The term boot camp was originally a colloquial term for military recruit training in the United States (Navy, Army and Marines), and the place where this training took place. The term then came to be also applied to a type of correctional facility for adolescents, especially in the U.S. penal system, and to training camps such as fitness boot camps.
The term "boot" originates from US Navy and Marine recruits in the Spanish–American War (1898) who wore leggings called boots.
Military boot campsEdit
Recruit training, more commonly known as basic training or regularly boot camp, refers to the initial instruction of new military personnel. Recruit training is a physically and psychologically intensive process, which resocializes its subjects for the demands of military discipline and service. Common features include foot drill, inspections, physical training, weapons training, and a graduation parade.
The training process resocializes recruits to the demands made of them by military life. Psychological conditioning techniques are used to shape attitudes and behaviours, so that recruits will obey all orders, face mortal danger, and kill their opponents in battle.
Inductees are required to partially submerge their individuality for the sake of their military unit, which enhances obedience to orders to perform actions normally absent from civilian life, including killing and prolonged exposure to danger.
Recruit training operates in several ways, as follows:
- Confinement and suppression
- The right of recruits to leave the military estate (or to quit the armed forces) is denied or tightly restricted. By shaving the head, issuing uniforms, denying privacy, and prohibiting the use of first names, individuality is suppressed.
- Control and conformity
- Recruits' daily routine is highly controlled. For example, the training regime determines how recruits must make their beds, polish boots, and stack their clothes; mistakes are punished.
- Stress and punishment
- The training process applies stressors continuously. Instructors may deprive recruits of sleep, food, or shelter; shout personal insults; use physical aggression; or give orders intended to humiliate. Punishments are used routinely to condition group conformity and discourage poor performance.
- Bonding and the hierarchy of esteem
- As a buffer against the stressful conditions of their training, the trainee group normally forms a strong bond of mutual loyalty. Recruits are taught to be proud of their identity as professional military personnel, and of their unit in particular.
- Aggression and objectification
- Recruit training systematically stimulates aggression, particularly in those enlisted for ground close combat roles. Recruits are taught to objectify (dehumanize) their opponent in battle.
- Fieldcraft and fitness
- Recruits are taught the basic skills of their profession. The physical fitness of recruits is tested and developed.
- Drop-out and graduation
- A large percentage of recruits drop out of training. Recruits who complete their initial training normally take part in a graduation parade.
Correctional boot campsEdit
The correctional and penal system of the United States and other countries runs correctional boot camps, especially for adolescent delinquents, that are modeled after military recruit training camps. These programs are based on shock incarceration grounded on military techniques.
Such boot camps are criticized around the world for their lack of behavioral change and for the way extreme force can traumatize children and teenagers. The aggressive training used has resulted in deaths in a variety of circumstances.
In the U.S.Edit
Presently, there are no statistics as to how many correctional boot camps there are in the U.S. In 1995, the U.S. federal government and about two-thirds of the 50 states were operating boot camp programs. In 2000, there were 51 boot camps still open. In 2010, 80% of participants were ethnic minorities.
Boot camps are intended to be less restrictive than prison but harsher than probation. However the physical and mental stress youths are subjected to in boot camps is generally higher than in prison or anywhere else.
In most U.S. states participation in boot camp programs is offered to young first-time offenders in place of a prison term or probation; in some states a youth can also be sentenced to participate in such a program. The time served can range from 90 to 180 days, which can make up for prison sentences of up to 10 years. Thus, a boot camp can be a way for a delinquent to return to freedom after going through at most half a year of extreme physical and mental stress.
Studies in the United States suggest that boot camps with a strong therapeutic component (such as education, drug treatment and counselling) have a positive effect on participants, while those that have no counselling and consist only of physical activity have a significant negative effect.
A 1998 U.S. Justice Department report said boot camp guards in Georgia routinely used extreme corporal punishment. Some boot camps have been the subject of abuse scandals. According to The New York Times there have been 31 known deaths of youths in U.S. boot camps since 1980.
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