Correctional Facilities

Correctional Facilities

Correctional Facilities

The juvenile justice system in the United States of America has made great developments since its establishment over a hundred years ago. Correctional programs and facilities have been designed in response to rising rates of serious crimes, as a way of correcting youthful offenders. The establishment of these programs are a task of the justice departments of individual states, and these programs therefore vary from one state to another. These correctional facilities were created with an aim to reduce recidivism, to reduce population and congestion in prisons, and to cut operations costs in prisons. These correctional facilities include detention centers, boot camps, retention centers and correctional ranches. In the context of juvenile justice, these correctional facilities are often temporary, to hold the juvenile prior to their appearance before a court or prior to their placement in one of the youth development centers.

Boot camps, commonly known as ‘shock incarceration’ were established in the 1960’s in response to increased population in prisons and a chronic shortage of bed space in these facilities. Georgia was among the first states to embrace correctional boot camps as a solution to congestion in prisons. The first correctional boot camp in the state of Georgia was established in 1990 and was named the Comprehensive Correctional Boot Camp Program. This program was created to replace the special alternative incarceration (SAI) which was Georgia’s first solution to crowding in prisons, established in 1983. The comprehensive correctional boot camp program was built on the foundations of the special alternative incarceration, which included hard work and military-like discipline.

The goals of the comprehensive correctional boot camp program were clearly stated during the establishment of the program. The first goal of this program was to relieve overcrowding in the thirty prisons in the state through diverting about twelve thousand lower risk offenders to boot camp every year. The second goal of the program was to reduce recidivism among youth offenders of the age between seventeen and thirty years through the incorporation of a structured program and intensive aftercare. To achieve these goals, the program was carefully structured to include four types of facilities. The first two were for inmates on house sentenced prison and included inmate boot camps and intensive treatment programs. The other two were for inmates on condition of probation and included probation special alternative incarceration/boot camps, and probation detention centers.

The purposes of the comprehensive correctional boot camp program included to reduce congestion in prisons in the state of Georgia, and to keep down backlog in these prisons. In addition to these, the program was designed to provide a publicly accepted degree of punishment to offenders. Another purpose of this program was to ensure safety of the public through incarceration of offenders with intensive supervision and monitoring. This program was created to cut down operating costs of prisons and to reduce recidivism among youthful offenders. To meet their goals, each of the four types of facilities were designed to fit the needs of the offenders placed in each type of facility.

Research has been conducted to establish the effectiveness of Georgia’s boot camp, which was among the first correctional boot camps in the United States of America. This comprehensive correctional boot camp program in Georgia was effective at reducing the rates of recidivism among offenders, though the reduction was by only a small percentage. The attitudes of the inmates in the boot camp varied greatly, depending on the type of facility, they were placed in. due to the availability of an intensive aftercare program for youth offenders, the transition into the community by the youth was easier, and this reduced recidivism.


Hayeslip, D. (1996). The Future of Boot Camps: Correctional Boot Camps A Tough Intermediate Sanction.

Parent, D. G. (2003). Corectional Boot Camps:Lessons from a Decade of Reasearch. U.S Department of Justice.

Rocque, M. A. (2007). The Impact of A Correctional Boot Camp on Social Bonds: A Randomized Comparison of a Traditional Prison and a Therapeutic Boot Camp. University Of Maryland.