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Glossary Term Reformatory
- Glossary Term, Term commonly found on child welfare records and Type of 'care'
Please note that this page reproduces the original language used in the historical sources drawn upon to compile this entry. This language includes offensive and derogatory terms which are today considered unacceptable. We apologise for any offence caused by such language.
A reformatory was an institution for 'criminal' children, later known as juvenile offenders. The lines between 'neglected' and 'criminal' children were often blurred. The term was used largely from the 1870s through to the 1970s and comes from the notion that a young person committed to a secure institution would receive 'reformative treatment'. For example, a history of child welfare prepared for WA's 150th anniversary of European settlement declared that it was 'considered that life in an Industrial School, under proper Christian influence, would act as a reforming influence on children and it seems to have been believed that children who did offend did so because they had not had the benefit of such influences.'
Up until the 1950s, the term 'reformatory' was also used in relation to 'industrial schools'.
- Hetherington, Penelope, 'Reformatories', in Gregory, Jenny and Jan Gothard [editors] (eds), Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, W.A., 2009, pp. 750-751. Details
Sources used to compile this entry: Child Welfare Department, Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department for the Year Ended 30 June 1941, 1941; Department for Community Welfare, History of the Department 1829-1979, 1979.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 26 October 2011, Last modified: 13 January 2012