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Marine Corps Corrections Similar But Not Identical to Civilian Corrections

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 65 Issue: 7 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 62-64
Gregory J. Stroebel; John I. Hawthorne III
Date Published
December 2003
3 pages
This article discusses the Marine Corps correctional program.
Before looking at the correctional program, it is important to understand a unique characteristic of the Marine Corps. All Marines are indoctrinated and trained as basic infantry fighters regardless of their primary military occupational specialty (MOS). After completion of MOS training, corrections specialists report to their initial assignment for duty -- the most important and crucial stage. Corrections specialists may obtain advanced training in correctional specialities such as counseling, hostage negotiations, mental heath treatment, nonlethal weapons use, defensive tactics, physical security, and crime prevention. The Marine Corps maintains an active-duty structure of approximately 650 corrections specialists and manages an average inmate population of 800. A majority of this structure serves at one of the six confinement facilities operated by the Marine Corps throughout the world. The Marine Corps also operates three boot camp-style correctional programs known as Correctional Custody Units. In addition to standard correctional duties, Marine corrections specialists are assigned for duty as cross-country chasers and to direct combat support commands. Unlike civilian corrections, the military has a select and screened population from which it receives its inmates. The majority of offenders in military correctional facilities have committed crimes that are unique to the military, such as unauthorized absence, disobedience, and disrespect. These types of offenses do not exist in the civilian sector. One commonality between civilian and military corrections is the existence of drug offenders. As is the case with civilian correctional facilities, there is an increasing number of violent offenders being incarcerated in military correctional facilities, some of them serving life sentences. The military justice system has an outlet -- one with a closed door to recidivism. Once offenders have been discharged, they are no longer subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They will not be incarcerated in a military facility again. The civilian correctional system has no such outlet. This results in a high recidivism rate in civilian prisons, compared with the deceptively low recidivism rate that exists in military corrections.