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Evaluation of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Drug Treatment Boot Camp, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
106 pages
This report presents findings from an evaluation of a well-established juvenile drug treatment boot camp in Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles County Drug Treatment Boot Camp is one of the longest continuous-running boot camp programs in the Nation, since its inception in 1990. The program enrolls only male offenders between the ages of 16-18 who were either documented or alleged drug users with sustained petitions by the juvenile court for non-violent and non-sex offenses. In an effort to overcome common methodological problems of earlier studies, this evaluation project used a combination of official and self-report measures to assess the effectiveness of the program with data gathered at different points in time. Multiple outcome measures were used to gauge program effectiveness in reducing recidivism, probation revocations, self-report delinquency, drug use, participation in conventional activities, and changes in pro-social attitudes. While the study found some significant improvement in a few outcome measures based on self-report data, it was difficult to attribute any of the progress to the boot camp treatment program. Instead, most of the important outcomes could be explained by such non-programmatic variables as prior delinquency involvement, substance abuse activities, positive family relationships and attitudes. The boot camp graduates in this study were almost identical to those of the comparison group in re-arrests or convictions. The only significant difference on official measures was that the boot camp participants were more likely to have probation revocations than the comparison. The findings from this project support the conclusion from the existing literature that juvenile boot camps as a treatment model are probably not any more effective than most existing juvenile programs. Results from the self-report data in this study may have added additional confusion to the pool of findings that is already complex and difficult. Additional study implications for future research strategies and correctional policy are discussed. References and Tables

Date Published: February 1, 2000