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Stovall's sister had attended the New Jersey Youth Challenge in 2007, and the program sounded like something he could benefit from, too. The teenager enrolled in the program, established by the National Guard in 1993, to help young men and women between the ages of 16 and 18 who have dropped out or been expelled from school.
Once there, students participating in the free program are brought in for a "100 percent boot camp procedure," according to deputy director Samuel L.
Cadets, who apply through an application on the internet and go through a thorough interviewing procedure, are brought in for haircuts, issued "challenge" uniforms, and ushered into a tough, two week pre-challenge routine that some describe as the toughest time there.
Stovall, who enjoys math and social studies ("I like history"), says he learned self-discipline through the program, which has a non-negotiable wakeup time of 5 a.m. A quick tour of the barracks reveals a well-organized home and learning center for the cadets, who participate in the 22-week program if they survive pre-challenge.
Jord'n Singh, 17, of Trenton, was referred to the program by his guidance counselor at Trenton Central High School. Hayes added that once a cadet graduates from the academy, the staff and selected mentors stay with them for a year to help them make career choices.
Many parents see the change immediately as the youths return for holiday breaks or weekend furloughs, Hayes said.
Robyn Lincoln does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.


The Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, has authorised a tender process for the operation of two youth boot camps. In the wake of calls for the operation of boot camps to solve problems of youth crime, it is instructive to examine what they are, what inspires them and what the research evidence reveals about their outcomes.
There was a proliferation of boot camps in the USA in the 1980s and 1990s, where millions of dollars were diverted to their operations. While the camp programs vary, the common features of these residential programs are that they are established on militaristic lines with an emphasis on deference to authority, conformity, intimidation, isolation, and concentrated physical training. The very concept of a boot camp is based on the notion of individual responsibility for crime and anti-social behaviour. During the 1990s in particular and in the USA specifically, a number of studies were conducted into the effectiveness of boot camps.
Of course given the variety of boot camp philosophies and the practices of their daily regimes some caution needs to be exercised about the research evidence. Thus several decades of evaluations of boot camps has demonstrated quite conclusively that they are not effective in reducing recidivism and have marginal impact on cost-savings. At a school at Fort Dix they are given a second chance to earn a General Educational Development (GED) diploma, career counseling, mentoring, structured activity, and a safe refuge from the streets. The school hosts job fairs, for example, and has guidance counselors readily available on campus to guide them through any issues they may have, personally or scholastically.


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The camps, aimed at 13 to 17 year olds, are to be trialled in Cairns and on the Gold Coast for a two-year period.
The Brumby Government proposed school-based camps for Victoria in 2010, and both the Northern Territory and Western Australia have flirted with such programs as early as the 1980s.
In addition, trying to conduct any truly robust research is difficult and rarely are quasi-experimental designs used (that is, random allocation of youth to boot camp versus a range of other interventions that are then followed up in the long term).
However the findings remain, that there were no significant differences on re-offending measures between those who attend a correctional boot camp and those who did not. A hallway of classes offers a glimpse into the cadet's daily life: a computer room available for research, well-organized classrooms, and a recreation area complete with a library of diverse donated books, a full-screen television, videos and a table soccer game. Many cadets are employed soon after graduation, with others exploring the option to work for the program or join the military.



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