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In the US Penal System, a reformatory is prison used for first offenders to segregate them from the more hardcore repeat offenders. The idea is that by separating the new offenders from the career criminals they will avoid the worst influences of prison life, hopefully reducing recidivism.

The best known reformatory is in Mansfield, Ohio. The old Mansfield Reformatory building was used in filming The Shawshank Redemption and is currently a museum.

Re*form"a*to*ry (-t?*r?), a.

Tending to produce reformation; reformative.


© Webster 1913.

Re*form"a*to*ry, n.; pl. -ries (-rz).

An institution for promoting the reformation of offenders.

Magistrates may send juvenile offenders to reformatories instead of to prisons. Eng. Cyc.


© Webster 1913.

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