New York House of Refuge

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A wood engraving representing the NY House of Refuge in 1855

The New York House of Refuge was the first youth detention center in the United States.[1] The building was located in Manhattan, New York City, at Randalls Island.


The concept of a youth detention center came from Cadwallader Colden and Stephen Allen with the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism. In 1820 the society surveyed United States prisons and issued a report in 1824. The report called for the creation of a reformatory for juveniles to segregate them from adult prisoners.[1]


  1. ^ a b "New York House of Refuge". New York State Archives. Retrieved 2011-05-05. The New York House of Refuge was the first juvenile reformatory in the nation. ... 

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Coordinates: 40°47′42″N 73°55′23″W / 40.795°N 73.923°W / 40.795; -73.923