Parris Island, South Carolina. The United States Marine Corps. 1987. Third Battalion, India Company, Platoon 3056.
I joined the Marine Corps on a whim. The recruiter told me he “only had one space left,” and I believed him. When I got on the bus to Marine Corps boot camp I found out that recruiter had filled that “one space” with me and eight others. I was 20 years old. I had a smart mouth. I stayed in the sand pit a lot. I lost 45 pounds. It was the hottest summer I can remember. It was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Yes, Mississippi has a “boot camp” program. It is called the Regimented Inmate Discipline Program, and it is available as a sentencing alternative in certain criminal cases. The “RID” program is operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, who describes it as ”an intensive paramilitary program designed to rehabilitate offenders in a short period of time.” It is possible for a circuit or county court judge to sentence you straight to the RID program, or make it a condition of your nonadjudication.
MDOC operates the RID program at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in Walnut Grove, Mississippi, the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, Mississippi, and the Flowood Satellite Facility, Flowood, Mississippi (for females only). The program lasts from 120 to 150 days, and consists of lots of good exercise, “discipline therapy”(!), work detail, adult basic education, discipleship study, group counseling, alcohol and drug counseling, and pre-release classes.
The RID program is run according to MDOC regulations, and you are not eligible if you:
- Have a history of a psychiatric disorder
- Are mentally retarded
- Are charged with sexual offenses
- Have an extensive juvenile history
- Have extensive health problems
People ask me all the time what to do with their “wayward” son who has just been arrested, and “just can’t seem keep himself out of trouble.” This alternative always comes to mind. A little discipline never hurt anyone, and it certainly helped yours truly. If you are young, and healthy, and maybe a little bit ”head-strong,” this might be the ticket, especially if the court is willing to dismiss your case upon completion of the program. Frankly, however, it is not for everyone, and there can be negative consequences as well if you don’t make it through. Please make an appointment to come see me if you or yours is in trouble and you’d like to discuss whether the RID program is right for you.