Posts Tagged ‘boot camp’

“Prisoner work camps run in military style under study by N.S.,” The Globe and Mail. October 13, 1983. Page 10.

SYDNEY, N.S. – SYDNEY, N.S. (CP) – Most people convicted in Nova Scotia courts lack discipline, pride and motivation and those who aren’t dangerous would benefit from work camps run in army fashion, Attorney-General Harry How said yesterday.

Mr. How said his department will consider the idea of work camps for convicts when it takes over the operation of correctional centres from municipalities next year.

The minister told delegates to the annual conference of the Atlantic Provinces Criminology and Corrections Association that jailing “the disadvantaged person who turned to crime” brings him in touch with dangerous criminals who are likely to be the worst influence.

But probation is not the answer either, Mr. How said, because “they would be going back to the same underdisciplined and unmotivating environment that got them into trouble in the first place.” In 1979, he recommended developing a special corps of the Canadian Forces for non-dangerous criminals, but the Defence Department did not like the idea. “Some said it would reflect badly on the armed services,” the minister recalled.

Mr. How said he still believes the idea is a good one and if it cannot be implemented at the national level he will pursue it in Nova Scotia. “We have to motivate people and we have to give them the vision without which they would perish. ’‘These people aren’t bad. These people need somebody, some mechanism, or some program to give them a new sense of worth and a new sense of motivation.” Mr. How said the program could be run by a former army officer who would give criminals the disclipline and physical work they need to develop strong bodies. High school and trades teachers would be available to “excite their minds.” The program could develop projects in forestry, park development and the cutting of fuel wood for senior citizens, but would not intrude on the regular job market, Mr. How said.

Dennis Finlay, a spokesman for the Correctional Services Canada, said he knew of no one in the federal department developing a similar program of work camps.

But Mr. Finlay noted that the federal service already has forestry camps in Nova Scotia for inmates and is looking at eventually setting up an isolated penal community, which he said may be modelled on an island penal community in Mexico.

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The New Penology – INNOVATIONS

“Our description may seem to imply the onset of a reactive age in which
penal managers strive to manage populations of marginal citizens with no
concomitant effort toward integration into mainstream society. This may
seem hard to square with the myriad new and innovative technologies introduced
over the past decade. Indeed the media, which for years have portrayed
the correctional system as a failure, have recently enthusiastically
reported on these innovations: boot camps, electronic surveillance, high
security “campuses” for drug users, house arrest, intensive parole and probation,
and drug treatment programs. 

Although some of the new proposals are presented in terms of the “old
penology” and emphasize individuals, normalization, and rehabilitation, it is
risky to come to any firm conviction about how these innovations will turn
out. If historians of punishment have provided any clear lessons, it is that
reforms evolve in ways quite different from the aims of their proponents. Thus, we wonder if these most recent
innovations won’t be recast in the terms outlined in this paper. Many of these
innovations are compatible with the imperatives of the new penology, that is,
managing a permanently dangerous population while maintaining the system
at a minimum cost. 

One of the current innovations most in vogue with the press and politicians
are correctional “boot camps.” These are minimum security custodial facilities,
usually for youthful first offenders, designed on the model of a training
center for military personnel, complete with barracks, physical exercise, and
tough drill sergeants. Boot camps are portrayed as providing discipline and
pride to young offenders brought up in the unrestrained culture of poverty (as
though physical fitness could fill the gap left by the weakening of families,
schools, neighborhoods, and other social organizations in the inner city). 

The camps borrow explicitly from a military model of discipline, which has
influenced penality from at least the eighteenth century – 

the prison borrowed from the earlier innovations in the organization of spaces and bodies undertaken by the most advanced European military forces.   No doubt the
image of inmates smartly dressed in uniforms performing drills and calisthenics
appeals to long-standing ideals of order in post-Enlightenment culture.
But in its proposed application to corrections, the military model is even less
appropriate now than when it was rejected in the nineteenth century; indeed,
today’s boot camps are more a simulation of discipline than the real thing.  

In the nineteenth century the military model was superseded by another model of discipline, the factory. Inmates were controlled by making them
work at hard industrial labor. It was
assumed that forced labor would inculcate in offenders the discipline required
of factory laborers, so that they might earn their keep while in custody and
join the ranks of the usefully employed when released. One can argue that
this model did not work very well, but at least it was coherent. The model of
discipline through labor suited our capitalist democracy in a way the model
of a militarized citizenry did not. 

The recent decline of employment opportunities among the populations of
urban poor most at risk for conventional crime involvement has left the applicability
of industrial discipline in doubt. But the substitution of the boot
camp for vocational training is even less plausible. Even if the typical 90-day
regime of training envisioned by proponents of boot camps is effective in
reorienting its subjects, at best it can only produce soldiers without a company
to join. Indeed, the grim vision of the effect of boot camp is that it will
be effective for those who will subsequently put their lessons of discipline and
organization to use in street gangs and drug distribution networks. However,
despite the earnestness with which the boot camp metaphor is touted, we
suspect that the camps will be little more than holding pens for managing a
short-term, mid-range risk population.” 

– Malcolm M. Feeley & Jonathan Simon, “The New Penology: Notes on the Emerging Strategy of Corrections and Its Implications.” 30 Criminology 449 (1992), pp. 463-464.

Image is: “Inmates jog laps aound their barracks They are in a High Impact Incarceration Program at Rikers Island, mid-1990s.

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In policing reforms in the nineteenth century, there was a pronounced effort
to restructure the subjectivities of police constables by installing disembedding
technologies. Technologies like drill and prohibitions on gossiping on
the beat had the intention of insulating the constable from horizontal influences
and accesses and of muting his reliance on personal charisma. It was the
aim of nineteenth-century reforms to build a vertical pillar of authority
through which police officers would be graduated up, thus ensuring constables’
dependence on institutional sources for communitarian intimacy and
personal validation. At the same
time, the welfare state was promoted as a vehicle in the standardization of
individuals (their citizenship), and police were also agents of this discourse
of standardization. The police institution in which the
subjectivity of the police officer was shaped therefore stressed adherence to
procedure, personal detachment and the rational separation of public/private, personal/official, objective/subjective. 

One of the primary vehicles of the shaping of police officers as disinterested
and depersonalized subjects has been the traditional training academy.
We all have images of the police academy, and these are much like what we
think of when we picture boot camp or military training. The trainee has his
hair cut, is made to wear a uniform, is assigned a bunk in a dormitory (and to peer group or troop), and is subjected to a rigorous regimen of drill training,
intended, ideally, to fill his whole waking day. The neophyte thus enters
into a near-total institution, is stripped of previous
identifiers, is subjected to a military command (told he knows nothing and is
nothing until he passes through basic training), and is incessantly corrected
according to an ideal of obedient, unquestioning response. In short, what
occurs is a stripping and infantilizing, a vigilant correction and surveillance, a deployment of peer group loyalties in the service of conduct regulation, and
a reinforcement of impersonal, status-dependent authority. 

One way of characterizing this depersonalizing training is that it subjects

the body and the mind to endless routines, but still misses the soul. Rose  has documented the emergence of an expertise on subjectivity and the
development of its use by the military and educationalists. With this expertise,
brought on by ’psy’ sciences, souls, once the province of the Church and
associated with ’the private’, could become the province of routine organizational management. Rather than leaving individual interpretation and ’personality’ out of the equation of governing, new nomenclatures became
available which offered probing penetrations into how people interpreted themselves into roles and identities. Previous to such probing, interior landscapes
were more easily depicted in contrasts of black/white and good/evil. 

Indeed, the records of the Chief Constables’ Association of Canada include
a remarkable paper in which ’personality’ appears to be discovered by Canadian
police executives. In the convention of 1938, Chief Goodman asks,
’what is personality?’. Goodman then offered to explore the concept of ’personality
in police work’ by dividing it into three dimensions: mind, language
and appearance:

There are none of us so blind as not to visualize the necessity of making our
respective departments the best that we possibly can, and place it upon the
highest dais possible in the estimation of our public. Besides Police Curriculum,
there are other abstract things that play just as important a part in bringing out this much desired condition, and Personality is one of them.

The traditional training institution and its paramilitary order did not attend
to the souls of trainees and its governance was thus partial. This can be seen
in two features of the traditional training regime. Firstly, it excludes a whole
category of training from its purview. The training academy was limited to
formal training, and this formal training was comprised of proper procedure and appearance management. Excluded from its jurisdiction
was informal training or the apprenticeship learning. This took place ’on
the street’ in the assignment of the rookie to a coach or training officer. A
consequence is that the traditional training academy has been ill-equipped to
guide the use of judgement or discretionary decision-making. Discretion
requires a decision about whether and how to deploy a set of rules (the
decision to invoke to the law). However, trainers in a bureaucratic structure
are responsible for the content of their training and overstep their jurisdictions
at their peril. This division of formal and informal learning between the
academy and the street gives the street privilege over discretion, or interpretative
profiles of the ’way things are done’ or the ’ways and means’. The training
academy, like management in general, is limited to an appearance
management or a training in the proper presentation of police work, and this
is not to be confused with the way things must be done in reality. We see the
stark contrast between the management of appearances in the drill halls and
classrooms, and the rough language, off-colour humour and cynicism of the
’bull-sessions’ after class.

While formal protocol and appearance manage- ment comprise the formal agenda, an informal agenda of the traditional
academy is gaining an understanding of discretion.

Secondly and consequently, the traditional training academy has been
partial in penetrating the occupational culture. The management/street division has been solidified on a
long-standing disbelief in the possibility of quantifying the ’intangibles’ of
street knowledge. There is also occupational scepticism towards the motives
(disengenuous, political) of administrators who confuse or blur the division
between managing appearances and doing good police work. Nevertheless,
the socialization of police is accomplished and begins in earnest at the training
academy. It does indeed facilitate the transmittal of the ’working personality’  of the police officer and has been an instrument of
the regeneration of the occupational culture, but only inasmuch as the informal
curriculum has also been off the books. The informal lesson is that
appearance protocols and representations are indeed useful as a shelter or
cover for backstage activity. ’Discretion’ comes to mean not only the exercise
of a practical knowhow on the slippage between rules and practice, but
also of a respect for secrecy and the usefulness of this cover. In the traditional
training academy, discretion, while central, has been more or less avoided as
an explicit curricular topic. Instead, it has been learned as a kind of counter-discipline
after classes and after hour bull-sessions. 

It has been this slippage between rules and interpretation, formal protocols
and practice, and appearances and reality which has undermined the
integrity of this traditional training. The bureaucratic ideal was exposed most
dramatically with civil rights agitation in the 1960s. Under the pre-eminence of a rights discourse, the differential treatment of women (domestic assault),
blacks and aboriginals, the poor, and the young became a focus of reform,
Policing research began to switch focus from analyses of top-down reform
to looking into the operation of discretion in conditions of ’low visibility’. The ’discovery’
that discretionary practices were at the core of policing and that this
core was left unstructured by formal or routine procedures and training, produced
a rift between the past and the future of police management.

– Willem de Lint, “New Managerialism and Canadian Police Training Reform,” Social & Legal Studies. Volume: 7 issue: 2, 1998. pp. 267-68

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