Boot Camp Offenders on Parole: An Examination of the Lasting Impact of Positive Changes Among Graduates of Pennsylvania's Boot Camp Program

Cynthia Kempinen, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing
Megan Kurlychek, The Pennsylvania State University

ABSTRACT
In 2000, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, with assistance from Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections and Board of Probation and Parole, undertook a multi-year, multi-stage (admission, graduation, and parole) survey of offenders attending the state Motivational Boot Camp Program. The Offender Survey, which is part of an on-going evaluation of Pennsylvania's Boot Camp, consists of two parts. Part I, a Self-Report Survey, is designed to focus on factors found tobe related to criminal behavior, such as substance abuse, prior criminal activity, employment history, and family stability. Part II, a Boot Camp Evaluation Survey, measures attitudinal changes along several dimensions that are addressed through the programmatic features of the Boot Camp, such as self-control, motivation for change, and decision-making. Earlier findings indicated that offenders who graduated from Boot Camp felt that they had benefited from the program, becamse less impulsive, gained better decision-making skills, and were excited about 'starting over'. This paper presents the initial findings from the parole phase to see whether these positive changes are enduring, and whether they translate into positive behavioral changes once they return to the community. In addition, we examine the relationship between recidivism and some of the factors included on the Offender Survey.

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Updated 05/20/2006