There is no barbed wire around facilities like Missouri Hills, on the outskirts of St. Louis. No more than 10 youths and 2 adults called facilitators live in cottage-style dormitories in a wooded setting, a far cry from the quasi penitentiaries in other states.
It’s part of Missouri’s treatment-oriented approach toward juveniles where lockups are designed to resemble college dorms and offenders are treated firmly, seriously and humanely.
In the early 1970s, the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) took its first steps toward radically changing the way it dealt with youthful offenders remanded to its custody.
Missouri Division of Youth Services created a set of beliefs and principles that fundamentally reshaped how the system viewed youth, families and the rehabilitative process.