Juvenile Boot Camps Juvenile Boot Camps: The Modern Alternative Juvenile delinquency is not anything new; it is a problem that has plagued our society for the past two hundred years. Juvenile delinquency is believed to have started with the emergence of industrialization and urbanization. This same phenomenon later appeared in other countries as they began to modernize as well (Bernard 6). In the past juvenile care facilities and juvenile detention centers attempted to contain the problem of juvenile delinquency. These past attempts have failed. The modern alternative, juvenile boot camps, might turn out to be an effective way of combating the problem.
The Juvenile Justice System plays a major role in combating juvenile delinquency. According to Donald J. Shoemaker, a juvenile is any person under the age of eighteen who commits any illegal act whether criminal or status, (3). It is within this system that juvenile delinquency is analyzed by looking at the situation from outside. A perfect example of how this system works is by looking into a pond; a person sees a fish and the world in which it swims in, while the fish in the pond cant see the overall world it swims in (Bernard 11).
This is how the Juvenile Justice System works. They look at juvenile delinquency from outside to get a better view as well as a better understanding of the overall problem. Within the Juvenile Justice System there are five constants that have remained the same for the past two hundred years. People may think these constants have changed when they compare them to earlier days but over all they havent changed. The first constant says regardless of whether crime is high or low at a particular 8 time or place juveniles, especially young males, commit a greater proportion of the crime than would be expected from their proportion in the population, says Thomas J. Bernard (Bernard 22).
The juvenile crime rate fluctuates as the juvenile population fluctuates. While there may be a drop in the proportion of arrests that juveniles are involved with the rate of juvenile arrests has remained relatively constant, (Bernard 23). The second constant states that there are special laws that only juveniles are required to obey. These laws are referred to as status laws because they only apply to people with a juvenile status (Bernard 25). These kind of laws involve running away from home, refusing to attend school, refusing to obey parents, drinking alcoholic beverages, violating curfew, etc.(Bernard 26).
Adults are allowed to move out of their houses or quit school. A juvenile who commits such an offense can be punished for being involved with the same activities and end up being sent to a juvenile institution. The third aspect that has remained constant is that juveniles are treated more leniently than adults when they commit the same offense. Usually when a juvenile commits a crime the punishment isnt as severe as when an adult is convicted of the exact same crime. In most states a person under the age of eighteen who commits an offense is sent to a juvenile court to be tried, many courts go on the concept of less responsibility, therefore less punishment, (Bernard 29).
This may be true in most states but in some states there are offenses that are automatically sent to adult court. From there the juveniles lawyer tries to argue that the offense was committed due to immaturity. Many people believe that the current group of juveniles commit more frequent and serious crime than juveniles in the past, meaning there is a juvenile crime wave, at the present time (Bernard 31). People have always believed that there is a juvenile crime wave going on and that thirty to forty years earlier it was never this bad. Peoples impressions of how bad juveniles are has always been the same. The major difference between now and earlier times is the seriousness of offenses committed.
The offenses 8 committed today are much more serious than ever before; with murder and burglary added onto the list (Bernard 33). Many people blame the Juvenile Justice policies for the supposed juvenile crime wave, (Bernard 34). People argue that justice policies are too lenient or that they are too harsh. This is a belief that the Juvenile Justice System increases juvenile crime by not having a good balance between. At times serious offenders were given lenient sentences which almost encourages them to try to get away with the same crime again.
In other cases minor offenders may be given harsh sentences which could harden them. This could increase a minor offenders likelihood of committing crimes in the future. Taking into account these five constants the Juvenile Justice System came up with a new alternative to help the problem of juvenile delinquency. This new alternative was juvenile boot camps. The first of these boot camps was set up in Oklahoma and Georgia in 1983 (Alleman and Gido 206). Florida and New York then followed by opening up there own juvenile boot caps.
Towards the 1990s the idea of boot camps began to flourish. In 1992 a survey said twenty-six state correctional systems were operating forty-two juvenile boot camp programs. At this rate it is predicted that there will be juvenile boot camps set up in all fifty states by the year 2000 (Zaehringer 1). The basic set up of a juvenile boot camp involves military style training. Military style training is one of many characteristics that intrigue people. In order for this type of a juvenile institution to be called a boot camp it must have the military style training.
The strict atmosphere has attracted a lot of attention due to the strong visual impact. Footage of drill sergeants yelling in the faces of young boot camp participants presents quite a provocative image (Alleman and Gido 206). Within these military style boot camps there are two levels of goals. These include system level goals and individual level goals. System level goals are goals the Juvenile Justice System plans to accomplish by using juvenile boot camps. Individual level goals 8 are goals the Justice System plans to accomplish within each individual offender who enters a juvenile boot camp (Ortiz and Selke 99). The goals of the Juvenile Justice System within boot camps vary greatly.
One goal is to reduce prison overcrowding. Juvenile boot camps are a lower level prison for juveniles. The goal is to place the juvenile in a boot camp rather than in the harsh world of prison life. This helps save space in prisons for serious criminal offenders. The less violent atmosphere of a boot camp is also better for the rehabilitation of a young offender (DiCancio 200).
Juvenile boot camps are also looked at as an alternative to long term incarceration. The short term cycles of boot camps have proven to be just as effective as prisons. Although they have not proven to be more effective when it comes to return offenders. Both short term boot camp cycles and long term prison sentences have a sixty to seventy percent recidivism rate. Although boot camps are still a modern alternative; th …