Paper on Boot Camp Debate

This essay has a total of 1171 words and 7 pages.

Boot Camp Debate


The Boot Camp Debate



In any of today's society no matter where you look there will be some evidence of crime
present. This statement derives from a sociologist theory that says no society can exists
without crime. The government is constantly looking for new ways to deal with these
reoccurring problems. The focus has been placed upon the government to look into young
offenders and the style used to punish them. Weapons possession is quite common among the
youth, at least in urban Canada, between one-third and one quarter of students surveyed
indicated that they had carried some form of weapon at school over the previous year. Data
drawn from Statistics Canada has revealed that the number of reported incidents of violent
crimes by males aged 12-17 have risen 64% and more than doubled for females during the
decade beginning in 1989 and ending in 1999. A study conducted in Southern Ontario,
exploring student perceptions of violence in schools, revealed significant levels of fear
relating to possible victimisation. It is these more serious crimes involving young
offenders that the government has been forced to deal with. Many suggestions have been
made and many bills have been voted on but still no "sure fire" solution to the problem
exists. The latest idea brewing in Parliament is the use of boot camps to punish young
offenders; however others believe sending young offenders to boot camp is not the answer
and there are more efficient ways to correct their negative behaviour.




The newest "brain-storm" that politicians have dwelled upon is sending young offenders
that commit serious offences to boot camp. The first question that comes to mind is what
is a boot camp? A boot camp is an alternative place to send youths between the ages of
12-17 who commit serious criminal offences. Boot camps have five basic goals: (1)
incapacitation, (2) deterrence, (3) rehabilitation, (4) reduction of prison costs and
crowding, and (5) punishment (Colledge & Gerber, 1998). These facilities are designed to
resocialize the "bad-boys" and "bad-girls" into citizens that will be accepted back into
society. The plan is to use a military style to punish the kids and in return teach them
discipline and transform them back to law abiding citizens . "Punishment ranges from
rigorous exercise - running extra laps around the barracks with a pack on, combinations of
sit-ups, chin-ups and pushups - reduced meals or meals outdoors, and work detail, such as
digging a whole alone outside for a week" (Simpson, 1996, p. A1). The government feels
that with these military style boot camps the percentage of violent crimes by young
offenders will begin to decrease.




On the other hand, there is another group of people who do not support the idea of
installing a boot camp system into the criminal legislation. First of all the idea of boot
camps was instituted in Britain. The results were not even close to what the British
Government expected. There was barely even a change in the reduction of the percent of
young offenders involved in violent crimes. This raises the thought of what will make the
results in Canada any different from those found in Britain. The people against boot camps
seem to be believers in the fact that jail and boot camps aren't the best way to punish a
young offender. "Instead, they said, there needs to be a stronger focus on discouraging
conditions which lead to criminal behaviour through school and neighbourhood programs. And
when a crime is committed by a 12-17 year old, there should be alternative punishments to
jail" (Honywill, 1996, p. N1). The critics of boot camps also believe that to stop crime
there has to be a lot more attention paid to prevention and nothing else. "Dr. Mark
Sandford of McMaster University, said anti-social behaviour takes many years to develop
and cannot be solved by quick solutions such as jail or the so-called boot camps, where
young people are forced to do strenuous labour during a period of incarceration"
(Honywill, 1996, p.2). The decision the critics have come to is boot camps are not the
right way to go and there has to be other options open for the punishment of young
offenders.



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