South Carolina Reformatory for Negro Boys

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South Carolina Reformatory for Negro Boys
Established 1906
Opened 1907
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Columbia, SC
Alternate Names
  • John G Richards Industrial School for Negro Boys


By the turn of the century, Progressive Era reformers in the United States began to turn their attention to juvenile justice—taking a more paternalistic attitude towards juveniles and crime. These reformers pioneered the concept of parens patriae or “The State as Parent.” Parens patriae advocates argued that the state had an obligation to not only act in the public interest when dealing with juvenile crime, but also to serve the best interest of the child involved.

In 1906 the General Assembly established a segregated industrial school system for boys in the state. In 1907, the Reformatory for Negro boys was built on what would later become the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Shivers Road facility. And the Industrial School for White Boys was built in Florence that same year. In 1918, the State purchased additional land on what would later become DJJ’s Broad River Road Complex to establish the Industrial School for (white) Girls, the first juvenile justice facility for girls in South Carolina.

In 1946, legislation was enacted which placed these industrial school facilities under the Board of State Industrial Schools. In 1954, a Division of Placement and Aftercare was created, empowered to release incarcerated children prior to their twenty-first birthday. During this period, state funds were used primarily for physical improvements in the institutions, with no resources for recruiting professional staff. Hence the institutions were mainly punitive with little emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation. Reforms did not come about until the late 1960s.

Today the John G. Richards facility specializes in providing substance abuse treatment services to 12 to 17 year-old male juveniles with alcohol and other drug abuse problems. These services are designed to assist juveniles in abstaining from using alcohol and other drugs and in becoming productive members of their communities when the Juvenile Parole Board or DJJ Release Authority releases them. This campus houses the Systemic Treatment for Aggression Replacement program (STAR) and DJJ's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program, a cooperative effort between DJJ’s school district and the U.S. Army. John G. Richards opened in 1966.