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Countywide : 'Boot Camp' for Youths Is Studied

August 09, 1995|SHELBY GRAD

The county's Probation Department received a $30,000 federal grant this week aimed at helping develop a "boot camp" for teen-age offenders that would serve as an alternative to prison.

Backers said the camps are more effective than traditional detention in preventing young criminals from becoming repeat offenders. The camps stress physical labor, teamwork, drug counseling and education.

"The boot camp would provide structure and a supportive environment," said Chris Rizzuto, of the U.S. Justice Department. "But it would definitely be punishment. There's no question about that."

Orange County will use the grant to study the boot camp concept and determine how much it would cost to build such a facility. The Probation Department also will identify a possible location for the camp and examine funding sources, spokesman Ron Speer said.

Most boot camps around the country are designed for nonviolent teen-age offenders, Rizzuto said. Inmates take part in rigorous exercise programs and help maintain the camps. Drug rehabilitation therapy and job training also are offered.

The county was among 40 areas to receive a total of $21 million in boot camp grants from the Justice Department. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno announced the grants on Monday.

The grants were created as part of the 1994 Crime Bill.

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