Friday, February 27, 2009

Boot camps don't work

That's the conclusion of principal Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft. Examining the effectiveness of military-style training camps for youth offenders, he calls them "arguably the least successful sentence in the Western world":

"It made them healthier, fitter, faster, but they were still burglars, just harder to catch, " Judge Andrew Becroft said.

He said physical programmes backed up by mentoring and family support could work, but New Zealand's corrective training camps, which ran up till 2002, found 92 per cent of young attendees reoffended within a year.

"It was a spectacular, tragic, flawed, failure," he said.

What does seem to work is intensive mentoring and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. But that sort of thing a) costs money; and b) doesn't get win any votes from the pedophobic "law and order" crowd. So instead we waste millions on an ineffective policy implemented essentially as a PR stunt. It's like something from an episode of The Hollowmen...