Juvenile Justice

Archive Report

’A Walking Time Bomb’

One night 16 years ago, Jerome G. Miller and Jessie Fay Sargent were in Bridgewater, Mass. He was the state's reform-minded commissioner of youth services and she was the wife of the Republican governor, Francis W. Sargent. Miller had been giving Mrs. Sargent tours of training schools and other state institutions for juvenile delinquents. On this night they were in Bridgewater for an unannounced look at a maximum-security facility, the Institute for Juvenile Guidance.

What they found inside was, in Miller's words, “a near riot, kids running for the walls and being pummeled around on the ground and handcuffed…[and being hauled off] to cells.” On the way back to their cars, Miller recalls, Mrs. Sargent remarked how awful the facility was and ...

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