Impact of Correction Boot Camps on Recidivism: A Systematic Review

David B. Wilson, University of Maryland at College Park
Doris Layton MacKenzie, University of Maryland at College Park
Suzanne Kider, University of Maryland at College Park

Correctional boot camps were opened in adult correctional systems in 1983. Since that time they have rapidly grown in both the adult and juvenile correction systems. The programs are modeled after basic training in the military and typically require inmates to follow a strict daily schedule of activities including drill and ceremony, physical labor, and physical training. This systematic review conducted for the Campbell Collaborative examined the extant literature on the effectiveness of correctional boot camps. The overall finding was a near zero average effect of boot camps relative to alternative correctional programs on recidivism across the 28 studies identified for this review. Programs differed, however, in the emphasis placed on physical activity, military training or therapeutic programming. The moderating effects of these programmatic elements and study design features on the recidivism effects were explored.

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Updated 05/20/2006