When the Industrial Revolution began in the 1800s, factory life replaced the family in the lives of many poor children. Children often left home at an early age and traveled around the country looking for work in factories. Many social problems such as child crime, drunkenness, and vagrancy worsened during this time, and mass immigration caused similar problems. Early Attempts at Rehabilitation Early reformers interested in rehabilitating rather than punishing young offend- ers established the New York House of Refuge, which opened in 1824. The main purpose of the institution, which was located on the Bowery in Manhattan, was to reform poor wayward children and help them become productive members of society. It is considered the first youth detention center in the United States. Individual states also began to see the problems of juvenile incarceration and began building similar youth reform homes that were like orphanages. Many of the youth in these homes were orphans and homeless. The state took on the responsibility of parenting young offenders until they showed a positive change in their behavior or until they became adults. In the 1830s the practice of “placing out” began as authorities sent problem children to farms in the Midwest and West to work. Some families treated the children as family members, but many abused them and made them work rigor- ously as farmhands. In the late 1800s, after the Civil War, reform schools, industrial schools, or training schools housed themany vagrant children roaming the country. Theword school was used loosely; these were mostly just holding pens for the children. The cottage reformatories had fewer children (20 to 40) with adult role models living with them, but the institutional reformatories held as many as 500 children in a cell block. Although children received a formal education that was very moral- istic , they did not usually learn a trade. In the late 1800s leading American women social reformers, including Jane Addams, Lucy Flower, and Julia Lathrop, convinced state legislatures to cre- ate a separate justice system for children. Due mostly to their efforts, on July 3, 1899, the first juvenile court in the United States began on the west side of Chicago. The youth courts were more informal than the adult version, with the judges considering any extenuating circumstances relating to the crime or behavior, not just the basic facts. By 1925 all but two states had juvenile courts, most following the Chicago model that included a judge who only presided over juveniles, informal hearings held in offices instead of courtrooms, and cases closed to the public. These juvenile courts kept records that were sealed when the children reached age 18, and whenever possible, probation was used as the main punishment.


the prison System

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