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States of DelinquencyRace and Science in the Making of California's Juvenile Justice System$
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Miroslava Chavez-Garcia

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520271715

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520271715.001.0001

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Otto H. Close

Otto H. Close

Promising Leader, Complacent Bureaucrat

Chapter:
(p.151) Chapter 5 Otto H. Close
Source:
States of Delinquency
Author(s):

Miroslava Chávez-García

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520271715.003.0006

This chapter details the experience of Otto H. Close, superintendent at the Preston School of Industry from 1920 to 1945, to examine how he turned the school around from a largely archaic, brutal reformatory to an efficient and well-regarded system in the 1920s, relying on the model of testing and segregation introduced and used extensively at Whittier State School. The chapter demonstrates that, despite the promising outlook for Preston in the 1920s and early 1930s, by the late 1930s the industrial school had stagnated, becoming a military-style penitentiary with little vocational training and few educational programs. At the root of the school's decline were administrative complacency, state neglect, little oversight of the day-to-day operations, and scant public support.

Keywords:   Otto H. Close, Preston School of Industry, segregation, decline, Whittier State School

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