Sunday, January 29, 2012

Childress boot camp 90% empty amidst questions about value, recidivism

A lingering anachronism from a failed social experiment, the Amarillo Globe-News ("Boot camps: Learn new or pay later," Jan. 26) describes a boot camp facility that barely receives commitments these days (370 out of 400 beds are empty), as well as debates within criminal-justice circles over whether such programs make sense given well-documented evidence that they do not reduce recidivism. Here's an excerpt from the article by Joe Gamm:
Criminal Justice officials would not permit an Amarillo Globe-News reporter access to the Roach Unit near Childress, but a prison official offered a small glimpse into life behind the fences.

“It involves physical activity and community projects,” said Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark. “They have accelerated GED projects over there. They are inmates who are sentenced through the district courts — they are not prison inmates. There are only 30 people in there right now.”

The unit has 400 beds available for the boot camp — 370 remain empty.

Boot camps were the rage nationwide in corrections circles in the late 1980s and early ’90s, but faded away as questions emerged about whether they prevented recidivism.

Studies conducted by the U.S. Justice Department, National Institute of Corrections and academia showed boot camps weren’t effective programs, said Terry Easterling, probation director for Potter, Randall and Armstrong counties.

As the programs closed, a 2003 Justice report, “Correctional Boot Camps: Lessons From a Decade of Research,” concluded that corrections officials should learn from boot camps’ failure to reduce recidivism or prison populations. The report said corrections personnel should emphasize programs to ease offenders’ re-entry or re-integration into their communities. Corrections systems should offer more treatment programs, the report said.

The camps evolved from early ’80s Scared Straight programs, said Easterling said, but probation officials remain divided about their effectiveness.
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Anonymous said...

In addition to this boot camp, the Roach Unit has about 900 TDCJ-CID beds. This post makes it sound like all it is out there is the boot camp, but that's not the case.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Fair enough; didn't mean to mischaracterize the place.

Anonymous said...

So is the boot camp 90% empty or not?

Anonymous said...

It is. I think why is because of really a select will benefit and can handle the stress. I was there in 2009 and I was pushed harder mentally and physically than I thought was possible. I took my new found mental and physical strength and applied it to the construction sight. I know with out being forged here through di strength I would crumble under the stress of work and heat. I've seen alot of people melt down, quit, or turn to drugs all resulting in the same self destructing path. As far as recommitting crimes god gave every one a soul. We all have a choice. It's up to the offender to make that call.

Inmate R Daniel

Unknown said...

I was there in 2002...the men and women there taught me discipline, honor, and respect...I have since changed my life..I now run my own business...from my own home ..with my four sons.