Literature Review on Boot Camps for Teenage Offenders Paper Example

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  999 Words
Date:  2022-08-23

Boot camps are spread in different locations all over the country with an intention of rehabilitating teenage offenders through harsh tactics that are appropriate in a military set up. Various stakeholders concerned with the welfare of the teenage offenders have always questioned the effectiveness, or lack of it thereof, of the military-style treatment of juvenile criminals. Previous research have delved on this issue with the key question remaining as to whether the entire concept of boot camps as a means of rehabilitating teenage offenders is necessary at all. This literature review will explore four distinct studies to identify the boot camp issues under study and their corresponding findings as far as teenage offenders are concerned.

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Benjamin Dane Meade and Benjamin Steiner (2010) undertook a comprehensive study to comprehend the total effects of boot camps that house juvenile offenders. They claim that boot camps were introduced in the United States back in the 1980s and their popularity has soared with regard to being correctional facilities. They undertook the research on the different boot camp programs that are funded and operated by the state. The authors managed to examine the aggregate effects of boot camps on the public perceptions about boot camps, recidivism, jurisdiction-level impacts on available bed space, and the attitudes of the teenage offenders towards the boot camp programs. This duo, in their research findings, established that boot camps do not have a specific impact on the recidivism of participants, they do not improve neither the behavior nor attitude of the teenage offenders, they have become less prevalent unlike before, and the need to save costs has seen boot camps reduce the bed space.

Originally designed as an effective social welfare model, the boot camp program from teenage offenders has taken a turn for the worse due to its punitive tactics, according to Jacqueline Anita Black (2016). This is intriguing because teenage offenders have the highest incarceration rates in America yet they are not responsible for the most violent crimes in the country. The boot camps are being used as a deterrent measure which makes it hard to gauge its effectiveness in rehabilitating teenage offenders. In this study, the author sought to understand the effectiveness of incarceration on recidivism rates for juvenile offenders. The study established that teenage offenders exhibited reduced recidivism whenever their sentences of incarceration was relatively longer. The research also found that teenage boot camps were not effective as a deterrence as they only increase recidivism. The author calls for policy makers to conform to widespread research that incarcerating minors in boot camps does not deter crime nor does it promote public safety.

The various approaches through which different administrations around the world tackle crime and violence are increasingly coming under public scrutiny. Barretto, Miers, & Lambie (2018) did this research to compare the opinions of people who have been victims of teenage offenders and those who have not had such an experience. The study also needed to understand how the deterrence and punishment of youth offences may be enhanced. The majority of the people within the general public opined that rehabilitation was the effective way to address teenage crime while other punitive and preventive approaches were suggested as secondary options. The section of the public who had been victims of juvenile crime strongly supported preventive measures while non-victim members of the public seconded punitive approaches to tackling juvenile offenders. The complexity of the issue is also evident in a substantial percentage of research participants who advocated for a multidimensional approach comprising of both preventive and punitive measures.

Kubra Gultekin and Sebahattin Gultekin (2012) also observe that the early 1990s was a time when boot camps became popular as an alternative option to conventional probation and prisons. They were touted as the future of teenage rehabilitation due to the reduced recidivism and costs associated with boot camps. Repeat offenders within the society were expected to reduce drastically just like was the costs associated with operating the camps. Aftercare services and rehabilitative approaches present in the boot camps were instrumental in rehabilitating the behavior and attitudes of the teenage offenders. The popularity of the boot camps emanates from the overwhelming public support accompanied by politicians who have legislated funding policies for the facilities. Nonetheless, the boot camp program that is two decades old has been challenged through numerous researches whose findings indicate that they are ineffective in the overall reduction of future repeat offenses of the juvenile offenders, costs of operation, and in positively altering the behavior of teenage offenders.


The harsh military tactics applied by administrators in running the boot camps that house juvenile offenders have been a subject of interest for researchers over the years. Different scholars, in their findings, have continued to write off the boot camps for teenage offenders because their overall effectiveness in deterring, punishing, and rehabilitating criminals is negligible. There are schools of thought that believe the boot camps only serve to escalate the issue further since crime in the society at large continues to rise irrespective of the juveniles detained in the boot camps. This literature review believes that there are knowledge gaps that need to be explored further to fully comprehend the effectiveness of boot camps in rehabilitating teenage offenders.


Barretto, C., Miers, S., & Lambie, I. (2018). The views of the public on youth offenders and the New Zealand criminal justice system. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 62(1), 129-149. doi: 10.1177/0306624X16644500

Black, J. A. (2016). Understanding the effectiveness of incarceration on juvenile offending through a systematic review and meta-analysis: Do the "get tough" policies work? Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences - Department of Justice and Human Services.

Gultekin, K., Gultekin, S. (2012). Is juvenile boot camp policy effective? International Journal of Human Sciences [Online], 9:1.

Meade, B. D. & Steiner, B. (September 2010). The total effects of boot camps that house juveniles: A systematic review of the evidence. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(5): 841-853. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.06.007

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Literature Review on Boot Camps for Teenage Offenders Paper Example. (2022, Aug 23). Retrieved from

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