Despite Appearances, Sheriff Says WI Jail Program Isn’t Boot Camp


Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.’s military-style training program for inmates starts in January, with some observers wary about its effectiveness and county liability in case of injuries, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Though similar in some respects to inmate boot camps, Clarke says, his “Discipline, Order, Training and Structure” program won’t include any abusive elements that have given some boot camp inmate training a bad reputation. “It’s in no way intended to be a military-style boot camp,” Briggs told supervisors on the County Board’s judiciary committee last week. It may look and sound like a boot camp, however, and Briggs acknowledged that Clarke’s DOTS program borrows military elements in its design.

Inmates will wear uniforms, rise early, be subjected to rigorous physical training by drill instructors and live in close proximity to other program participants. You’ll hear a lot of “yes, sir” and “no, sir” from inmates while in the training, Briggs said. A DOTS program description refers to “imposed discipline” on inmates. “Enforced obedience to the legal orders and regulations of the DOTS program?.?.?.? is absolutely essential,” the summary states. Adherence to rules is necessary to provide structure inmates need to successfully return home, the summary says. Clarke turned to the military-type training program to provide constructive help rather than mostly dead time while inmates are locked up.

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