Barton, William H. Books

Closing Institutions for Juvenile Offenders. The Maryland Experience
1997 0-7734-8428-0
This book summarizes evidence about the state's experience with sharply curtailing juvenile institutionalization by closing the Montrose Training School. It examines the effect of this decision on the residential placement pattern, attitudes, experiences, and behaviors of juvenile offenders in Maryland. It reports the results of an empirical study, based on data collected from nearly 1,000 youths over a several-year period. The study examines three primary questions: a) What immediate effects did the policy to deinstitutionalize have on placements and services provided to the youths released during the transition time and later; b) what effects did the closing have on subsequent offending behavior; and c) what effects did the closing have on subsequent schooling and work experiences, family processes and arrangements, peer influences, and psychosocial adjustment of the juveniles. The first question is of particular interest to others considering closing an institution. The second and third are of particular interest to those grappling with the policy decisions regarding the use of institutions or community-based placements. The study helps to focus the debate by providing objective information about the costs and benefits of institutionalizing juvenile offenders.