This report evaluates the Los Angeles County juvenile drug treatment boot camp.
The study used a combination of official and self-report measures that gathered data at different points in time to assess the effectiveness of the drug treatment boot camp as a correctional model for juvenile offenders with a focus on their substance abusing behavior. It presents findings from an evaluation of a well-established juvenile drug treatment boot camp in Los Angeles County, CA. The program enrolled only male offenders between the ages of 16 and 18, who were either documented or alleged drug users with sustained petitions by the juvenile courts for non-violent and non-sex offenses. The boot camp residents and a comparison group had very similar patterns in subsequent arrests and sustained petitions (as juveniles) or convictions (as adults). During the post-camp phase, boot camp subjects reportedly engaged in more delinquent activities, particularly theft related offenses. The two groups were much alike on most community integration measures. While there was some significant improvement in a few outcome measures based on self-report data, the study found it difficult to attribute any of the progress to the boot camp treatment program. Instead, most of the important outcomes could be explained by such non-programmatic variables as prior delinquency involvement, substance abuse activities, positive family relationships, and attitudes. Despite the lack of any consistent improvement in behavioral as well as attitudinal outcomes, significantly more boot camp subjects reportedly enjoyed their experience. This study disclosed that: (1) the integrity of a project depends on the agency commitment to the project at both management and line officer level; (2) timing of project implementation is crucial; and (3) alternative methods or contingency plans must be integrated into any evaluation design as well as corresponding budgetary concerns. Figures, tables, references, appendixes
Date Published: February 1, 2000