Entering And Exiting

Since most boot camps have strict requirements about who is eligible for the camp, inmates are carefully evaluated prior to being sent there. Most programs require participants to sign an agreement saying they have volunteered. They are given information about the program and the difference between a boot-camp prison and a traditional prison. The major incentive for entering the boot camp is that the boot camp requires a shorter term than a traditional prison sentence.

The first day of the boot camp involves a difficult in-take process, when the drill instructors confront the inmates. Inmates are given rapid orders about the rules of the camp, when they can speak, how they are to address the drill instructors, and how to stand at attention. The men have their heads shaved; the women receive short haircuts. This early period of time in the boot camp is physically and mentally stressful for most inmates.

The programs last from 90 to 180 days. Those dismissed prior to graduation are considered program failures. They are either sent immediately to a traditional prison to serve a longer term of incarceration or they are returned to court for resentencing.

Offenders who successfully complete the boot camp are released from prison. After graduating, offenders are supervised in the community for the rest of their sentence. There is usually an elaborate graduation ceremony when inmates demonstrate the military drills they have practiced. Many programs encourage family members to attend the graduation ceremony.

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