Juvenile delinquency is a relatively new phenomenon. For this reason, society’s reactions and solutions to the problem of delinquency are also modern developments. The United States developed the first youth court in 1899 and is now home to many new and formerly untested methods of juvenile rehabilitation and correction. One of many unique programs within the Juvenile Justice system, boot camps are institutions designed to keep delinquent juveniles out of traditional incarceration facilities and still provide a structured method of punishment and rehabilitation. Boot camps developed in the early 1990s and quickly proliferated throughout the nation. Specifically, they are “…short-term residential programs modeled after military basic training facilities” (Meade & Steiner, 2010). Designed with the goal of reducing recidivism and preventing violent offenses, boot camps target non-violent individuals under the age of 18 and typically exclude already violent offenders. In theory, boot camps apprehend juveniles while they are committing minor delinquency and prevent more-serious crime by “giving the juvenile offender a more optimistic, community oriented outlook” (Ravenell, 2002). Fundamentally, boot camps have four central purposes; rehabilitation, punishment, deterrence, and cost control (Muscar, 2008).
Boot Camps: Origination and Development
While quasi-military correctional facilities are a form of social control that society has used for hundreds of years, modern boot camps have a very brief history. In 1974, the United States enacted the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA hereafter). The act contained four central mandates:
First, status offenders, youths who commit offenses that would...
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...matic review of the evidence. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38, 841-853.
Muscar, J. (2008). Advocating the end of juvenile boot camps: Why the military model does not belong in the juvenile justice system. UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy, 12(1), 2-50.
Ravenell, T. E. (2002). Left, left, left, right left: The search for rights and remedies in juvenile boot camps. The Colombia Journal of Law and Social Problems, 35(4), 347-371.
Shoemaker, D. J. (2009). Juvenile delinquency. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Tyler, J., Darville, R., & Stalnaker, K. (2001). Juvenile boot camps: a descriptive analysis of program diversity and effectiveness. The Social Science Journal, 38, 445-460.
Wiatrowski, M.D., Griswold, D.B., & Roberts, M.K. (1981). Social control theory and delinquency. American Sociological Review, 46(5), 525-541.
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