The Oaklawn School for Girls was born of the State of Rhode Island’s desire to separate female juvenile delinquents from adult offenders.
Housing female inmates, who were sentenced to the school for crimes such as prostitution, as well as petty misbehaviors, the school sought to make young ladies out of wayward youths. For some of the girls, it was the only safe and loving haven they had ever known.
Many of the girls housed there had been abandoned as infants at the State Home & School or other institutions. Many had lost a parent at a young age. Others had simply given up on life, growing up in households where alcohol and abuse were rampant.
The Oaklawn School for Girls offered inmates a brighter future and a reason to believe that they were girls who deserved love, respect, and a second chance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Kelly Sullivan Pezza is a longtime author, journalist, and lecturer who has published numerous books on history and true crime. A native of Rhode Island, she writes a weekly history column for the Chariho Times, works as a volunteer researcher for the University of Rhode Island’s ROTC Hall of Fame, and regularly speaks to educational and historical organizations about criminal history within Rhode Island. She has also been featured, as a historian, in two documentaries about Rocky Point Park, and received the 1999 New England Press Award.
PUBLISHER: America Through Time
STATE: Rhode Island
DIMENSIONS: 6 (w) x 9.25 (h)