Although boot camps have been popular in recent years and have maintained their appeal with policymakers, corrections officials, and the public in general, results from recent evaluations suggest that the efficacy of these programs is questionable at best.
private residential facilities for juveniles often use stress-inducing phobias and fears, physical training, exposure to cold weather, sleep deprivation, nutritional deprivation, stress positions, extended isolation, forced labor, and denial of use of the bathroom to "modify the behavior" of adolescents. 9
Critics argue that staff members are ill-equipped to deal with juveniles, often resorting to psychological and physical cruelty to maintain the captor/captive dynamic.10 Critics also question whether boot camps can ultimately change the behavior of inmates, citing statistics and government reports that indicate camps fail to reform the overwhelming majority of juvenile inmates, with recidivism rates as high as 80%.11 Furthermore, abuse is "almost inevitable" as long as staff members maintain absolute authority with little to no regulation or legal restrictions. 12