Are we getting the boot camp thing yet?

I found this article concerning the death of a Florida boy at one of the state's boot camps. Surveillance cameras show the boy was beaten to death by staff at the camp. The original autopsy found the boy died of a rare blood disorder. The family petitioned renowned pathologist Dr. Baden to review the case. He found the boy's death to be caused by the beating. This is the follow up article.

The harrowing images captured by a surveillance camera showed that the black teenager was beaten to death by drill instructors at a Florida boot camp.

An official coroner blamed natural causes, but yesterday the truth began to emerge as a second post-morten established that Martin Anderson, 14, had met a violent death. His tragic fate and the subsequent cover-up have renewed calls for boot camps to be closed across the US.

The boy's parents had asked for the body to be exhumed after footage from security cameras was found showing seven instructors raining down "hammer strikes" on his limp body. A camp nurse is seen in the video standing by and watching with her hands on her hips.

I think the article is especially important for us in Mississippi right now because of the fight concerning our state's training schools. Currently, they would like to change these schools into treatment centers. All evidence shows that intensive treatment/counseling works better than military style boot camps.

I am a HUGE supporter of this.

This article contains the statistics concerning the effectiveness of training schools and boot camps.

Boot camps operate on the philosophy that offenders must be broken down through military-style drills before they can be built back up. Almost a third closed between 1995 and 2000 after opening in 27 states from the 1980s.

Accusations of brutality by guards, and statistics proving the inefficacy of a system that had been heralded as a means of reducing crime, saw the regime fall from favour.

A report commissioned by the US Department of Justice in 2003 concluded that while participants recorded positive changes in attitude, behaviour, problem-solving and coping skills, the benefits were only short term. In the long term, there was no impact on recidivism rates, it said.

Two years later, the US Bureau of Prisons decided to close its 14-year boot camp programme, which at its peak involved 7,000 inmates in 27 states. But a number of states have stuck by their own programmes, including Florida, despite figures from the Juvenile Justice Department showing that the state's recidivism rate has increased.

This is an article regarding the lawsuit filed against MS training school because of similiar behavior towards the children.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. R. Alexander Acosta, assistant attorney general for civil rights, said negotiations between federal and state officials failed to address the problems identified in a year-long federal investigation of the Oakley Training School in Raymond and the Columbia Training School in Columbia.

Oakley houses about 325 boys and Columbia houses about 200 boys and girls. Most are non-violent offenders. The average stay is two to three months.

Among the abuses uncovered: suicidal girls were stripped naked and placed in solitary confinement in a dark cell with only a drain for a toilet, boys were forced to run with mattresses strapped to their backs, girls who threw up while running in the heat were forced to eat their vomit, and youths were tied to poles or hog-tied.

What I need to know is this...If these camps have been proven over and over again to lack effectiveness, WHY are our camps still operating?

This discussion of changing the camps to treatment centers has been going on for a while.

Its time to actually DO IT.

Here is Donna Ladds Blog entry on this case a while back. This was before Dr. Baden reviewed the case and found the boy's death to be caused by a beating.

Here is Adam's article from November concerning Melton's idea to put children in two week boot camps and the subsequent statement by the MS Schoolhouse to Jailhouse.

Here is Brian's interview with Ellen Reddy concerning the boot camps.

Previous Comments


Followup: In response to the death, Florida is shutting down its juvenile boot camp system. Cheers, TH

Tom Head


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