Interview With Bruce Reid

From the interview with Bruce Reid of Port Townsend conducted by John Clise at the Fort Worden History Center on January 13, 2003.  Mr. Reid was one of the first teachers hired by the Port Townsend School District #50 to teach at the new Juvenile Diagnostic and Treatment Center in 1958.  He taught history, English and physical education during the years he worked at Fort Worden. Here he discusses the challenges of the job, and how he felt about the overall program:

“I don’t think it was exceedingly stressful.  I think that there were responsibilities that you had that were sometimes difficult, including making assessments of the kids we worked with that were accurate and meaningful.  We wanted to contribute to the overall purpose of working with  these kids, and that was the diagnostic purpose—to assess what kind of kid, what kind of problem, and what kind of situation would be best for them.  I drew some conclusions during the years that I was here: the treatment end of it had one element that had questionable success, when the kids were being treated for their behavior problems.  They were being treated in situation, right here at Fort Worden.  When you sent them back into the community they came from, that was a different situation.  Sometimes I felt we were treating them to adjust well while they were here at Fort Worden but that didn’t take too well when they got back to their communities.  That led to fairly high recidivism.  Eventually the state drew similar conclusions.  Treatment facilities like Fort Worden where the kids lived were discontinued after a time.  The state decided that it was better to work with the kids in group homes in a community setting rather than sending them to an isolated artificial situation like the Fort Worden Treatment Center.  Those are the feelings I developed during the course of the nine years I worked here.”

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