Florida re-examines ‘boot camps’ for juveniles

”These places are terrible, they have been shown to be unsuccessful, and they should be shut down,” said state Rep. Gustavo ”Gus” Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican who chairs the House Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee, and heads a separate committee that is investigating the treatment of youth in state care. “I think they should be eliminated.”

“Boot camps” for juvenile offenders have persisted for years due to pressure from sheriffs, despite empirical evidence that the camps don’t work.

[The Department of Juvenile Justice’s] records show about 62 percent of the youth who graduate from one of the state’s boot camps are arrested again for some type of offense — a recidivism rate experts call very high. Other programs for moderate-risk kids, such as wilderness camps, also have high re-arrest rates, but some, such as halfway houses, are much lower.

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