Made for television, Prison for Children is set in a brutal boys' reformatory. New superintendent John Ritter tries to improve conditions, but finds himself up against a wall of indifference and red tape. The film shows how a supposedly "beneficial" system of incarceration and detention can actually breed more crime than it prevents (nothing new here). Emphasis is given the case of young Rafael Sbarge, who descends deeper into the morass of crime and cruelty the longer he is exposed to reformatory life. Betty Thomas also appears as a compassionate teacher who tries to get through to Sbarge. Filmed at an actual reform school in Colorado, Prison for Children was first telecast March 14, 1987.
by Hal Erickson synopsis