boomed nationally in the postwar era, New York City
made large-scale investments in its public service
infrastructure. In 1957, due to overcrowding, and
a detention capacity of only 105 beds at East 12th
Street, Youth House moved to more spacious facilities.
Its new location, in the Hunts Point section of the
Bronx , was comprised of two separate buildings; one
for boys and one for girls.
detention house, build atop a hill at 1221 Spofford
Avenue had an initial capacity of 239 beds. The girls'
institution, at 765 Manida Street, accommodated 125
girls. Over time, the boys' facility became known
as Spofford Youth House, and then Spofford Juvenile
Center. The girls' facility was known as Manida Juvenile
Center. The facilities were at first operated by Youth
House Board Incorporated, a non-profit group. This
would be the first of several organizations to operate
its first 20 years of operation, Spofford was the
focus of criticism and controversy. For a variety
of reasons, ranging from administrative failures and
staff abuses, to the physical limitations of the building,
it became known as a place that exacerbated the problems
of juvenile delinquents. Spofford was also known for
its frequent escapes. Between 1976 and 1978, there
were 202 escapes. In 1967, the City turned control
of Spofford over to the Department of Probation, and
then in 1971, to the Human Resources Administration.
Detention was created that same year as a group
home environment for children with less serious violations.
At the same time, the Stone Report recommended the
creation of the Department of Juvenile Justice. The
Agency, formed in 1979, was charged with coordinating
detention for the City's youth, with the hope that
clear and singular responsibility would prevent the
reoccurrence of past problems.