Correctional Boot Camps

A new method of punishment

The novel Holes by Louis Sachar takes place mainly in a correctional boot camp. Boot camps dedicated to educating convicted or hard-to-educate youth have been introduced in the United States starting from the late 1980s/early 1990s. The name is taken from the training facility where U.S. Marines complete their military and exceedingly rigorous basic training. Boot camps are operated by both government and private entities. They mainly represent a form of the criminal justice system.

Minors can be placed in boot camp in two different ways: Juvenile offenders who have not committed a felony, such as murder or manslaughter, may choose to stay in a boot camp, avoiding a significantly longer sentence in a prison. But even minors who have not been legally convicted can end up in a boot camp. Parents have the option of committing their enrolling they consider the children unmanageable.

Depending on the boot camp operator, there can be significant differences in how it is run. However, the basic principle of any boot camp is to teach discipline and respect, as well as patriotism. Discipline is the top priority. According to the US Marines' concept of military training, young people are to be re-educated to become respectable members of society through methods that are considered controversial, such as physical exertion and humiliation.

The critical living conditions in the camps

Correctional boot camps are considered highly controversial. In the 2000s, a number of abuse cases became public, and there were even deaths in various boot camps. It is believed that at least 31 teenagers have died in boot camps since 1990. In 2004, the death of 15-year-old Robert Reyes caused a media uproar. He was suffering from ...

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