As the number and the size of boot camp prisons continue to increase, more female offenders are entering the camps. This study examines seven prison boot camps for women, using inmate quiestionnaires, site visits, and interviews with administrators and inmates. Two types of boot camps were investigated: (a) women only and (b) women and men combined in one camp. The results indicated serious problems for women in the combined boot camps. These camps were designed for male offenders. Few women entered and remained in the programs; they experienced high levels of stress, and programs did not address their needs and problems. Although there were fewer problems in the women-only boot camps, there are still some potential disadvantages. The confrontational interactions in boot camps may present particular problems for women with dependency problems and those who have been victims of abuse. Alternatives to boot camps that offer women similar opportunities for early release and therapeutic programming but that also address their specific needs, problems, interactions, and strengths might be better choices for female offenders.
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