Milwaukee Sheriff To Start Boot Camp Program In County Jail


The endless drone of TVs and snoring inmates at the Milwaukee County Correctional Facility will give way to the “hut two, three, four” of a military-style training program Sheriff David Clarke plans to start there this year, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentine. The boot camp program – Clarke calls it “Discipline, Order, Training and Structure” – aims to prepare mostly young, minor offenders for life on the outside through a heavy dawn-to-dusk regimen of work, exercise and classes.

Clarke was dismayed by the sluggish routine of many inmates when he took over management of the lockup in early 2009, prompting him to search for something different. He talks about relying on proved techniques and hard evidence in crafting a successful program. The idea is to “give offenders the tools necessary for them to make a cognitive decision to change their behavior” and stay out of jail, according to a written summary of the sheriff’s plan. Inmates now “leave there as the same dysfunctional person as they were when they came in,” Clarke said. “They go back to the same goofs for friends,” and often re-offend, he said. The program counts on judges making participation in boot camp a condition of avoiding a tougher sentence, which would provide incentive for participation. Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers said, “If you look at the studies of so-called boot camps, they aren’t very positive, but I don’t know what the sheriff is proposing here.” Clarke wants new classes on anger management, choosing friends, Bible study and “cognitive intervention.”

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