State-Funded Boot Camp Military Schools for Teens in Kentucky

Military boot camps are expensive. Therefore, parents dealing with teenagers involved in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, don’t receive help until their child ends up in the legal system. According to, the only free boot camps are state-funded and can only be used if a teen is in the juvenile system. State run prison boot camps as a substitute for youth incarceration have been on the rise since 1975. The state of Kentucky, however, has only one boot camp because of limited resources and the complexities of providing services to out-of-control teenagers.

Cadet Leadership and Education Program (CLEP)

The Cadet Leadership and Education Program is a medium security detention center operated by the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice 3. It has a capacity for 40 boys ages 14 to 17. Youthful offenders spend a minimum of eight months in the program, with four months of incarceration and four months of community placement. There are four platoons consisting of 10 youth and one youth counselor. The objective of the program is to promote discipline through physical conditioning and teamwork. The military-style program attempts to instill values of respect and a healthy work ethic as well as academic achievement. Offenders are held accountable for their behavior, and there is a focus on eliminating drug and alcohol involvement.

Alternatives to Secure Detention

The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice lists a “wide range of alternatives to secure detention programs and services.” There is a custody continuum based on a screening for the level of risk to the community posed by the teenager’s behavior. Teens can move up and down the custody continuum at any time. The continuum includes: intensive community supervision, home detention, home incarceration, staff secure shelters and/or foster homes. Offenders at this level of care may attend one of the two boot camp alternative educational programs offered by public schools.

The first is the Cadet Leadership and Education Alternative Program operated for students in grades 9-12 by the Breathitt County Public Schools 3.

Breathitt County Public Schools 2665 Highway 30 W Jackson, Breathitt CO KY 41339

And second is the Woodsbend Alternative Program 3. Although it is technically called a boys camp, it has a five percent female enrollment.

Woodsbend Boys Camp P.O. Box 765 West Liberty, KY 41472-9010 606-743-3177

Specialty Boarding Schools

Military Schools Options does not recommend military schools for defiant teens or those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression or other mental health disorders 1. The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice concurs. The state of Kentucky provides a link to a website that lists specialized mental health services for individuals (including teenagers) in the South Central Region of the State. For information contact the South Central Region Mental Health Services in Kentucky by visiting their site at

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