The basic logic of youth corrections is that if you treat young people like inmates, they'll act like prisoners. If you treat them like young people capable of being citizens, they'll much more likely act like citizens.

- Barry Krisberg
President of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency
The Missouri Approach Works
Dramatic reductions in recidivism rate for youth being re-committed to Missouri's Division of Youth Service’s custody – less than 8% annually.
Significant reductions in DYS youth incarcerated in one of Missouri's prisons within a five-year period - 7-8% annually.
Better educational attainment - 91% of DYS youth earning high school credits compared to 46% nationally.

Our Staff

MYSI includes former DYS top management staff who help build and develop the “Missouri approach”. Our leader is Mark Steward who was DYS director for 17 years. Our team includes top staff, managers and trainers who helped develop the "Missouri approach."

Now they can help you develop a similar system that fits your juvenile justice reform needs.

MYSI In The News, On The Radio
& Related Articles

Juvenile Justice Reform: Making the "Missouri Model" an American Model
Marian Wright Edelman - Mar 12, 2010

The state of Missouri has created a juvenile justice system ...Read Story »

WAMC Northeast Public Radio interview recorded live with Dr. Alan Chartock and Mark Steward - Sep 17, 2009

Click here to listen.


ST. LOUIS, Mo. — VonErrick celebrated his 14th birthday last year ... Read Story »

States Adopt Missouri Youth Justice Model - Mar 07, 2008

As states grapple with spiraling prison cost ... Read Story »

Review of MO DYS Compared to California's System Part 2

Launch in external player

A Not for Profit Working for Change.

The Missouri Youth Services Institute (MYSI) is a not for profit organization created to assist juvenile systems in reform efforts. MYSI is led by Mark D. Steward, former Director of the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) for over 17 years. Under his leadership, Missouri’s Division of Youth Services received national and international attention as the “model” state juvenile justice system.

We have things to show, but we also know how to listen, learn, and can address your system’s issues needs, ideas and can support strategic reform efforts. We have experience in changing juvenile justice systems for better outcomes.
A Change That Gets Results

Missouri dramatically changed its juvenile justice treatment programs several decades ago switching from a correctional approach, to regionally based facilities and community programs that emphasize rehabilitation, treatment, and education.

Introductory Video

Introductory video on the juvenile justice approach used by the Missouri Youth Services Institute. This approach is featured in a documentary, Like Any Other Kid.

MYSI's Approach for Positive Juvenile Justice System Outcomes
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What People are Saying

For anyone honestly seeking to transform their juvenile justice system from a correctional model to a positive youth development model, there is no group better than MYSI to help effect that change. MYSI staff truly understood the dynamics of making that kind of huge cultural change in an entrenched system.

They handled their technical assistance/training/coaching role with great skill and sensitivity. We would be nowhere near as far along in our reform efforts without MYSI.

Vincent N. Schiraldi
Director, Department of Youth Rehabilitation (2005-2009),
Washington, D.C.