Pubdate: Sun, 03 Jun 2001
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2001 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: Greg Schorr


I write in response to Bob Ray Sanders' May 25 column which supported 
continued funding of "boot camps" for young criminal offenders. I agree 
with Sanders' call to maintain the funding for drug treatment as there is 
significant evidence that treatment of drug abusers is a much more 
cost-effective method than simple and costly incarceration. However, I 
disagree with Sanders' support for "boot camps." There is little evidence 
that boot camps are successful at preventing or reducing recidivism and 
there are serious problems throughout the United States with the abuse of 
inmates in these programs.

Citing a study by the Koch Crime Institute, an article that appeared in the 
Jan. 2, 2000, Orange County Register said: "... recidivism among boot-camp 
attendees ranged from 64 percent to 75 percent, slightly higher than for 
youths sentenced to adult prisons." This same article also mentioned 
problems of abuse in the states of Colorado, North Dakota and Arizona which 
were severe enough that they dropped their programs, while Florida and 
California were scaling back theirs, and Maryland was undergoing a stunning 
revelation of abuse within its own boot-camp program.

It is tantalizing to implement programs thinking that we are doing 
something about a problem, but the final analyses should be based on solid 
evidence and that evidence indicates "boot camps" are not effective and 
prone to serious problems of abuse.

Greg Schorr
The Woodlands
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