Boot Camps for Teens in Washington State
are teen boot camps? Teen boot camps in Washington State 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.
Teen Boot Camps in Washington State 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 teens really need to learn.
Positive changes demonstrated while in
boot camps may not last when a teen returns to his Washington State community.
Many teens 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 teens
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 camps have been consistently
unsuccessful in "changing" juveniles.
What are the alternatives?
Washington State Teens 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.