NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Jerome G. Miller
Jerome Miller became Director of the then-new Department of Youth Services in 1969, appointed by Governor Francis Sargent. As such, he pioneered the closing of state reform schools, known as training schools, in Massachusetts and replaced them with community-based programs. This was referred to as the “Massachusetts Experiment” and created a new paradigm for juvenile corrections. He eliminated abusive tactics for controlling rebellious youth, made teenagers eligible for parole after three months rather than eight, and created therapeutic environments within correctional facilities. He and his team created new secure, intensive care units and distributed grants-in-aid to cities and towns. This new model was an innovative way to respond to offenders and developmentally disabled youth.
Jerome Miller originally served as a military social worker prior to teaching at Ohio State University in 1968. He was Chief of Psychiatric Social Work Services to the U.S.A.F. and R.A.F. in Lakenheath, Suffolk,, England from 1964 to 1968.
Miller was the co-founder, with Herbert Hoelter, of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, where he still serves as a board member emeritus. The Center was created in 1977 as to develop programs, research and support for creative and effective alternatives to institutionalization for the mentally ill, developmentally, disabled, adult and juvenile offenders, aged and children. He was also clinical director of the Augustus Institute for Forensic Services in Alexandria, Virginia, where he has served since 1984. He lectured and wrote widely, nationally and internationally, on juvenile corrections’ reform and ways to promote community-based alternatives.
Miller earned his D.S.W. at the Catholic University of America in 1965. He received his M.S.W. from Loyola College in 1957 and his B.A. from Maryknoll College in 1954.
Significant Achievements and Awards
1995 to 1997: Miller served as a general receiver to the Washington, DC federal court, which assumed administration of that city’s child welfare system.
1996: Recipient of the President’s Award at Catholic University of America; also recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, Society for Study of Social Problems.
1989 to 1994: Miller was federal court monitor in Jacksonville, Florida’s Middle District. His duties included structuring the most effective remedial measures to resolve the overcrowding problem in Duval County jails and detention facilities.
1990: Winner of the Edward Sagarin Prize in Qualitative Criminology
1987: Recipient of the American Society of Criminology, August Wollmer Award to outstanding contributions to criminal justice, Montreal, Canada
1972: Recipient of the NASW, New England Chapter, Social Worker of the Year award
Miller, J.G. (1996). Search and Destroy: African American Males in the Criminal Justice System. Cambridge University Press.
Miller, J.G. (1992). On mitigating professional arrogance in the treatment of sex offenders, Medicine and Law, 11(5/6), 485-491.
Miller, J.G. (1991). Last One Over the Wall. Athens, OH: Ohio State University Press.
Miller, J.G. (1986). The private prison industry: Dilemmas and proposals, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy, 2(2), 465-477.