Boot Camps for Young Offenders Boot Camps for Young Offenders
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Boot Camps for Young Offenders
Boot Camps for Young OffendersWhat are Young Offender 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 Young Offenders.

Boot Camps for Young OffendersAre Boot Camps for Young Offenders 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 to learn.

Positive changes demonstrated while in boot camps may not last when a Young Offender returns to his community. Many young offenders 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 camps have been consistently unsuccessful in "changing" Young Offenders.

What are the alternatives?
Young Offenders 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.


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