One of the most significant historical reforms used in dealing with juvenile offenders was the opening of the New York House of Refuge in 1825. Research this classic institution and define the social and judicial consequences of this reform movement on the juvenile justice system. What is your assessment of the groundbreaking work that took place, and how does it compare to our current child-saving movement?

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Prior to the establishment of the New York House of Refuge, minors were treated about the same as adults within the criminal justice system; they went through the same court system and were jailed in the same prisons. The New York House of Refuge was an institution created to provide a separate place where child offenders could be institutionalized. It was founded in 1825, and inspired other "houses of refuge" to develop in other places throughout the country.

Part of the rationale in developing these houses of refuge was to combat the high rates of child poverty and to try to provide a solution. Vagrancy (i.e. homelessness and/or joblessness) was often treated criminally, so many children were put into penal institutions (alongside adult criminals) to take them off of the streets. In the prisons, the children experienced terrible living conditions, received no education, and would often be doomed to a life of poverty and crime even after they were released. Therefore, the houses of...

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