Under certain circumstances, judges in Miami-Dade County may give a person found guilty of a crime the choice of either attending a diversionary program, such as boot camp, or going to prison. To be eligible for the boot camp program, an individual must be between the age of 14 and 24 and have been adjudicated as an adult.[i] The individual is also required to undergo a “complete and comprehensive assessment, including a physical examination, a psychological evaluation and orientation.”[ii] The program currently has a recidivism rate of just 11 percent.[iii]
Dwayne Johnson, a former professional wrestler known as “The Rock,” was arrested eight times before he was 16 years old. Johnson says that he was able to turn his life around with discipline and hard work. Because of his experiences with the juvenile justice system as a youth, Johnson decided to visit the Miami-Dade County Boot Camp for the first time to see its program. He became inspired by the boot camp’s dedication to giving young people a second chance through physical and mental discipline. To showcase the boot camp’s success, Johnson produced the HBO documentary Rock and a Hard Place, which premiered on March 27, 2017.
When the 38 cadets entered the 16-week program, Johnson addressed them on day one. He explained that the drill sergeants “will break you down, but you won’t break.“ Johnson wants to use this documentary so that the world to see how powerful diversionary programs can be for youths. A trailer can be viewed below.