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Correctional Boot Camps: A Tough Intermediate Sanction

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1996
315 pages
Publication Series

Over the past several years, correctional boot camps or shock incarceration programs have mushroomed as an intermediate sanction, first in State and then in Federal prison systems and more recently in county jails.


The idea of military-style punishment as an alternative to extended incarceration is attractive because it promises financial savings through shortened sentences, it has an uncompromising image of rigorous discipline for offenders, and it frees up scarce correctional bedspace. Since the first prison boot camp programs began in Oklahoma and Georgia, the National Institute of Justice has pioneered the research and evaluation of this alternative sanction. Various approaches to boot camps nationwide are described, including the evolution of the first programs in Georgia, boot camps operated by the California Youth Authority, and the highly structured approach to shock incarceration in New York. Book chapters focus on Federal, State, and local boot camp programs and on those for both adults and juveniles. Other chapters report on boot camp programs for special populations such as women, disruptive inmates, and offenders with mental health problems. Different program models are discussed, and program design and planning guidelines are presented. Factors affecting the future growth of boot camps are noted, including political and popular interest, success in achieving program goals, and legal issues associated with the selection of program participants. References, notes, tables, figures, and photographs

Date Published: February 1, 1996