The Polk County Sheriff's Office Juvenile Boot Camp will mark its 10-year anniversary today (Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004) with an open house and presentation to local and state dignitaries. The open house tour and presentation will be held from 10 a.m to noon today and will highlight the progress of the Boot Camp since its opening 10 years ago in 1994. The tour will focus on the many successes of the Boot Camp's expanded educational, psychological, and vocational programs. Boot Camp officials also will provide an overview of the current financial status and ongoing needs for successful operation of the juvenile program. County and state officials and representatives have been invited to attend. The Boot Camp is a joint partnership between the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Lawrence W. Crow, Jr., Sheriff, the Board of County Commissioners, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Polk County School Board, and the citizens of Polk County.
The Polk County Juvenile Boot Camp, dedicated to the memory of Congressional Medal of Honor winner James Henry Mills of Fort Meade, is located just south of the Central County Jail, 2325 Bob Phillips Road, Bartow.
The Polk County Boot Camp site opened with two 20-bed wings with an attached center control room, a classroom training building, and obstacle course. Two additional 20-bed wings, an additional classroom, a general purpose hall, an aftercare office, and a transition housing dormitory have been added since the original opening. The boot camps facility takes boys and girls, ages 14 to 18, who have been adjudicated guilty by a judge. The programs place an emphasis on the safety of Polk County citizens by removing juvenile offenders from the general population and into incarceration.
The curriculum component factors include rigorous military-style physical training with educational instruction, vocational training, and psychological counseling. The boot camp experience lasts a total of twelve months: six months in boot camp followed by three months of on-site transition followed by three months of closely monitored aftercare. Aftercare includes psychological assistance and a focus on providing community-based options, solutions, and supervision. The community solutions include a mentoring program with the assistance of private service organizations, job training skills, and employment when appropriate.
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