Kansas State Reform School

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Kansas State Reform School
Established 1879
Opened 1881
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Topeka, KS
Alternate Names
  • Industrial School for Boys
  • Youth Center at Topeka
  • Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility


The Kansas State Reform School, also known as the Industrial School for Boys, was established in 1879 by a legislative act that appropriated $35,000 for the erection of buildings, etc., in Topeka, Kansas. Control and supervision of the school was placed in the hands of the Board of Trustees of Charitable Institutions. The school was located 3 miles north of the capitol building on an original tract of 170 acres that was given by the city of Topeka. The west wing of the main building was opened on June 1, 1881. The school taught boys the rudiments of useful employment as a means of supporting themselves after being discharged from the facility. The boys learned, among other things, tailoring, shoe and harness making, woodworking of various kinds, baking, and printing.

In 1971, younger offenders who had been adjudicated delinquent or miscreant were transferred to the Atchison facility. In 1974, the name of the institution was changed to the Youth Center at Topeka. The former name, Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility, was established during the 1997 Legislative Session. On July 1, 1997, responsibility for the juvenile correctional facilities in Kansas was transferred from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to the Juvenile Justice Authority. In the spring of 2005 operations of Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility and the new Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex were merged under the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex name.