A reformatory, also sometimes named a reform school, is a correctional institution for minor and first offenders.
Juvenile convicts are put in reformatories instead of normal prisons for two reasons: first, to protect them from contact with (and possible abuse from) adult convicts; second, to undergo a special training in such institutions that is designed to reform (hence the name) the young convicts by means of strict discipline, schooling, and labor.
Reformatories are usually gender-separated (most are for boys). 19th century reformatories were particularly infamous for their harsh discipline methods, including corporal punishment.
Reformatories in the UK
In the United Kingdom, reformatory CP was usually given with a birch or a cane. Special items of furniture were used to administer CP in reformatories, such as a birching block or a birching pony.
A well-known example of a British type of reformatory is the borstal. Britain had also reformatory ships. (more...)
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