Charles Richmond Henderson.

Introduction to the study of the dependent, defective, and delinquent classes, and of their social treatment online

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business of all from the capital.

In favor of the unpaid honor office system, with a special board
for each place, may be pleaded the argument that the absence of
a salary removes the position from the scrambles of political
hacks ; that a board of men devoted to a single form of charity
can give it time and attention until they have become intelligent
on the entire subject; and that they are not distracted by the
variety of problems and interests of many kinds of care and
training. There is a great advantage in having in such positions
men whose sole motive is patriotic and humane. The honor office
attracts to itself persons of the highest order of ability and admin-
istrative capacity, men who could not be induced to accept posi-
tions on a board whose members were paid and whose entire time
must therefore be given up to the details of the office.

It is desirable to enUst, as widely as possible, the active partici-
pation and direct interest of as many citizens as possible, in the
care of public wards. The rapid increase of wealth, leisure, and
education is giving to the commonwealth a larger supply of this
valuable kind of service.

If there is a general board of charities, with an expert secretary
and a uniform system of accounts, the commonwealth is protected
against abuses in the several institutions.

The alternative plan, to be mentioned, is liable to perversion ;
the offices are sought by pohtical place hunters who have no
special training for the work. It is also claimed that such a board

State Boards and Federal Functions. 205

is most tempted to make subordinate appointments on partisan
grounds, and so meddle with the internal arrangements of super-
intendents. All must admit, however, that excellent men have
held office under this system of central boards of control.

It is argued in favor of a general board of control for all the
charitable hospitals, schools, and asylums, or for a board of con-
trol for each class, that unpaid trustees cannot be expected to
devote the necessary time to the discharge of the duties implied.
To this plea it is replied that experience in Europe and America
proves, on the widest scale, that trustees can be found who are
willing to give time and labor freely to such social tasks, especially
if there are competent and responsible superintendents, if there is
a merit system of appointments, and if they are expected simply
to decide questions of policy and not of petty details for which
the superintendents are responsible.

It is asserted that superintendents under the unpaid board are
practically without any controlling head. In reply to this it should
be said that responsible heads ought not to be controlled in any
meddlesome way. Their duties should be defined far enough
to insure a consistent method, and their results should be judged
by experts ; but in the daily order of life they should have a free
hand. Competent and strong men cannot succeed if there is con-
stant interference with the details of their labors.

It has been asserted that recommendations for appropriations,
while made in the name of the trustees, have really been dictated
by the superintendents. The answer to this argument is that the
recommendations, normally, must be suggested by the men who
have hourly contact with local needs ; that trustees are in posi-
tion to check these demands by dehberation and discussion ; and
that the state board of charities should represent the public inter-
est by a comparison of one year with another and of all records in
all states. It is impossible for superintendents to go far from the
general principles of successful administration without showing the
irregularity in their accounts and records of administration.

While there should be a genial tolerance of both discussion and

2o6 Relief and Care of Defectives.

experiment, the weight of argument and the authority of experi-
ence are at present distinctly on the side of the system under
which unpaid boards are employed, in connection with a central
state board to review the entire field and represent the common
interest. It is important also that the members should not come
from the same county, but should represent different locahties, and
not merely the interests of the neighborhood. If each board is
composed of members who retire and are replaced according to
classes, there will be a continuous element of members who have
experience. It is not well to have them elected, since appoint-
ment by the governor retains all necessary control without the
danger of poHtical selection and absence of direct responsibihty.

But much can be said in favor of erecting and maintaining,
especially in the older and larger states, several boards, with duties
defined according to the special nature of their task.

State Boa7'ds of Charity, Ltmacy, and Correction. — For the func-
tion of supervision and direction of the state institutions through
an administrative body it has been found desirable to appoint
boards of competent persons charged v/ith this duty. The ten-
dency to specialization in older and more populous states is shown
in the creation of separate bodies for the supervision or control of
institutions of charity, lunacy, prisons, health, and education. It
is impossible to govern such varied interests by general statutes,
and the legislature is incompetent to frame practical rules of gov-
ernment. Administrative agents may be selected by the execu-
tive head of a commonwealth who are able to give particular
attention to the various needs of the several classes of public
wards. Pauperism and crime should be separated from each
other in thought and practice, and both from insanity, health, and
education. The problems are too vast and complex to intrust to
a single board. There must be division of labor. It is impossi-
ble to find in any one man all the necessary qualifications for
success in several different departments. A commission which has
long devoted itself to the consideration of the wants of the insane
is rarely composed of persons most suitable to serve as overseers

State Boards and Federal Functions. 207

of prisoners. A board of health requires expert medical knowl-
edge, while the leaders of public schools must be trained in the
science and art of education.

There are two types of state boards of charities, distinguished
by their functions and powers, one charged with supervision, and
others with control. The objections to having a single board of
control for all the institutions of a state have already been

The proper field of a state board of charities is the supervision
of all establishments of the commonwealth, and of voluntary asso-
ciations which are philanthropic in character. It has power to
require accounts to be kept on a uniform and prescribed plan, so
that results may be compared. All officials are under legal obli-
gation to afford all necessary facilities for the study of conditions,
working, and discipline. The board represents the interests of
the entire people of the state, whose sacrifices furnish support and
whose fortunes are affected by the use or abuse of corporate
powers. Such a board, having no direct and administrative
responsibilities, is independent of each particular institution, and
is in a position to weigh and compare the claims of all with just
and fair judgment.

Their recommendations to the legislature have an authority and
presumption of impartiality which cannot be expected of the local
boards. The public is justified in a certain reserve in accepting
the statements, the claims, and the requests of a controlling body
which may be expected to favor its own policy and conduct.

A supervisory state board of charities may have certain quasi-
administrative duties assigned it without impairing its general
character. Thus it may be empowered to examine and pass upon
all plans for county, city, and state buildings, as asylums, poor-
houses, jails, and the law may require their approval before con-
tracts can be let. They may also be required to remove paupers
from the state or from one institution to another within the state,
when such changes promise to promote justice and efficiency of

2o8 Relief and Care of Defectives.

The political principle of administration at the basis of all state
boards is very wide and vital. The people of the entire common-
wealth have an interest, financial and moral, even in institutions
with local support and control, as schools, agricultural and techni-
cal colleges, police of cities, taxation, municipal finances, and
industries and charities. The principle may be formulated thus :
when the interest of the entire people of the commonwealth is
involved in local administration, the best regulative agency is a
supervisory board or a commission, appointed by the executive
branch, and acting continuously to safeguard the interest of the

The reasons for adopting this principle are : That a central board
or commission, so appointed, is more apt to be composed of able
and competent men. They act before the public view and are
held to a higher standard of responsibility and efiiciency. They
have a wider field for observation and camparison of conditions
and methods. They can command the most efficient means of
securing information.

The special and occasional examinations by temporary committees
of legislatures are utterly inadequate, because they have not the
previous and continuous training which secures expert judgment.

2. National Functions in Charity. — The general theory of legis-
lation in the United States is that charity and correction are func-
tions of commonwealths and of local governments. But since the
District of Columbia belongs to no particular state, its local insti-
tutions are under the control of Congress and are administered
by the national legislature through local bodies.

By an Act of Congress, approved June 6, 1900, entitled "An
Act to establish a board of charities for the District of Columbia,"
the present board of five members is appointed by the President,
with consent of the Senate. These gentlemen serve without com-
pensation. The secretary, appointed by the board, is paid a sal-
ary and administers the office. The act abolishes the former office
of superintendent of charities for the district. The board has
power to visit, inspect, and maintain a general supervision over all

State Boards and Federal Functions. 209

institutions, societies, or associations of a charitable, eleemosynary,
correctional, or reformatory character which are supported in
whole or in part by appropriations of Congress, made for the care
or treatment of residents of the District of Columbia. Plans for
new institutions must be submitted to the criticism of this board.
The Commissioners of the District may at any time order this
board to make investigations, and annual reports and estimates
are to be sent to Congress through the Commissioners.

The policy of subsidizing private institutions has been followed
in the past, and the board of 1900 repeats the complaints of pre-
vious officials that this policy is disastrous. " The almost uni-
versal experience has been that a charity has been organized by
private parties, and for a time supported by private sources, but
soon a small appropriation has been asked, and an increase has
been demanded from year to year, until the point is reached when
the charity is practically dependent upon the public treasury for
support, while at the same time its management remained entirely
in the hands of a private corporation."

The board proposes to act upon the principle that complete
public control shall in every case reach as far as public money ;
to pay a specific amount, under contract, for specific services ren-
dered ; and to retain the right to govern the admission of patients
to hospitals which receive public money.

Indirectly the national government renders highly important
aid to all works of philanthropy by gathering data for the scien-
tific study of the depressed social classes. The decennial census
reports are very valuable to the student. The Bureau of Educa-
tion collects statistics of schools for defectives, and the study of
abnormal man has been greatly promoted by contributions from
this source. The Department of Labor publishes the results of
economical investigations, which are of the highest importance to
our discipline.

Of recent years the federal authorities have taken in hand the
regulation and restriction of the immigration of defective immi-
grants, and no lower authority could effectively control this vast
stream of evil.


An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

We have from this point to deal with the social phenomena of
crime and criminals, and with the social arrangements for repress-
ing antisocial conduct. The scientific task of describing these
phenomena in an orderly way, of explaining them by causes, and
of dealing with them according to regulative principles discovered
in and approved by experience, has been called Criminal Sociology.

The Act of Crime in Relation to Morality. — While crime and
immorality occupy in part of their extent a common ground, they
are not identical throughout. Ingratitude, for example, is morally
evil and base, and tends to dissolve the moral relations of society.
It is severely reprobated by all men of character, and in literature
is held up to severe criticism. But ingratitude, as a disposition,
is never called a crime in the proper sense. Extravagance may
be very foolish and wicked, but it is not found mentioned in the
criminal code. Thus it is seen that morality goes far deeper than
criminal law, and includes in its scope many phases of the inner
life which the legislator can never reach with the rude and clumsy
machinery of statutes. Morality considers motives as well as acts ;
criminal law deals with overt actions and only incidentally with
motives. The immoral includes both inner dispositions and out-
ward deeds which are condemned by the ethical standards of heart
and life ; and these ethical standards are held by the mind of
society and expressed in its Kterature, personal criticism, rewards
and punishments of ordinary intercourse, and by religious sermons
and church disciphne.


An Introduction to Criminal Sociology. 211

Positive crimifial law deals with external acts. An act is prop-
erly called criminal when it has been prohibited by government,
and a penalty has been denounced against the doer of the forbid-
den act. One who neglects what is commanded by constituted
authority may also be legally guilty of a crime. Criminal law is a
body of legislation which defines forbidden acts and publishes
penalties. The law may make an action criminal which is not in
itself morally evil j as, for example, driving on the left side of a
bridge, or riding a bicycle on a park path.

Religion in Relation to Crifiie. — It is the social function of
religion to give divine sanction to the social behef of what is
morally good. Crime, so far as it is beUeved to be evil and inju-
rious to the community, is condemned by religion in the high
ethical forms in which we know it. So far as crime injures the
criminal himself and brings him to ruin, pity and compassion are
mingled with reprobation, and the sense of common brotherhood
is never quite lost.

Criminal sociology considers crime from the standpoint of social
welfare. It rests on a study, as profound and complete as possi-
ble, of the nature and laws of crime as a social phenomenon, anti-
social conduct — acts, habits, and customs which antagonize the
normal ends of human society, the conditions of general welfare,
of order and of progress, of the most complete life and satisfaction
of the entire community. By " laws " of crime we mean, in this
connection, the observed uniformities in the ways of criminals.
The next step is the study of the causes of crime, of the condi-
tions in nature, in physical states, and social environment which
tend to produce or increase the disposition to injurious acts.
In the same direction we must study the direct effects of for-
bidden conduct, as a disturbing factor in relation to social
welfare ; and also the reaction against crime in the awakening
of a community feeling and conviction and discriminating judg-
ment ; the impulsive, instinctive, and reflective stages of the reac-
tion ; the formation of a theory of the purpose and form of
penalty; the institutions created by social beliefs, as penal law,

212 An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

rules of judicial procedure, penitentiary systems, fines, awards, and
preventive measures.

The scientific task of criminal sociology is not done until it has
found standards of criticism, and shaped canons of judgment for
improvement in the actual system of treating crime, whether by
legislation, public custom, or by voluntary action.

The Relation of Cri7?imal Sociology to other Disciplines. — Crimi-
nal sociology derives part of its data from history, and especially
from the history of crimes and penalties in all ages, countries, and
stages of culture. It is in this historical treatment that we dis-
cover the general tendencies and cycUc changes of human thought
on the subject, and of corresponding methods.

Physical geography, so far as it explains the influence of soil,
chmate, and other territorial conditions on human nature, habits,
and efforts, is an important auxihary science.

Criminal sociology derives part of its data from criminal anthro-
pology, which, in turn, draws from comparative and human anatomy,
physiology, psychology.

But debt and obligation are woven together into the entire life
of progressive thinking, and there are reciprocal relations every-
where. Criminal anthropology asks help from ethnology and soci-
ology for a determination of the normal characteristics of races,
and the laws of normal social development, order, and progress.
Illustrations will be given at several points in the argument.

Criminal sociology is closely connected with criminal law ; and,
while they are distinct, they react upon each other. Through the
political organization of governments society determines the gen-
eral rules which define the duties of citizens to each other and to
the community. Criminal politics is defined by von Liszt as a sys-
tematic study of principles by which juristic order is defended
against crime by means of penalty and other agencies. It is
founded on the scientific study of crime, in itself, in its causes,
and of penalty in its applications and effects. It places in action
and realizes in practice the data of criminal sociology. Its branches
are penal law, criminal procedure, and penitentiary legislation.

An Introduction to Criminal Sociology. 213

Criminal sociology not only furnishes data to criminal politics, but
reviews all legislation and penal administration, with the purpose
of testing their provisions and methods in the light of principles
derived from its own survey of the social facts and effects of

The Value of Criminal Sociology. — It is quite generally ad-
mitted that men of law, advocates and judges, legislators and
statesmen, need to consider the data furnished by a systematic
study of those conditions which demand law and require modifi-
cations of statutes. Human law, however complete and system-
atic, is not ultimate. Society is constantly changing, and is
affected by new circumstances and forces. The book of codes
must yield to social life, and conform to the conditions of wel-
fare. Sociology is devoted to the systematic study of these con-
ditions, and thus furnishes the foundation for modifications of

For criminal lawyers and judges, however, something more is
required than a study of criminal sociology in its academic form.
The Bureau of the International Union of Criminalists said :
" With a view to the more thorough education of criminahsts, and
especially to their preparation for the practice of the law, it is
desirable that the training given them should no longer be con-
fined to the criminal law. Either by means of optional courses,
open to all university students, or else by special courses designed
for practising jurists, a broader and deeper knowledge should be
imparted to them of the causes of crime in general, the peculiarities
of criminals, and the best methods of inflicting legal penalties."

An elementary introduction to these topics, and their literature,
is given in this volume. Lawyers who propose to follow the prac-
tice of criminal law, as advocates or judges, ought, also, to have
courses in medical science, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, and
physical anthropology ; they should reside and work in a prison
at least one year, should practise in criminal courts, and join to
this the history and theory of criminal law.

It is hoped that this course may be found helpful to younger

214 An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

prison officers and superintendents of reformatories and parental
schools. It will suggest methods of observation, the results of
race experience in the administration of penalty, the higher ideals
of their profession, a wider and juster view of the relations of their
occupations to the general social movement, and a key to the
select literature of their calling. It is rrot pretended that such
book or class study can be a substitute for actual experience
under trained superintendents or wardens. There is an art in
dealing with particular kinds of people which cannot be learned
from books, and there is a skill in that art which only practice
can give. But a mastery of fundamental facts and principles will
give a charm and power to practice and lift it above the monoto-
nous level of mere slavish imitation.

The chief object of this discussion is to prepare intelligent citi-
zens to be social leaders of public opinion, and give right direction
to thought in relation to crime. It will be seen as we proceed
that society can protect itself against crime by more efficient
means than reformatories and prisons ; that these formal and direct
measures come too late for the highest preventive efficacy; that the
general and positive movement of a community upward toward a
universal and cooperative life of culture and virtue is, in reality, the
only security against the growth of a crime class. Therefore,
while the technical questions of prison management, of court prac-
tice, and of detective service are of interest chiefly to a profes-
sional class, the study of the social causes of crime and commu-
nity education are of interest to every good citizen.


Close to the wall was a circle of street Arabs, awed into silence and respect
by the charm of this remarkable personality. Next to them came a ring of
women — some of them old and gray, with haggard and wrinkled counte-
nances upon which Time, with its antique pen, had traced many illegible hiero-
glyphs; some of them young and bedizened with tinsel jewellery and flashy
clothing ; not a few of them middle-aged, wan, dispirited, and bearing upon
their hips bundles wrapped in faded shawls, from which came occasionally
that most distressing of sounds, the wail of an ill-fed and unloved infant cry-
ing in the night.

Outside of this zone of female misery and degradation there was a belt of
mascuhne stupidity and crime : men with corpulent bodies, bull necks, double
chins, pile-driving heads ; men of shrunken frames, cadaverous cheeks, deep-
set and beady eyes, vermin-covered, disease-devoured, hope-deserted. They
clung around him, these concentric circles of humanity, like rings around a

luminous planet, held by they knew not what resistless attraction C. F.

Goss, " The Redemption of David Corson," p. 335.

The first step in the systematic study of the phenomena of
antisocial conduct is to distinguish the characters of the hetero-
geneous class who come together under the condemnation of the
criminal law. Who is the criminal ? What are the peculiarities
of his nature and constitution, and what are the marks of different
kinds of criminals ? Superficial notice of a file of prisoners in the
penitentiary yard, all clothed in the dreary uniform, with close-
cropped hair and shaven face, marching in lock step from shop
to cells, may reveal no marked differences. But closer observa-
tion and daily contact soon compel one to distinguish markedly
different classes of men under the apparent sameness. Prison
officers are compelled to recognize various groups for practical


Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonIntroduction to the study of the dependent, defective, and delinquent classes, and of their social treatment → online text (page 18 of 35)