Charles Richmond Henderson.

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

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have committed acts which would send an adult to the state peni-
tentiary, as larceny, arson, stabbing. In consideration of their
immaturity, and the hope of their reformation, it is not wise to
confine adolescents with old offenders, even for one night, in
places of detention. In the lockup or jail they should be con-
fined, awaiting trial, in separate cells, without possibility of
communication with others. Their trial should be conducted
quietly and without publicity, in a way to avoid making heroes
of them in the criminal group. If certain more depraved and
hardened cases are excluded from the population, and a firm and
wise administration is maintained, the prison forms may be
omitted, or greatly reduced. The occupations should be, as far
as possible, agricultural and horticultural, and the educational
influences should tend toward a career in country life. Even for
rural industry the elements of the trade should be taught. Since
many boys from cities are certain to return to their homes, a
great variety of trades must be taught to meet their wants.

The previous history of the child or youth must be studied, so
as to adapt discipline and education to its nature and needs.
Youths accustomed to the city seldom are willing to go to the

330 An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

farm, and must be taught town trades. Country children may be
taught rural occupations. There should be no minute specializa-
tion and division of labor, and the effort should be to give
general training.

All teachers should join with the children in actual manual
work in order to set an example of the dignity and honor of
labor. Fine precepts about honest toil do not come with sin-
cerity and grace from teachers whose hands are never soiled.
For this personal influence the cottage group system is far more
favorable than the great military camp or barracks found in many
places of the older types. In this connection may be added
another consideration. "In every reformatory for boys there
are those who have become adepts in crime, and who, like their
elders in jails and city prisons, instruct the newcomer in the
secrets of criminal practices. For this reason a reform school
should be conducted on the cottage plan, and the boys separated
into small groups, according to their different characteristics —
say not more than twenty in one family" (Dr. W. P. Letchworth).

It must be remembered that these children will not live in
houses of luxury. They will meet hardness, plain fare, and pri-
vation. Therefore, the institutional life must be plain and aus-
tere in furniture, while it must not be injurious to health nor
offensive to good taste.

Youths should be taught to earn money, keep strict accounts,
buy and sell useful and pretty articles, so as to learn the value of

All juvenile offenders under the age of sixteen years should be
regarded as under reformatory education, and not as criminals;
the institutions in which they are trained should be called
schools, and, logically, should be under the control of the school
authorities, and not form part of the prison system. Youths over
sixteen years and under eighteen should not be permitted to
mingle with those under sixteen. Children under twelve, who
are in moral peril or have committed an offence, should be
regarded as simply wards of the state when brought to the notice

Social Treatment of Juvenile Offenders. ^^ i

of the court, their treatment having been sufficiently discussed
in our Part II. The state guardianship of endangered children
should extend to civil majority, save that by a decree of court the
guardianship may be ended when the ward seems to be placed in
safe surroundings.

Discrimination. — In each institution for juveniles there should
be classification according to age, sex, and degree of devel-
opment. But in addition to careful classification there must
be individual treatment, and this is impossible in a large group.
For this reason the population of each building must not be
larger than makes personal knowledge of each inmate practi-

There should be careful and periodical examination of each
person by physicians and teachers to discover those physical and
psychical traits which call for particular methods of directing
labor, diet, education, and discipline.

Refo7'matgries or Intermediate Prisons. — Maturity is not
reached until the age of twenty five or twenty-six years, and up
to that time the formative processes are still going forward.
On the average, juvenile offenders are less rapidly developed,
physically, mentally, and morally, than persons brought up under
more favorable conditions and well nourished, although they are
precocious in low tastes and tricks. Hence the period of tute-
lage may in their case be extended. But young men and women
over eighteen years of age are proper subjects of the criminal
law, and are, if normal, to be regarded as responsible for their
own acte. Hence they must be placed in prisons for social
security and for reformation.

Communication with home should ordinarily be encouraged
from the first. The refusal to permit communication, as special
punishment, during the first months of incarceration, seems to
violate this principle of economizing the restorative influence
of domestic affections. Discretion must be exercised, on the
other hand, to prevent influences which depress and corrupt.

If it happens that young offenders must be placed in the same

2^2 An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

prison with older offenders, they should be physically separated by
a wall, and their care be intrusted to a special corps of teachers
and assistants, who are imbued with the educational purpose.

Prisoners should be released on parole and conditionally. A
state agent should secure them employment before they are per-
mitted to go free, and there should be a systematic guardianship
of them until their final release. Prisoners' Aid Societies may
render an important help in this work of securing places and
supervising conduct.

5. Preventive Measures for Normal Children. Factory laws. —
The premature occupation of children in factory industry is a
direct physical and intellectual injury. It has been shown that
juvenile offenders at the best are, on the average, defective in
physical strength, and that this defect makes regular industry
more uncertain and a career of theft more likely. To add to
this burden too early confinement in indoor occupations, in the
brutalizing surroundings of slaughter houses, and in the poisonous
atmosphere of chemical works, is simply to increase the certainty
of criminality. All the more advanced states in civilized
countries have accepted these principles, and established legal
restrictions of factory labor for minors, and provided inspectors
to see that the law is enforced.

For physiological reasons nature protects the rapidly growing
child by making him at times lazy. Steady strain of labor is for
him unnatural; and if he is prematurely driven to the machine
he acquires a set of painful and revolting associations with indus-
try from which he never recovers. The task of normal childhood
is play and education, and a society which robs its poor children
of these is breaking down its laborers and transforming them
into criminals.

Mrs. Browning was profoundly right in declaring that children
need mothers and play, and

Learn by such

Love's holy earnest in a pleasant play,

And get not over-early solemnized.

Social Treatment of Juvenile Offenders. ^^^

Compulsory Education. — It is sometimes pleaded that it is
better to employ children in factories than to permit them to
run idle in the streets. The argument is sophistical and mis-
leading. No community has a right to permit its children either
to work in factories or to become vagrant. All states are able to
provide means for the education of children during their growing
years; and they should be kept busy in schools, which will not
only teach them to read and write, but will also train them for
productive industries. Since many juvenile offenders are simply
backward and slow or feeble, the public schools can prevent
many falls by setting apart special rooms for exceptional chil-
dren, and devoting to them teachers who know how to help them
over the hard places. The day industrial school may be used
for special cases not otherwise provided for. Individual treat-
ment must be given to the very dull, the sickly, the way-

Manual Training and Trade Schools. — It would be less neces-
sary to fine parents and incarcerate children for vagrancy if the
methods of instruction in schools were adapted to the varied
wants of the pupils who cannot profit by the conventional meth-
ods. Tool work is more interesting than marbles or ball to many
growing boys. Children love to make things and watch the
growth of living beings. They are active and wish to create;
and for these impulses there is little gratification in the homes.
of the poor or in the ordinary public schools.

Many thousands of children in our cities come to maturity
without the possibility of learning a useful trade or art, and they
drift into crime almost by necessity. Provision for the teaching
of trades in connection with the public schools has become a
necessity of our industrial civilization.

Dependent Children. — A complete system of care for dependent
children, as already outlined in Part II, would go far to dimin-
ish the necessity for resorting to lawless acts to secure the means
of existence and enjoyment; and such a system must be regarded
as one of the most promising means of preventing crime.

334 ^^ Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

Legal provision should be made in each state for removing
children from parents who are unfit to educate them. Where
children alone are concerned it is better to employ the civil courts.
But criminal courts should deal with parents who are convicted
of crime involving the interests of their children; and even when
children are taken from vicious parents, these latter should be
held in bonds to pay for their care as far as they are able.

In a plea for improved reform schools a great newspaper said :
"As we turn from the impressionable boys at the schools to the
hardened old offenders at jails and prisons the lesson becomes
intensified. The majority of these adult criminals are the product
of the demoralizing surroundings of their youth. If an illustration
were needed the environment would be easy to find in any great
city. ... It is thrust forward upon many of the main lines of
travel, from which there are suggestions of innumerable blocks
of filth, brutality, and squalor. The low saloon is always much
in evidence in such neighborhoods, and among its frequenters
are not only swinish men, who are equally offensive to sight and
smell and hearing, but slatternly, frowsy, red-faced women and
the wretched, unkempt brood of children in whose lives there is
not a single refining influence, while there is every appeal to
their brutish instincts."

It is well to build and improve reform schools; but they come
too late. It is more important to purify the original fountain
than to sweeten or salt one of its numerous streams. The real
logic of the illustration leads not merely to arrest of a bad boy
here and there, and his incarceration in an industrial school,
but in reforming and remaking the surroundings of the low men
and women, and banishing, as any great city can if it will,
"the blocks of filth, brutality, and squalor." The argument of
these pathetic facts drives us to establish more settlements, centres
of organized personal and charitable service; better schools;
decent habitations; inspection of drains and closets; religious
labor of genial, educated, devoted, and tactful workers; and all
the agencies for transforming life inside and outside. Compared

Social Treatment of Juvenile Offenders. ^35

with these thoroughgoing and adequate enterprises it is a petty
play and ghastly mockery to snatch an occasional wayward child
out of this seething, swarming, defiling environment of evil and
give him exceptional treatment in public institutions. If youths
return "reformed" from the reform school, even with the best
intentions, and are plunged in this moral mud bath, they simply
turn up again in the intermediate prison and the penitentiary.

6. Prevention of Prostitution. — The following recommenda-
tions were made by the International Prison Congress of 1895,
and may be considered as having the highest authority of expert

Abduction by fraud or allurement for prostitution, the employ-
ment of such means to constrain even one who has reached
majority to lead a life of prostitution, ought to be severely
repressed, with an increase of penalty in case of repetition of
the offence.

It was recommended that a conference of delegates of different
governments be called to take international measures against the
abduction of girls.

To restrict the prostitution of minors^ it was urged that the age
at which seduction should be considered criminal, the "age of
consent," should be raised to fifteen years; and that the states
should provide an adequate number of reform schools, asylums,
refuges, and similar establishments for the care and treatment of
wayward girls.

Recognizing the influence of religious education upon public
morality, it is necessary to consider the important place which
should always be accorded to it.

Every minor of either sex, less than eighteen years of age,
found in a state of habitual prostitution, should be conducted,
after a preliminary examination, before a court which, according
to circumstances, shall commit the minor to his or her parents,
or to some house of refuge, education, or reformation; or to
some honorable family, until the age of civil majority.

International cooperation in the protection of endangered

^^6 An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

children was recommended, on the ground that the schemes of
procurers are international.

7. Among the methods already mentioned in connection with
the care of children in crowded parts of cities, and as having
direct and indirect value in preventing juvenile delinquency,
may be suggested, the vacation schools, the multiplication of
public playgrounds, and public baths. Bathing diminishes the
irritability which incites to passionate outbursts in hot weather.
Boys are tempted to act indecently, and expose themselves to
arrest, by bathing in forbidden public places, because the city
provides no means of satisfying the normal craving for a plunge
in cool water and swimming in that refreshing element. It is
far better to remove the temptation than to increase the rigor of
the penalty.

8. Cooperation of Private and Church Agencies with the State.
— Here may be mentioned, without elaboration, the importance
of the modern methods of the "institutional" church; the mul-
tiplication of agencies of the church in influencing the character
and conduct of the population of neglected quarters of cities;
the personal labors of genial and spiritual workers in the homes
of the poor; the placing of dependent and neglected children in
good homes; the clubs and friendly services of the residents of
settlements; the visitors of associated charities; the noble corps
of kindergarten teachers; and cooperation with probation officers
and agents of societies for aiding discharged prisoners and their

The state should encourage private institutions and societies,
and in no way hamper them by law or by official interference;
and frequently the state can obtain the necessary personal and
affectionate watchcare needed by wayward wards in no other way.

No public body should ever subsidize a private charity.

No child should be deprived of liberty and confined in a pri-
vate or sectarian institution without appearing before a proper
court and being declared delinquent or abandoned. The record
of the court should show the history and disposition of each case.

Social Treatment of Juvenile Offenders. 337

The court should have the right, if it thinks best for the child
and society, to send it to a public, rather than to a private

It is necessary to require of sectarian and private institutions
all that is required of public establishments, and to oblige those
which place out youth to maintain the state standard of supervising
and selecting homes.

The state must reserve the right of visitation and inspection,
at any time, by special agents of its own, in a conciliatory and
courteous spirit, with the sole object of guarding the interests of
abandoned children and young delinquents.

9. Education of the Public in Criminal Sociology. — The igno-
rance and prejudice of the public interferes with successful prison
management and with other parts of the treatment of criminals.
Under the best system of prison labor which can be devised, some
particular interest may be touched, and the boycott or adverse
legislation may make rational and productive industry impossible.
The labors of prison societies for aiding discharged prisoners
would be greatly facilitated if the public understood more clearly
the difference between habitual and occasional criminals. The
voluntary visitation of prisoners, under proper regulations, may be
made valuable and helpful to reformation, but only on condition
that the visitors are not only pious and sensible and sympathetic,
but are also acquainted with the characteristics of criminals and
the principles of prison management and the elements of crimi-
nal law. Preventive work must be carried on chiefly by volun-
tary effort and enterprise, and the necessity and method must be
learned by a study of the nature of the criminal and the causes of
crime, as well as of the results of the world's experience.

Methods of educating the Public in Criminal Sociology. — The
ministers of different denominations should every year devote a
sermon on "Prison Sunday," the fourth Sunday of October, to
give inspiration and information in regard to reformatory and
preventive work. It is easy to find Biblical texts. But in order
that ministers may be led to think of this subject and be pre-

338 An Introduction to Criminal Sociology.

pared to speak intelligently, each theological school should pro-
vide at least a course of lectures on charitology and criminal
sociology, as well as on related practical subjects. It is encour-
aging to note the remarkable progress made in this direction
during the past few years.

Editors of newspapers and magazines should give support to
these efforts to instruct the people by employing trained persons
to write careful articles on the subject, especially when some
event in criminal affairs has attracted general notice.

The state and national conferences which regularly discuss
these subjects deserve the support of all social leaders of thought
and action.

The societies for aiding discharged prisoners and for preven-
tive work among children and youth may, in the very act of
winning members and support, educate the public in relation to
the entire subject of punishment and reformation.


In order that we may not lose the thread of unity in the details
of problem and method, we need to set before us afresh the end
of all social action. The purpose which should govern the estab-
lishment and maintenance of social institutions must be the well
being of all the members of the community.

Professor T. H. Green has summarized the ethical ideal of
human association in this passage : —

"Does this or that law or usage, this or that course of action
— directly or indirectly, positively or as a preventive of the
opposite — contribute to the better being of society, as measured
by the more general establishment of conditions favorable to
the attainment of the recognized virtues or excellencies, by the
more general attainment of those excellencies in some degree,
or by their attainment on the part of some persons in higher
degree, without detraction from the opportunities of others?"
("Prolegomena to Ethics " ^).

Another and later statement is more concrete and comprehen-
sive : " Human association is a continuous process of realizing a
larger aggregate and better proportions of the health, wealth,
sociability, knowledge, beauty, and righteous desires " (A. W.
Small, "American Journal of Sociology," January, 1901, p. 509).

The forms of social organization which we have been consider-
ing are parts of a whole, must find their place and unity in that
whole, and must be judged, favorably or unfavorably, according
as they contribute to this common good.^

1 Cf. A. Comte, "Positive Philosophy," II, 40.

2 In this survey some expressions are repeated from the author's address found
in the " Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction," 1899,
pp. I ff-


340 Survey and Outlook.

Assuming that we must long deal with a certain element of
dependent persons, — though a diminishing number, let us hope,
— what must we seek? (i) We must guarantee our altruism,
that fine and delicate sentiment, ornament of humanity, flower
of our ethical development, fruit of our religion. We cannot
sacrifice social sympathy, tenderness, acute sensibility to suffer-
ing. We must not even think of going back to that savage and
brutal state of heart in which our ancestors lived, in which chil-
dren could beat out the brains of toothless parents, in which
fathers and mothers could without a pang expose to vultures
their deformed and feeble babes. Nor can we return to that
stage of culture where society can pursue a policy of torture and
extermination against criminals. (2) But, on the other hand,
we cannot permit the cost and burden of defect to oppress our
culture without an effort to reduce the load. The wealth which
goes to prisons, insane asylums, and almshouses is needed for
higher ends. (3) We must resist, by all available means, the
deterioration of the common stock, the corruption of blood, the
curses of heredity. It must be included in our plan that more
children will be born with large brains, sound nerves, good
digestive organs, and love of independent struggle. We wish
the parasitic strain, the neuropathic taint, the consumptive ten-
dency, the foul disease, to die out. These' are social ends, and
it is the duty of philanthropists to include them in every

The community has put forth its efforts to advance the common
welfare in relation to the groups of dependents and delinquents
in three directions: education, protective restraint, and social
selection by humane elimination.

When any members of society have, even temporarily, become
dependent, dangerous, or hostile, and have become incapable of
using freedom without injury to others and themselves, the com-
munity puts forth its hand to restrain, to guide, to eliminate.
If the person gives promise of capacity to regain entire freedom
through instruction and training, then a purely educative policy

Survey and Outlook 341

is demanded by the situation. The normal child is placed in
an ordinary home. The sick are cured in a hospital. The
reformed convict is restored to his place in society.

If the person is permanently helpless and requires nursing, he
is provided with an asylum, and surrounded with all the educa-
tional facilities which he is capable of using. He remains a
member of society, though feeble-minded, and is helped to live
his own best life, even if it is unwise to give him liberty to go
where he will.

In order that society may not have to bear the hereditary bur-
den of imperfect offspring, the same agencies and means which
provide restraint and humane provisions for developing limited
capacity become means of elimination. The school for the
feeble-minded grows into a custodial asylum for adults, and
becomes the dyke against further invasion of an undesirable
family stock.

The Spirit and Institutions of Religion. — " We may boldly
assert that there never was a nation remarkable for its religious-,
ness and morality which declined so long as it preserved these
highest of all goods, but that no nation outlived their possession.
. . . And there, too, is Christianity, whose means of grace are
at hand for every one at all times, for his complete moral
regeneration" (Roscher, "Political Economy," II, 387, 389).

These words of a distinguished economist indicate the relation
of religion to the means of mitigating and removing the related
curses of pauperism and crime. Physical and political condi-

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonIntroduction to the study of the dependent, defective, and delinquent classes, and of their social treatment → online text (page 29 of 35)