Juvenile Boot Camps
are juvenile boot camps? Juvenile boot camps
are correctional programs for delinquent youth in a military-style
environment. These programs typically emphasize discipline
and physical conditioning and were developed as a rigorous
alternative to longer terms of confinement in juvenile
correctional facilities. Many, but not all, of these programs
are followed by a period of probation or some form of
aftercare. Boot camps are generally restricted to non-violent
or first-time offenders.
The idea of "shock incarceration"
as a tough, low-cost alternative to more intensive
programming brought about the establishment of military-style
boot camps for troubled teens.
Boot Camps Effective?
Experts agree that a confrontational approach is not appropriate.
Most correctional and military experts agree that a confrontational
model, employing tactics of intimidation and humiliation,
is counterproductive for most youth in the juvenile justice
system. The use of this kind of model has led to disturbing
incidents of abuse. For youth with emotional, behavioral,
or learning problems-degrading tactics may be particularly
inappropriate and potentially damaging. The bullying style
and aggressive interactions that characterize the boot
camp environment fail to model the pro-social behavior
and development of empathy that these youth really need
Positive changes demonstrated while in the boot
camp may not last when a youth returns to his community.
Many juveniles report that the program is helpful to them
and they feel more positive about their futures. It is
unclear, however, whether these attitudinal changes persist
after youth leave the boot camp, or whether they are related
to actual changes in behavior once a youth returns to
his community. Without significant therapeutic intervention
while in the program, as well as specialized aftercare
following release, boot camp programs have been consistently
unsuccessful in "changing" juveniles.
What are the alternatives?
Youth who need some form of treatment care require an
individualized approach that takes their strengths and
needs into account. Programs and policies should be family-centered,
including the family in all decision making about a child,
as well as culturally and developmentally appropriate.
Research has shown that small, family-centered programs
are more effective than boot camps in the long term.
Give us a quick call and together we
can discuss the best course of action for your child.
We can be reached any time at 1-866-590-6816.