of correctional facilities, shock incarceration should have a higher success rate (Styve, et al 214-15) A noteworthy aspect of boot camps that deserves mention is the probable violation of the Eighth Amendment in certain facilities. As previously stated, the public would only support shorter sentences if they are harsher and more focused on correction. However, many boot camps have been cited as using cruel and unusual punishments as part of their correctional procedures. [...]
[...] Even though the boot camps were started with the intention of providing an alternative method of rehabilitating first time offenders, studies have disproved any correlation between being sent to boot camp and having a lower rate of recidivism. This paper will explore the studies that came to this sobering conclusion. To their credit, many shock incarceration institutions attempted to minimize the interactions of many antisocial youth being confined in one place. This had been one of the primary criticisms of boot camps in the beginning. [...]
[...] Though the boot camps do try to prevent antisocial youth from associating with each other, in line with Sutherland and Creesey's theory about differential association, perhaps the better strategy would to not place all the focus there. Since the studies have shown that the youth are rehabilitated during their stay inside the boot camps, and it is their reincorporation back into society that holds the temptation for recidivism, more emphasis should be placed on the transition rather than the ideologies inside. [...]
[...] The general consensus remains that while boot camps are effective in terms of rehabilitating the youth who go through them, they are not any more effective than traditional forms of incarceration. This conclusion is based on the comparison of recidivism rates upon release from the respective correctional facilities (Styve, et al 304). While this result is relatively unanimous however, there remain problems and possible chances of error associated with the methods of data collection, as well as the duration of the studies. [...]
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