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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Industrial School for Girls

Definition:
The state's first reform school for girls began as the Milwaukee Industrial School, a private institution for the care of delinquent and orphaned girls and very young boys. State government began contributing taxpayer support in 1876, and in 1878 it was renamed the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls; the state took over its operation in 1917. In 1941, the school moved from Milwaukee to Oregon, in Dane Co., and in 1945 was renamed the School for Girls. In August 1972, it became a coeducational juvenile reformatory; four years later the facilities became the Oakhill Correctional Institution (an adult prison) and its young inmates were transferred to Lincoln Hills, a co-ed facility for juveniles. Early pictures of the school can be viewed at Wisconsin Historical Images. Official reports by supervisors of the Wisconsin prison system and reformatory facilities can be viewed in the Wisconsin Blue Book, published every two years since the 1850s in paper and online at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. The founding of the school is discussed in "Speaking with an Equal Voice: the Reform Efforts of Milwaukee's Mary Blanchard Lynde" by Ellen Langill, which can be viewed in the Wisconsin Magazine of History. For details on a similar Milwaukee private institution for girls, see this 1878 flyer.

[Source: A Brief History of the Department of Corrections (http://www.wi-doc.com/DOC_History.htm). (Madison, Wis.?: Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections, 2002?)]
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