Oakley Training School

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Oakley Training School
Opened 1925 (as a juvenile facility)
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Location Oakley, MS
Alternate Names
  • Negro Juvenile Reformatory
  • Black Juvenile Reformatory School
  • Oakley Youth Development Center (Current)


Originally Oakley was the Oakley Farm, a prison for women in the State of Mississippi prison system. In 1894 the State of Mississippi purchased a 2,725-acre property that became the Oakley Farm, and the state housed all women in the Mississippi penal system in Oakley. Early in the 20th century the women at Oakley were moved to the Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman) in Sunflower County, Mississippi. The Mississippi state prison hospital remained at Oakley. On July 21, 1913 a fire swept through the Oakley Prison Farm and killed 35 black prisoners. In 1925, after two white prison camps in the Mississippi penal system faced overcrowding, the state of Mississippi moved 75 white prisoners between the ages of 14 and 21 to the Oakley facility, turning it into a juvenile correctional facility.

Later Oakley became the Negro Juvenile Reformatory and the Black Juvenile Reformatory School. Before desegregation Oakley housed Black children of both sexes, while the Columbia Training School housed White children of both sexes; the desegregation plan around the 1970s required the state to house male children 15 and older of all races at Oakley, while males 14 and under and females were housed at Columbia.