In 1968, the US Army Correctional Training Facility (CTF) was established at Fort Riley, Kansas, in response to public demands during the mid-1960s that society should attempt to rehabilitate criminals in confinement rather than just confine them. Its mission was to return military inmates to duty with improved attributes and motivation through intensive training, supervision and correctional treatment. It has been described as the first boot camp or ‘shock incarceration’ programme.
The CTF instigated stockade confinement in response to a growing number of offender populations and their high rates of discharge (there were significant manpower needs due to the Vietnam War) (Anderson et al., 1999). The CTF subjected offenders to both physical and mental stressors which included: road marches, obstacle and confidence courses, field training exercises, continuing observations and evaluations of teamwork and peer pressure, all with an emphasis on high demanding standards of performance.
Throughout the eight week programme drill sergeants and correctional specialists supervised individual progress. However, despite the apparent success of the programme, reduced manpower needs (due to the ending of the war), attracting qualified personnel (only high school graduates and above) and the quality of recruiting (reduced need for confinement and rehabilitation) led to the demise of the CTF boot camp programme (Anderson et al., 1999).
The US military correctional system has a two-fold mission, which is to provide for:
- The confinement of military prisoners; and
- The correctional treatment of military prisoners.
This system operates on a corrective rather than a punitive basis, and in 2002 the US military had the fifth lowest inmate population in the US and confined 170 inmates per 100,000 service members, compared with the US national average of 701 inmates per 100,000 residents (Haasenritter, 2003).
The British Army Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC), located in Colchester, was established during the Second World War and was reopened after refurbishment in 1988. It serves a function identical to its US counterpart in terms of corrective treatment rather than being a prison. The MCTC maintains a broad range of vocational, educational and military training activities for detainees, and even a farm, with each detainee receiving an individual training plan.
Although the MCTC can accommodate 323 detainees it rarely exceeds 180, and in January 2012 it held 87 detainees per 100,000 service members (HMIP, 2012) compared with the UK national average of 116 inmates per 100,000 residents.
Anderson, J.F., Dyson, L. & Burns, J.C. (1999) Boot Camps: An Intermediate Sanction. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America.
Haasenritter, D.K. (2003) The Military Correctional System: An Overview. Virginia, USA: American Correctional Association.
HMIP (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons) (2012) Report on an Announced Inspection of the Military Corrective Training Centre: 11-18 January 2012. London: HMIP.