Cutbacks at School of Industry

The School of Industry in the Town of Rush is a place for juvenile criminal offenders. In a year of budget cutbacks the State is cutting programs at the School. There are two divisions at the school that are being affected. First is the “Industry Secure Center” which will close completely. The second division is the “Industry Limited Security” facility which has 90 beds but only 41 current residents. So they will be be closing out 40 beds. No information is known about the number of boys in the Secure Center. This action will means a loss of 84 staff jobs for the School.

The School dates back to 1846 when it was created as the Western House of Refuge (in Rochester) to house juvenile criminals. Then in 1850 it was decided to also send juveniles to W. H. of R. for crimes as minor as vagrancy. By 1855 there was a capacity for 400 boys. In 1876 the first girls were admitted. Throughout the time, many buildings were added as well as a stone wall surrounding the complex. In 1886 the name was changed to State Industrial School. In 1902 1,000 acres of land were bought in the Town of Rush. In 1904 the girl’s department was closed. By 1907 the move to Rush was complete and the name changed to State Agricultural and Industrial School. The new location housed boys in large cottage style houses. I don’t think there was any fence originally. In the mid 1970s I went with a truck to deliver a pool table to a recreation faculty there. I don’t remember any fence at that time either. I was surprised when I went by the School a few years ago and there was a tall fence topped with razor wire making it look more like a prison. For more information on the history of the School and some pictures, visit this page from the Rochester Public Library.

The decrease in the number of boys at the School is in part because of a plan started a few years ago to transfer them to more community based programs.