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Types of Confiement Facilities for Juvenile offenders

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Boot camps, ranches and wilderness camps, reception and diagnostic centers, and training schools are the four main long-term confinement facilities used to house juvenile offenders.

Boot camps for juvenile offenders began around 1985 in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. By the mid 90's there were over 50 boot camps within the United States. These boot camps were designed for the mid-range offenders, those that had failed with lesser sanctions such as probation but has of yet become hardened criminals. Although there has been some reported success for boot camps, allegations of physical and emotional abuse resulted in a number of boot camps being closed.

Wilderness camps originated from forestry camps for youthful offenders, established in the1930's in California and the Outward Bound model begun in Wales during World War II. There are many variations of the program but most involve physical and emotional challenges that help develop positive self-esteem in the participants. Some programs have shown considerable effectiveness in reducing recidivism.

Reception and diagnostic centers were designed to evaluate and diagnose juvenile offenders for best placement in training facilities. Although they should be separate from the training facility, often due to financial restraints, they are one and the same. The juvenile usually receives more attention during their stay at these centers than at any other time of their incarceration. They will receive psychological evaluation, medical and dental treatment, and intelligence testing to determine best placement.

Training schools can either be minimum, medium, or maximum-security facilities. While the stated emphasis is rehabilitation, the reality is that the training schools provide safe, secure, and humane environment for the detention of the juvenile offender. Some facilities do provide training in job related areas plus improvement in education. Treatment programs also include drug and alcohol treatment, psychotherapy and behavior modification.


Bartollas, C. , & Miller, S. J. (n.d.). Juvenile Justice in America. Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall., Juvenile-Confinement-JUVENILE-BOOT-CAMPS, 05 Feb 2011 Confinement-Juvenile Boot Camps



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