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Boot Camps for Juvenile Offenders: An Implementation Evaluation of Three Demonstration Programs, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
9 pages
Publication Series
This evaluation of three juvenile demonstration boot camps discusses the evaluation methodology, the programs' goals, participant characteristics, and each site's implementation activities; ideas are offered for other jurisdictions to consider when planning and implementing juvenile boot camps.
The programs were intended to serve as a cost-effective alternative to institutionalization; promote discipline through physical conditioning and teamwork; instill moral values and a work ethic; promote literacy and increase academic achievement; reduce drug and alcohol abuse; encourage participants to become productive, law-abiding citizens; and ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions. Soon after the demonstration sites were selected, evaluation efforts were begun to determine how the sites where choosing and screening participants, hiring and training staff, and establishing programs. The evaluation team's observations and data indicate that planning and implementation met the programs' goals. The sites formed active public-private partnerships, developed and refined coherent program rationales, and opened on schedule. First-year boot camp completion rates were high, ranging from 80 percent to 94 percent. Youth improved in educational performance, physical fitness, and behavior. Youths who graduated from the 3-month boot camp and remained in aftercare for at least 5 months reported positive changes in attitudes and behavior. Estimates of daily costs per youth showed that the boot camps were apparently more cost effective than State or local correctional facilities. Program weaknesses included high staff turnover as well as a lack of balance between an emphasis on military discipline and remedial education and counseling. The aftercare phase was hampered by high levels of absenteeism and noncompletion. 6 exhibits and 2 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1996