The Impact of a Correctional Boot Camp on Social Bonds: A Randomized Comparison of a Therapeutic Boot Camp and a Traditional Prison

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2007-05-17

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This paper examines the relationship between a correctional program and social bonds. Research in the field of criminology has demonstrated the importance of adult social bonds with regard to reductions in criminal behavior. However it is unclear if correctional policies can influence social bonds. This study conducts an evaluation of a correctional boot camp (CBC) in relation to its effect on commitment and attachment of incarcerated offenders, using data from the on-going Randomized Study of a Maryland boot camp. The findings show that the particular CBC studied has a weak effect on the measured social bonds. An age interaction is examined to determine if there is a greater treatment effect for older offenders. Results indicate a weak age interaction for one of the measured bonds. Overall correctional boot camps do not appear to help form or enhance social bonds. Implications and directions for future research are discussed in the conclusion.

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