1960s and 70s, and the US Army Correctional Training Facility (CTF)

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:

  1. The confinement of military prisoners; and
  2. 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.

References:

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.

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4 thoughts on “1960s and 70s, and the US Army Correctional Training Facility (CTF)

  1. I was there in 1969. When they asked me what I would like to do in the army I said supply clerk. At that time I didn’ know it would come true. They sent me to Vietnam and stayed in a base camp in Pleiku. I actually enjoyed it never had to fight. Didn’t think it was really fair for the people who joined the army for two extra years and still didn’t get what they asked for mos. guess when they tell you never volunteer for anything that’s what they mean.

  2. I was there in 1968 or 69
    The odds of you and me being there in those same 8 weeks would be astonomical, but lets see.
    Harry were you there when we ate a “different” kind of meat
    for dinner? The base Commander joined us in the mess hall,
    and after dinner we were told we had a different kind of meat but didn’t say
    what meat it was.
    Also do you remember the alternate MOS choice meeting, where we chose what might make us want to stay in the
    Army. I chose the most sought after on the list, Aviation Mechanic and got it.
    That is probably the only thing that really stands out for me
    Went from there to Fort Rucker Alabama for Aviation mechanic School,
    working on Helicopters and Fixed wing aircraft.
    You?

  3. Was there in 68 or 69…actually was pretty cool… No harassment in my class… It started after my class…Was also in Ft Devens and Ft Dix stockade….Guess I was young and stupid… E-mail for any info…

    1. Hi Harry,

      Might have to agree with you on that one (LOL). Any comments on your experiences would be appreciated (your thoughts, the curriculum, etc). I am in the (slow) process of updating ‘the history of boot camps’.

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