The Law: Coed Incarceration

In their leisure time, young couples stroll around a man-made lake, watch movies, listen to quadraphonic stereo, or play pool in the recreation room of their glass and redwood housing complex. At first glance, they could be students at some bright new community college. But campuses are not bounded by barbed wire-topped fences, and students are not kept under scrutiny around the clock.

The relaxed-looking individuals, most of them in their 20s, are serving time at the new Federal Youth Center in Pleasanton, Calif. They have been convicted of stealing cars, holding up banks,...

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