Publication Date

4-1992

Advisor(s)

Patricia Hill

Major

American Studies (AMST)

Language

English

Abstract

This paper, an account of the advocates and inmates of the Connecticut Industrial School for Girls, will consolidate and utilize the research of the varied historians who have studied institutionalization, reform, and gender bias in American penology. After an historical overview of the context of nineteenth-century institutional reform, the paper will proceed to analyze the unique evidence of the Connecticut school. In 1867 the legislature first formed a committee to investigate the need for a girls' reformatory: fifty years later, in 1917, over 2,400 girls had lived and worked at the institution. This paper will use data from a representative 300 of these girls -- 100 consecutive inmates from three different time periods -- to examine the inmates' early lives, the process of their incarceration, their experiences at the school, and their fates upon leaving Middletown.

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