Monday, April 24, 2006

Boot Camp Warning Signs

The Miami Herald reports that the infamous Panama city boot camp was not inspected during 2005. As a result, the use of physical force increased. The Herald reports that there were a "180 questionable use-of-force" beatings since 2003. This raises some disturbing questions about how Martin Anderson's death could have been prevented.

Boot camp inspection are called quality assurance audits. They are mandated by law. Unfortunately, there is a loophole that allowed the Panama City boot camp to receive an excemption.

In the QA process, most programs are reviewed annually. However, programs that receive commendable or exceptional ratings are given deemed or special deemed status for two to three years during which they receive either no QA reviews or abbreviated reviews.

The next question is why was the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp receiving such commendable audits. An Oppana report gave recommendations to improve audits.

The department can improve and streamline its program monitoring and QA processes by

strengthening the correlation between QA scores and key outcomes such as escapes and injuries that can indicate management problems;

using a process for the security portion of the QA process similar to that used by the Juvenile Justice Educational Enhancement Program;

using a risk-based system of determining when to conduct monitoring visits;

incorporating performance outcomes into corrective actions plans; and,

strengthening the training and guidance it provides to program monitors.

Obviously, the audits failed to look at management problems. I would like to see how many injuries were caused by the increased use of force. The monitors failed to properly perform their duties. Was this because of training or were they merely avcting as a rubber stamp. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability noted:

Boot camps are typically established with goals such as deterring crime through punishment, reducing recidivism through offender rehabilitation, or reducing prison overcrowding. However, preliminary nationwide research on boot camps has raised questions as to whether boot camps accomplish these goals any better than other correctional programs.

The goals of boot camps have not been clearly stated by the Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile Justice, although it appears that Florida's boot camps have been primarily intended to affect offender behavior and to reduce recidivism.

Mike Marino of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice kiled any hope for further audits. John Criswell notice that facilities with high marks were having a death and a -mentally-retarded raped. The audits had more emphasis on paper work being properly filed than incident reports. Marino fired off a revealing email.

The next day, one DJJ quality assurance staffer, Mike Marino, defended the system in an e-mail: ``I don't think we can get away from the file reviews, as this is the main proof of something being done or not.''

In rated news: Nurse Kristin Anne Schmidt is under investigation. Anderson told her he couldn't breathe during exercises. Schmidt said, ""he appeared comfortable and in no respiratory distress." Schmidt watched Anderson's beating and did not intervene.


At April 26, 2006 8:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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