An experimental study of a therapeutic boot camp: Impact on impulses, attitudes and recidivism

Doris Layton MacKenzie, David Bierie, Ojmarrh Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Two hundred thirty four adult male inmates entering prison were randomly assigned to an early release program in either a correctional boot camp or a large, traditional prison in the Maryland state correctional system. Boot camp releasees had marginally lower recidivism compared to those released from the traditional prison. A pre-test, post-test self report survey indicated the boot camp program had little impact on criminogenic characteristics except for a lowering of self control. In contrast, inmates in prison became more antisocial, lower in self control, worse in anger management, and reported more criminal tendencies by the end of their time in prison. Criminogenic attitudes and impulses were significantly associated with recidivism. The impact of the boot camp diminished to non-significance when antisocial attitudes or anger management problems were added to the models predicting recidivism. Implications for jurisdictions considering whether to operate correctional boot camps are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-246
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anger management
  • Antisocial attitudes
  • Boot camp prisons
  • Correctional boot camps
  • Correctional treatment
  • Corrections
  • Recidivism
  • Self-control
  • Shock incarceration programs
  • Therapeutic prisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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