One of the great accomplishments of my life, was staying out of Gatesville reform school as my friends were taken away one by one, my friends used to tell horror stories in the early 1960s, by the late 1960s and early 1970s they were suffering early deaths.
Reform school for the boys, and chain gangs for the adults. Texas used to be a rough place, even in the 1950s and 1960s.
Parts of it still are. Like Jacksboro Highway on a Saturday night.
Rather than leave criminals to sit and watch tv in jail I’d prefer seeing prisoners working chain gangs along highways etc.
Here in Florida non violents are doing all sorts of road work for the counties.
I was associated with TYC in the late 70s and visited there days before it was closed. It was down to the very last handful who were there waiting to serve the remainder of their time in the military or behind real prison bars - their choice. Some of the guys started running their mouths and bam! it turned into an all out riot. I’m guessing that cost them the military option. The girls (not at Gatesville, obviously) were 10 times worse than the guys. They’d just as soon gouge your eyes out as to look at you. The “school” facilities were ticking time bombs with the counselors in charge only at the pleasure of the little thugs.