Key Points:

While the Government is not revealing the exact details of a "boot camp", an Auckland programme run partly along paramilitary lines gives an insight to what offenders could face.

Counties Manukau programme Male Youth New Directions (MYND) attempts to turn around the lives of South Auckland's worst youth offenders.

The boys are typically Maori or Pacific Islanders, with convictions for crimes from burglary and tagging to wounding with intent to injure and grievous bodily harm.

Offenders aged 14 to 17 undergo a 20-week discipline and mentoring programme, which includes an intense 10-day army-like camp, or "away phase", in which they are stripped of their belongings and gang identities and have their hair trimmed.

As well as intense physical activity, the participants undergo counselling sessions and are reminded of their responsibility for the offences they have committed.

The programme, run by former soldier Stephen Boxer, is completed in an 18-week reintegration phase, where the participants aim to return to their communities under supervision.

Since the programme's inception seven years ago, there has been a 58 per cent reduction in total offending from graduates and a 71 per cent drop in serious crimes. Mr Boxer says the military component is only a foundation for ongoing development of individuals.