HD54 - The Feasibility of Implementing Locally Operated Boot Camps for Juvenile Offenders

  • Published: 1993
  • Author: Virginia State Crime Commission
  • Enabling Authority: House Joint Resolution 162 (Regular Session, 1992)

Executive Summary:
The Crime Commission's Subcommittee III received the final staff report on the study of the feasibility of implementing locally operated boot camp programs at its November 17, 1992 meeting. The subcommittee approved the report for consideration by the full Commission. At its December 8, 1992 meeting, the Commission reviewed and approved the subcommittee's report, including its findings and recommendations.

House Joint Resolution 162 (1992), sponsored by Delegate Franklin P. Hall, directed the Crime Commission to "study the feasibility of implementing a locally operated boot camp program in the City of Richmond for non-violent juvenile offenders." Additionally, HJR 162 directed the Commission "to review the Department of Corrections boot camp program for its adaptability to a local juvenile center, detention home or. any other facility for the secure detention of a juvenile offender; determine the criteria for assessing the need for a locally operated boot camp program; and review the fiscal impact of implementing and operating a locally operated boot camp program."

During the course of the study, Commission staff conducted site visits to detention facilities and programs in Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia. In addition, an informal study group was established to share information and discuss program proposals.

At its initial meeting, Subcommittee III drafted and unanimously adopted a resolution which supports the concept of local juvenile boot camp programs and the establishment of a local pilot program. The resolution recognizes that such a program may be established under existing law, provided that the Board of Youth and Family Services approves the guidelines for such a program.

Subsequent research conducted by Commission staff revealed that, according to the preliminary results of a national study, the jury is still out regarding the effectiveness of existing boot camp programs. However, the Commission did identify several components which, when emphasized in a single program, enhance the chances for juvenile rehabilitation but fall short of a traditional boot camp program. Such "alternative" juvenile programs are being put into action across the nation by both private and public sector service providers. The Commission endorsed a program model that would incorporate discipline, education, treatment, vocational training, life skills training, community involvement, special recognition and hard labor in a regimented schedule of daily activities. Additionally, the program would provide aftercare services to insure the smooth transition of the juvenile into the community upon release.