Kentucky's boot camp program for youthful offenders, known as First Incarceration Shock Treatment (FIST), is described and evaluated, with emphasis on the boot camp concept, program content and cost, and participant characteristics and experiences.
Goals of the FIST program are to help young first offenders change their attitudes toward crime so they can become productive citizens upon release; to ease prison crowding and make additional beds available in secure facilities for violent offenders; to offer more individual and group counseling, individualized educational programming, and substance abuse counseling than are offered to the general prison population; and to improve health and physical stamina through a demanding schedule. The capacity of the FIST program is 50 inmates, 40 men and 10 women. Inmates are admitted in 25-person platoons at 2- month intervals, thereby accommodating about 150 inmates per year. The FIST program is a 127-day program offered to offenders who have at least 4 months remaining to parole eligibility and who have a maximum sentence of 10 years. The rigorous daily schedule includes physical training, individualized academic programs, a 120-day substance abuse program, a living skills program that emphasizes employability skills, work details, community meetings, and military drill and ceremony. The cost of the program is estimated at $40.67 per day per bed, based on a 45-average daily bed census, or $36.60 per day per bed, based on a 50-average daily bed census. The average daily per bed rate for an adult medium-security institution in Kentucky is comparable, falling between these two estimates at $34.39. An evaluation of FIST indicates the program is an effective intermediate sanctions intervention that targets male and female offenders between 17 and 29 years of age. The selection process for boot camp participants is detailed, and aftercare for FIST graduates is discussed. Appendixes contain the FIST program questionnaire, a physical fitness test, program exit and parole questionnaires, orientation and mental health screening forms, a mental health screening clinical interview outline, and a program eligibility review form. 24 references, 25 tables, and 2 figures
Date Published: January 1, 1996