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  • Boot Camp Justice for Juvenile Offenders

    After the crime rate for those under the age of 17 doubled in a five year period, Camp Stop, a military-style boot camp, was opened. This program aims to deal with juvenile offenders and steer them away from a life of crime. Fourteen-year-old Norton G. explains why he was incarcerated. Sgt. Major Richard Hurt believes boot camp can make a positive difference in kids’ lives. While life is harsh at Camp Stop, it cannot compare with life in Georgia prisons in the 1930s. Scenes from the movie I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, based on a book about Georgia prisons, show how the mistreatment of prisoners led to prison reforms.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Explain the role of discipline in society.

    2. Research and explain the kind of economic impact imprisonment can have on a community.

    3. Why is Camp Stop run like a boot camp?

    Expansion

    1. As a class, discuss whether you think this is a good way to both punish and correct young offenders. The class should examine the pros and cons of other methods they propose to deliver juvenile justice.

    Vocabulary

    juvenile: a person who is not yet old enough to be legally considered an adult
    boot camp: a type of correctional facility for adolescents, especially in the US criminal justice system
    spartan: marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort in reference to the classical inhabitants of Sparta, Greece
    fugitive: a person who is running away to avoid being captured
    barracks: a building or group of buildings in which soldiers live

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Explain the role of discipline in society.
    Discipline should be exercised appropriately to teach people right from wrong. It can provide structure and order to one's life and sets expectations for members of a community. 

    2. Research and explain the kind of economic impact imprisonment can have on a community.
    Jails and prisons are costly to maintain and staff, which are all paid for by taxpayers. While it's important to keep communities safe, Camp Stop hopes to prevent at-risk juveniles from coming to prison as adults. 

    3. Why is Camp Stop run like a boot camp?
    Camp Stop's goal is serve as a wake up call to young juvenile offenders. Its military-like organization offers discipline and structure to these kids, but also offers few amenities or freedoms. The camp leaders hope that kids will turn their lives around. Those who enter the program will leave with new skills and never want to return to Camp Stop or any other correctional facility. 

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