Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Leslie R. Bloom

Second Advisor

Deborah W. Kilgore


Juvenile crime and school violence continue to be the focus of widespread discussion in the United States. Each time a school shooting occurs, the public outcry is sounded and the message is "get tough on crime." Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is overwhelmed with the number of offenders and re-offenders. The overflow of criminals coupled with the frustration of recidivism has led to development of alternative correctional practices. One such alternative is the juvenile boot camp. This study examines the structure of a juvenile boot camp through the eyes of those who experienced it. The study follows two cohort groups of boys as they progress through a ninety day program. Data at the boot camp was collected using qualitative methodology. Thus, information for this study was collected through observations, focus group interviews, one-on-one interview sessions, and follow-up meetings.;By drawing on the work of Erving Goffman on "total institutions," an analysis of the boot camp as a total institution was constructed. The purpose of this analysis was to determine how youth who have offended respond to the power and control of the institution. In addition, an understanding of how the youth responded to the experiences at the camp and made meaning from those experiences, was developed. The intent was to interpret whether the learning that occurred at the camp was truly what had been intended.;While at the boot camp, it was found that most boys realized personal success, were able to develop at least one positive relationship with an adult, and were able to recognize and reform inappropriate thought patterns and behaviors. This study at Lakeview Academy found that a great deal of learning occurred while the boys were at the camp. However, because the learning was forced and under controlled circumstances, for the most part, it was not transferred or generalized when the boys were released to their home environment. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the boot camp, as experienced by the respondents of this study, was determined by the will of the boy, the existence and effectiveness of aftercare programs, and the amount and type of support from the family. While a great deal of learning occurred, much of it was not the intended learning of the stated camp goals.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Susan Annette Meade



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205 pages