The Glen Mills Schools, spread across 756 acres of picturesque hills 20 miles from Philadelphia, looks like another pricey prep school for East Coast elites. In fact, it is the country's most radical and, some say, its most effective answer yet to juvenile crime.
It is an experiment Florida is attempting to duplicate. Modeled after Glen Mills, a $35-million reform school for up to 800 delinquents is to be built this year a few miles from Sun City Center in Hillsborough County. State officials have hired a private, for-profit company controlled by Ferrainola's family and associates to run the Adam Paine Academy.
It is a system of social control borrowed directly from street gangs, Ferrainola says. Which is why Glen Mills recruits gang members as students. They readily understand the power of peer pressure and the rewards of status. The big difference between a street gang and Glen Mills is that students aren't allowed to lay a hand on each other.