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Examining the Effectiveness of Boot Camps: A Randomized Experiment with a Long-Term Follow Up

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 42 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2005 Pages: 309-332
Jean Bottcher; Michael E. Ezell
Date Published
August 2005
24 pages
This study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of the California Youth Authority's (CYA's) juvenile boot camp and intensive parole program, called LEAD.
While juvenile boot camps were highly touted in the early 1990s as offering an effective alternative to traditional juvenile detention, disappointing evaluation reports and well-publicized tragedies brought up questions about the efficacy of juvenile boot camps. Unfortunately most evaluations of boot camp programs have relied on nonrandomized comparison groups and have not examined long-term outcomes. The current study drew on long-term arrest data provided by the California Department of Justice (CDOJ) in August 2002 to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the CYA's LEAD program, which was previously evaluated in-house before complete outcome data were available. The analysis compared the arrest data of 348 LEAD participants with that of 284 control participants for approximately 7.5 years following release. Results of survival models and negative binomial regression models indicated no significant differences between the LEAD participants and control participants in terms of time to first arrest and average arrest frequency. Thus, the LEAD boot camp and its intensive aftercare program did not reduce long-term recidivism among juvenile offenders. Tables, figure, notes, references