By Brian P Block.
ISBN 1 872 870 84 3
Brian Block is a magistrate and while on holiday during 1998
came across the Buena Vista Colorado Corrections Alternative
Programme – a boot camp. With disarming ease he was able to make an
extended visit and given unrestricted access in order to make a
personal assessment of its usefulness.
He completes his assessment by making a comparison with the
Thorn Cross Young Offender Institution in Cheshire.
The boot camp is Spartan. The selected inmates have the
incentive of a possible sentence reduction for completing the
They are subjected to a forceful disciplining regime, which is
presented as essential in preparing them to take part in education
and the rehabilitation parts of the programme.
Inmates have the opportunity for improving educational
attainment and most do. And it is this provision that is most
effective in reminding the reader that prison can be the only place
where education can be given to the most vulnerable on drug and
substance misuse, child development and parenting.
I am sceptical about how transferable the United States’
experience of boot camps is. But whatever the experience, The
Pain and the Pride provides enough material on why we should
not seek to emulate the boot camp style.
Our new detention and training orders have considerable
potential for juveniles but it is concerning that the additional
resources for the under-18s come at the expense of other parts of
the prison service.
There is no definitive answer to what is best to lower
re-offending and reconviction rates. Block points out that rates
improve when there are intensive supervision regimes as part of
aftercare packages, which are available in three American
The Youth Justice Board has announced its plans for intensive
supervision and surveillance programmes, so this is a relevant book
that can take them forward with conviction.
Larry Wright is youth offending team manager,
Hammersmith and Fulham Council.