Glen Mills Schools

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The Glen Mills Schools (GMS) is a residential education facility for juvenile delinquents located in Glen Mills and in Thornbury Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania for boys between 15 and 18 years of age. It has been described as, "the country's most radical and, some say, its most effective answer yet to juvenile crime."[1][2][3][4][5][6]


The Glen Mills Schools is the oldest surviving school of its type in the United States, continuously providing services to troubled youth for almost 200 years.[7]

  • The institution opened in 1826 in Philadelphia, PA as the 'Philadelphia House of Refuge'.[8]
  • In 1892, the school relocated to its current campus in Glen Mills, PA.
  • In 1911, the school changed the its name to the Glen Mills Schools.

The Ferrainola period[edit]

Cosimo D. "Sam" Ferrainola, who served as the director of Glen Mills from 1975-2007, said that the school's social structure is, "a system of social control borrowed directly from street gangs. [...] Which is why Glen Mills recruits gang members as students. They readily understand the power of peer pressure and the rewards of status. The big difference between a street gang and Glen Mills is that students aren't allowed to lay a hand on each other."[6] Ferrainola was supervised by Howard W. Polsky (New Xork), writer of "Cottage Six".


The 750 acres (300 ha) campus is situated on an almost 1,800-acre (730 ha) property, located 20 miles (32 km) west of Philadelphia,[5][8] The campus may appear "like another pricey prep school for East Coast elites" but is highly regarded for reforming some of the most exterme cases of juvenile delinquency[6][9]

Outside Influences[edit]

  • In 1996 officials in Florida started plans to establish the Adam Paine Academy, modeled on Glen Mills.[6] Community pressure led to an end of the plans in 1997.[10]
  • In Europe, the Netherlands and Germany adopted some of the Glen Mills philosophies after 1980. German psychologist Manfred Günther studied the school in 1979 and the famed German criminologist, Jens Weidner developed a lot of Glen Mills' techniques (i.e. "hot chair", others) to use in German youth prisons like in Hameln.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Telephone/ Address/Emails." "Physical address: Glen Mills Schools 185 Glen Mills Road Glen Mills, PA 19342 "
  2. ^ "Directions." Glen Mills Schools. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
  3. ^ "Thornbury township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
  4. ^ "Chapter 7 7-11." Comprehensive Zoning Plan. Thornbury Township. Retrieved on September 6, 2011. "The three major institutions found in the Township, the Delaware County Prison, Glen Mills Schools and Cheyney University[...]"
  5. ^ a b "Admissions." The Glen Mills Schools. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Barstow, David. "A NEW FORM OF REFORM." St. Petersburg Times. January 28, 1996. National 1A. Retrieved on September 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Glen Mills Schools- History". 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "About Glen Mills." Glen Mills Schools. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
  9. ^ "A Place for Hard Foster Care Cases." (Opinion) The New York Times. January 29, 1990. 1. Retrieved on September 7, 2011.
  10. ^ "History." South County Career Center (Hillsborough County Public Schools). Retrieved on September 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Jensen, Mike (February 24, 2014). "Aaric Murray working to bring maturity level in line with talent level". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ "NFL honors Glen Mills with Golden Football". 2016. Retrieved February 24, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°55′07″N 75°29′59″W / 39.9185°N 75.4998°W / 39.9185; -75.4998