Many boot camp inmates slip up later

CARSON CITY -- Nearly 44 percent of the inmates who have participated in a Nevada Department of Corrections boot camp at Indian Springs have committed additional crimes or parole violations and ended up in prison.

Of the 890 inmates admitted to the 190-day boot camp during the past three years, 232 failed to complete the program, and 390 have since been sentenced to prison for subsequent violations, Deputy Department of Corrections Director Sheryl Foster told members of the Committee for the Administration of Justice on Wednesday.

Foster said several states and the federal Department of Corrections have discontinued their boot camps because they found the recidivism rate was too high to justify the cost of the program. About one-third of the boot camps in states have been eliminated in recent years, according to federal reports.

But none of the members of the committee, chaired by Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, called for the end of the Nevada boot camp.

District Judge David Barker said he has never heard criminal judges in Clark County speak negatively about the program. They "speak positively it. We need as many arrows in our quiver as possible."

Foster said the program at the Three Lakes Valley Conservation Camp takes a maximum of 65 inmates who undergo strenuous exercise, military drills and education programs for 190 days. Another 10 inmates can be added to the program without an increase in staff, she said.

Under state law, the program is limited to males who are at least 18 and have not committed violent felonies or previously spent more than 180 days in jail or prison. The program costs $42 a day per inmate to operate.

Committee member Richard Siegel, a longtime leader of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, questioned why no female boot camp exists.

"The female (prison) population is going up," he said. "We should think of equal protection of the law. Are we giving females the same opportunity?"

Foster said prison administrators have discussed starting a female boot camp, but under the law, the camps are restricted to males.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.