This report presents background information and interim evaluation results for three pilot juvenile boot camp programs in Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colo.; and Mobile, Ala.
Drawing both on a roundtable discussion convened by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and on published research, the first section of this report examines basic, critical issues in the design and operation of juvenile boot camps. These issues include the definition and goals of juvenile boot camps, findings from evaluations of adult boot camps, the selection of youth, size, design, the best model to induce behavioral change, aftercare, management and staffing, and the need for evaluation and monitoring. The second section presents the major findings of the Nation's first multisite experimental evaluation of the impact of juvenile boot camps, all of which were developed under an initiative funded by OJJDP and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. After noting differences in the three pilot programs, the report advises that all the programs encountered difficulties in their public-private partnerships; all had difficulty in establishing facilities; all experienced significant staff turnover; all learned that treatment should be continuous from the residential phase to aftercare; and all learned how difficult aftercare is to implement. Despite the programs' operational problems, significant numbers of youth in the experimental groups demonstrated important positive outcomes. Regarding recidivism, however, the recidivism rates for the boot camp and control groups were statistically comparable. Given the lower cost per offender of boot camps compared to other residential care and postrelease programs, boot camps are more cost-effective. The report cautions that these are interim evaluation results, and a longer period is needed to obtain a more reliable measure of recidivism. The report's third section reviews the lessons learned from this multisite evaluation in the context of available research, and it identifies issues for future inquiry. The report concludes with a discussion of ongoing Office of Justice Program initiatives that provide support for planning, implementing, and evaluating juvenile boot camps. 1 table, 7 figures, and a 54-item bibliography
Date Published: September 1, 1997