Boot camps not to blame for officers’ behavior

The March 17 issue of the Tallahassee Democrat said the guards who were videotaped beating a 14-year-old boy used similar techniques on other boys at the boot camp according to documentation.

According to the documents, attained by the Associated Press, the five guards were involved in at least 63 other violent encounters.

With the help of Florida’s black legislators and the NAACP, the boy’s family is pushing for the indictments of the abusive guards, the nurse who watched the attack, the Bay County Medical Examiner and the Bay County Sheriff.

The black legislators also asked for boot camps to be closed and vowed to address the issue every week until arrests are made.

Gov. Bush defended the boot-camp system, saying the number of children admitted into adult facilities has decreased by 42 percent since he has been in office.

Because of that, he believes the boot camps are effective.

In all honesty, for about the second time in history, Gov. Bush has a point.

Boot camps and rehabilitative centers for teens who need assistance in getting their acts together serve a purpose and should not be closed.

Just as jail or prison serves a purpose for criminals to repay their debt to society, these centers act as stepping stone, preventing them from going to prison.

The centers are effective. Most in the state boast low repeat offender rates.

However, a concern arises when forced solitude and constant restriction are not enough.

When officials feel that striking a person half their age, it leads me to believe the structured environment these centers were built upon to reform these teenagers have failed.

Tenikca D. Morning for the editorial board