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Armstrong -

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Justice Research and Policy





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This national study of juvenile correctional facilities compared the correctional environments of 25 juvenile boot camps to those of 22 traditional juvenile facilities. Data on perceived environmental conditions for juveniles and work climate for staff, as well as demographic characteristics, were collected from 1,233 juvenile correctional facility staff. While there was some regional variation, in comparison to staff employed in traditional juvenile correctional facilities, boot camp staff perceived the environmental conditions for juveniles as having significantly more activity, control, justice, structure, caring, and therapeutic programming, and believed that their releases were better prepared for the future. Boot staff also perceived their facilities as having less danger for residents and staff, as well as having less general environmental danger and risks to residents. Furthermore, boot camp staff perceived their work climates as generally more favorable than comparison facility staff. In contrast to the opinions of many boot camp critics, these data suggest that the boot camp environment has more of the environmental components suggested by psychological theorists as being necessary for effective correctional treatment.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in Justice Research and Policy on December 1999, available online:

Reuse restricted to noncommercial and no derivative uses.

This article by co-author, Gaylene S. Armstrong, was published under her maiden name, Gaylene J. Styve.

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