Does Pennsylvania's Motivational Boot Camp Program Reducing Recidivism?

Cynthia Kempinen, Pennsylvania State University
Megan Kurlychek, Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania's Motivational Boot Camp was established in 1992 with the intent of providing an alternative program of rehabilitation that would lead to a reduction in crime. This paper presents the findings from a study that assessed whether this goal is being accomplished. Our sample consisted of 508 offenders who graduated from the Boot Camp, but were released from traditional prison during those two years. We looked at both technical violations and new crime convictions as measures of recidivism with a tracking period consisting of a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years. Consistent with research conducted in other states, our bivariate analysis provided evidence that Boot Camp graduates were more likely than offenders released from prison to commit technical violations and less likely to commit new crimes. In our logistic regression analysis, however, we found no difference in the recidivism of offenders going to Boot Camp or prison. The most significant finding was that employed offenders were significantly less likely to recidivate than those who were unemployed.

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Updated 05/20/2006