U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Unlocking Juvenile Corrections: Evaluating the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services

NCJ Number
Date Published
30 pages
This report presents information on how the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services' (DYS) programs and procedures have evolved since the Harvard study of 10 years ago.
In the early 1970's Massachusetts abandoned the traditional training school as its primary response to serious youth crime. Over the past 15 years, the Massachusetts DYS has evolved into a network of small secure programs for violent youth and a broad range of community-based programs for the majority of committed youth. This study tracks a cohort of more than 800 youth admitted to DYS and released between 1984 and 1985. It provides data on the types of youth entering DYS, their criminality before and after being in DYS, the programs they experienced while under DYS jurisdiction, and the costs of the DYS system. The study found that the reformed DYS system did not create an excessive crime problem and that 12-month recidivism rates for DYS youth released in 1985 were lower than those reported in an earlier Harvard study. DYS youth committed far fewer crimes under DYS supervision than before their commitment. Further, the DYS reforms did not result in more youth being transferred to the adult court. Overall, the Massachusetts approach appropriately balances the concerns of public safety with fiscal considerations. 21 notes and 2 tables