I was browsing the Indiana General Assembly’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Committee page, as one will do on a Tuesday morning. It has not posted a final report, but there were some interesting things in the October 31, 2013, minutes (pdf).
During an exchange between the committee, a question was asked about whether boot camp for juveniles was an effective form of discipline. Turns out that they are not only not effective, they are actually counterproductive.
During Committee discussion, Judge Heimann stated that an Ohio study demonstrated that boot camps caused the recidivism rate to increase. While many proponents believed that it would reduce recidivism by instilling military-style discipline, the end result was that bootcamp-trained juveniles made good tools for criminal gangs.
I had not given the matter much thought; but reading this, I am not surprised that boot camps would have a certain appeal or that they would ultimately be counterproductive. They are appealing because, for some reason, we love punishment. We fear coddling a wrongdoer. Kids these days have it too easy!
But, ultimately, throwing kids into a pool of other kids from chaotic backgrounds, yelling at them, and expecting something good to happen probably isn’t very realistic.
What I have in mind for item #2 is committee discussion under-reporting of juvenile crimes; particularly sex crimes against girls.