Camp Consequence: Strategic Plan
Boot camps for juveniles were introduced in the 1980s as a means of deterring at risk youth without placing them into detention centers. This practice (although still used in some states) was found to be ineffective at deterring crime in juveniles. Recidivism rates were similar to community based programs and the recidivism rates were often higher than other programs by almost 8% (Department of Juvenile Justice, 2013). There ae a number of reasons that boot camps are ineffective in reducing recidivism in delinquents. One reason is that the environment often produces what is known as “probation behavior”. This is the acting in accordance with rules only to end of being released from the program. Along the same lines, the primary reason for boot camps failing to be effective can be found in the fact that “aggressive interactions between staff and youth observed in boot camps fail to model the pro‐social behavior and development of empathy that at‐risk youth need to learn” (Department of Juvenile Justice, 2013). Essentially, youth are faced with aggressive behavior rather than nurturing behavior which enables them to develop better problem solving and behavioral skills. The efficacy of juvenile boot camps is so questionable that some states such as the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice stopped supporting these programs.
In 2009, this stance on Juvenile Boot Camps would change due to promising results being made by a private program named “Camp Consequence” (Patton, 2009). This program, although privately run, was able to create successful outcomes based on changing the methodology of the original boot camp. Prior to Camp Consequence, juveniles in Florida were routinely sentenced to boot camps which attempted to instill discipline and responsibility. These camps were not effective mainly due to the fact that when juveniles left them, they returned to the environments that they came from which often were harsh, high crime areas (National Institute of Justice, 2014). Environmental and social influences would create recidivism in juveniles.
In order to combat this problem, Camp Consequence was designed as a parent and child program. By training both parents and children the odds of negative environmental influences were decreased. The program started as a private program with no state involvement but as the success of the program grew, the state became involved, making the program an alternative to sentencing children to detention centers.
Camp Consequence is a Juvenile Boot Camp program that was started in 2000 by founder Glen Ellison. The program is an adjudication alternative in which the state of Florida can ask that parents send and attend the program. The mission of camp consequence is stated as:
Our mission is to empower parents to raise respectful and productive children in order to strengthen our community, our country, and the world (Camp Consequence, 2015).
Camp Consequence partnered with the Sheriff’s office and Montgomery Correctional Facility in Nassau County, Jacksonville Florida, in 2009 (Patton, 2009). Parents with first time offender children or troubled children can attend Camp Consequence. Currently, the program serves 30 children on a rotating 90-day program. The program is managed by the founder, and support staff which consists of retired police, military, and volunteers (Camp Consequence, 2015). The ratio of children to counselors are 7/1. There are 12 counselors and a 6-person security staff which makes rounds as well as monitoring surveillance video on rotating shifts (Camp Consequence, 2015). Unlike other correctional programs, Camp Consequence does not accept children with juvenile records. The program is entirely preventative or offered as an alternative to parents and children for first time offenses. The current demographic of the program are children ages 7 through 17.
The Strategic Plan
If Camp Consequence is going to be a model program for the State of Florida, the program will need a strategic plan to accomplish the goal of serving a larger population. The following objectives would need to be met in order to expand the program to serve an additional 500 children per year which is an approximate 500% increase in juveniles:
- Alter the organizational structure of the program to meet the needs of larger population of juveniles.
- Expand the size of the camp by hiring more personnel to meet the state requirements of 7 children to 1 security staff.
- Expand into larger facility.
- Provide more financial assistance to families which are on limited budgets.
The current organizational structure for Camp Consequence is too small to accommodate a prolonged partnership with the state of Florida or to manage communication between juveniles, staff, and parents. A new organizational structure is needed which will be more horizontal in nature with multiple security staff and counselors working with larger numbers of children.
By flattening the organizations structure, Camp Consequence will be able to utilize its human resources more effectively. This reduces communication delays between staff in a more hierarchal structure.
Size Of The Camp
The size of the camp will increase by 5 times the current size. There are security concerns with the size of the camp. Larger numbers of juveniles will mean more supervision and the increased likelihood of negative events such as fighting. In order to accomplish this task and minimize risk to juveniles, supervision protocols need to be put in place concerning staff and juvenile movements and ratios of staff to juveniles at any given time. These same protocols will need to be applied with parents. The legal standard of 7/1 juveniles to security should be operationalized.
Expand into Larger Facility
The current Montgomery correctional facility is not sustainable for large populations of juveniles. This is an adult facility and Camp Consequence is only using a small area of the facility for the camp. The increased population of juveniles in close proximity to an adult facility is not wise. The current facility was given on a $1 lease and it is possible to seek assistance from the state to use a different facility or land area. Grants should also be explored as well as private companies.
Because the target population is typically on limited incomes, a larger more comprehensive financial assistance program is needed. State grants for juvenile education programs are a likely candidate for increasing funding. However, grants from the state will increase public oversight and may impact operations by requiring different human resources and policies as funding requirements.
In order to ensure the Camp Consequence strategic plan is meeting its goals, a system of control must be implemented. The most effective means of oversight would be to implement a budgeting system. This will be necessary for using public funding. Performance budgeting provides a means of measuring performance along with cost. This type of budget measures a cost per outcome. The cost going into the particular budget (inputs) are weighed against the outcomes or (outputs) (Young, 2003). This conversion and comparison of inputs and outputs is the measure used to evaluate the budgets efficiency and success. This could be used in the program objectives.
Another method that could be used is Social Return on Investment. SROI does not have an immediate benefit that can be seen in ROI (Young, 2003). ROI can be broken down into tangible dollars and cents were as SROI is more intangible (Young, 2003). Despite this issue with SROI, the measure is still vital because it provides a benefit that goes beyond the financial nature of the program or service.
Unlike boot camps of the past, Camp Consequence offers an alternative method to dealing with juvenile delinquency. By creating a strategic plan for expanding this program, it will be possible to reach a larger demographic of juveniles in Florida. This could have a significant positive impact on the future of juvenile corrections by lowering cost and reducing recidivism rates in the state.
Camp Consequence. (2015). FAQ. Retrieved from The Parent Help Center
Department of Juvenile Justice. (2013, August). JUVENILE BOOT CAMP PROGRAMS. Retrieved from Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
National Institute of Justice. (2014, March 14). Recidivism. Retrieved from National Institute of Justice
Patton, C. (2009, December 19). Program for dealing with unruly kids gets new home. Retrieved from Jacksonville:
Young, R. D. (2003, January). Performance-Based Budget Systems. Public Policy & Practice, 12.