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Environment and Working Conditions in Juvenile Boot Camps and Traditional Facilities

NCJ Number
Justice Research and Policy Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Dated: Fall 1999 Pages: 1-22
Date Published
22 pages

This national study of juvenile correctional facilities compared the correctional environments of 25 juvenile boot camps with those of 22 traditional juvenile facilities.


Data were obtained from 1,233 juvenile correctional facility staff on perceived environmental conditions for juveniles and the work climate for staff, along with data on demographic characteristics. The 216-item staff survey contained 20 scales and 11 demographic questions. Differences between boot camps and comparison facilities were assessed using an analysis of variance model. While some regional variations were noted by staff employed in traditional juvenile facilities, boot camp staff perceived environmental conditions for juveniles as having significantly more activity, control, justice, structure, caring, and therapeutic programming. Further, boot camp staff believed their releases were better prepared for the future and felt their facilities posed less dangers and risks to residents and staff. Boot camp staff also perceived their work climates as generally more favorable than comparison facility staff. In contrast to the opinions of many boot camp critics, the data suggest that the boot camp environment has more of the environmental components suggested by psychological theorists as being necessary for effective correctional treatment. An appendix describes Environmental Conditions Scales and Work Experiences/Attitudes Scales used in the survey. 41 references, 6 tables, and 2 figures

Date Published: January 1, 1999