Boot camp for juvenile offenders

Boot camp for juvenile offenders »Play Video
CONNELL, Wash. - "Completely out of control, wasn't like what I thought it was going to be. Harder and more intense," said juvenile offender, George Pacheco.

That's the point. These high-risk juvenile offenders are getting a second chance.

He continues, "life is not a game, you really need to get it together."

George is one of 16 kids every quarter, who chooses military-style training over traditional prison life. He's now serving a 120 day sentence at Camp Outlook in Connell.

The kids eat, sleep and breathe rules that are far more strict than any juvenile corrections facility.

George said, "think before you act, that was really a big problem for me."

Camp Outlook is the only one of its kind in the state. Prisoners ranging from age 14 to 19 can be sent here from any lockup in Washington. You just can't be a violent or sexual offender.
Total commitment is a must for these voluntary recruits, known as trainees.

It's just like boot camp. Step out of line and it's push ups, leg lifts and high-knee runs. Push it and it's off to solitary confinement.

The idea is to build trust using exercise and obstacle courses.
Breaking down the walls, testing their comfort zones, speaking about themselves as though they were someone else.

KEPR asked, "How hard is it for you to think outside of the program?"

George replied, "It's kinda hard because when you get into the program it's all about not being an individual, working as a team, you know it's pretty much discipline, self-discipline. And this trainee, ha, I said it again but you know, it's a good discipline."

For George, it's a chance to make better decisions. Taken away from his parents at age 10, he was quickly in trouble with the law. At 17, George has already spent a year and a half of his life behind bars. He told me he's now ready to take control of his life.

"I have to help myself out before I can help others out and this is a good start," he said.

George sees his future as a fire fighter, calling them his heroes.
By serving time at Camp Outlook his chances of becoming a hero himself are far more likely.

George is scheduled to graduate from Camp Outlook in early December. From there, he'd be eligible to go to a halfway house to finish his three-year prison sentence.

Camp Outlook is open to both boys and girls. It is not limited to those already serving time. The camp also accepts private placements by families needing help.