Charles Richmond Henderson.

Modern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods online

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pense to the State, and by locating the buildings in different parts
of the grounds complete separation is possible and all the advan-
tages of separate institutions are secured.

Subject of Reformatory. — We have always regarded the inmates
of the reformatory as youthful criminals and have too often
treated them as such ; but study has revealed that they are not
criminals at heart, but that their misconduct is due to influences



over which they have no control. An examination of the records
of the various reformatories has shown that in cases where re-
formatory inmates had both parents Hving, in nine out of ten of
these cases one or the other of the parents was distinctly dis-
reputable ; not 6 per cent, of the children had homes which were
morally fit for the child to live in and not more than 15 per cent,
of the juveniles committed to the reformatories and industrial
school came from homes in which they were fairly housed, fairly
fed or fairly clad. It is evident from this that the juvenile of-
fender is the joint product of bad heredity and bad environment.
It has been estimated that 90 per cent, of them are morally de-
praved, and when at liberty are surrounded by depraving associa-

Such disclosures have led those interested in relief and child-
saving work to insist that the following regulations should be
carried out in the treatment of the juvenile offenders. Several
States have embodied the spirit of these regulations in their

First, imprisonment of juvenile and first offenders should be
absolutely prohibited except as a last resort for those convicted
of flagrant crimes.

Second, when a limited imprisonment is necessary, it must be
by entirely separate confinement.

Third, juvenile and first offenders should never be confined in
jail with older criminals while awaiting trial.

Fourth, the primary and supreme object of the sentences of
the convicted juvenile or first offender should be his rescue from
a criminal life.

Fifth, the character and circumstances of the accused should
be carefully investigated and allowed full weight and influence in
determining whether the juvenile or first offender should be tried
and convicted or not, and in placing the kind of sentence which
should be imposed upon conviction.

Construction of Reformatory Buildings. — The reformatory school
should be built upon the same plan as the industrial school.
There should be shops and facilities for industrial training, gym-
nasium and a chapel. The cottage system with the classifica-
tion of the inmates and the family life are even more essential
than in the industrial school. As yet it has not seemed wise to


dispense with all of the prison features ; barred windows, high
walls and solitary cells for punishment have not found efficient

Instruction for the Boys. — More than all else the boys need a
steady training in some industry by which they can earn their
living when they leave the reformatory. In addition, they should
have a good common school education, a course in civics, music,
military drill and a physical, moral and spiritual training.

Discipline. — The aim of the reformatory discipline is correction
and saving the youth from repetition of the crime. This end
is not gained by intimidating measures. By such measures
and the usual prison discipline "the will is obliterated, the
individual's power of action and decision reduced to a nullity ;
he is shut up within the narrow horizon of his own disordered
imaginings ; he lives and breathes in the polluted atmosphere of
monotony, solitude and crime; his social sympathies are sup-
pressed and starved ; society, friendship and affection, the pillars
upon which human happiness repose, are demolished." The op-
posite of all this is what he needs. He has been a product of
abnormal circumstances; his economic conditions, and all the
opportunities for making anything of himself have been of an
adverse character, and as long as abnormal conditions continue,
abnormal conduct will be inevitable. For his reformation such
a youth must be placed in the midst of wholesome material and
moral surroundings. The reformatory could be a home where
parental care and love are paramount. His life may be made
hopeful and happy. The idea that he is in imprisonment should
be lost sight of in his interest in his work, in the desire he has had
instilled in him to create something and in the awakening of
self-respect, and interest.

Superintendents. — Much depends upon the superintendent. His
position should be one entirely free from politics and all of his
interests should be centered in his work. He needs a cautious
judgment and strong will, true sympathy and a keen understand-
ing of human conduct. He must not only be a master of the
work, but a willing leader and a partaker in it. The boys should
find in him a friend and counsellor. He is aided by his assistants,
clerks in the office, physician, chaplain, teachers, housekeeper,
foreman of the shops and director of the kitchen.



Release. — Release is usually granted only when the boy has shown
himself able to take care of himself. Even then, only condition-
ally with the discharged under the care of a probation officer who
secures employment and tools for him, and assists him by advice
and support to maintain himself honestly.

There is need for a more definite plan by which the boy dis-
charged from a reformatory can secure permanent work and can
be relieved of every kind of police espionage. One plan under
consideration aims to secure a manufacturing site, upon which a
large working institution may be placed. It is proposed that this
institution be equipped with machinery and be made modern in
every particular. All of the work is to be done by the men and
boys discharged from a house of correction and the training
school. The work undertaken would depend largely upon the
kind of employment most adaptable to these men and boys. It
is a novel and suggestive project, but its disadvantages are very

Homes for Juvenile Female Offenders. — The home of the juvenile
female offenders should be constructed and conducted on the
same plan as the reformatory. The girls come from the same
surroundings and conditions as the boys and should receive the
same consideration. In discipline, hope should be made to take
the place of fear, and reward, of punishment. The object of
their education should be to fit them for earning a livelihood and
living an honest life. For these purposes there must be oppor-
tunities given for a common school education, classes in cook-
ing, dress-making, laundry work and nursing. Training may be
given in physical culture, music and social etiquette. For the
girls who prefer a business career, instruction is offered in teleg-
raphy, typewriting, stenography, etc. Release is not granted to
any girl before she is in a position to care for herself. After her
discharge she should be placed under the supervision of a pro-
bation offfcer, and aided in securing work or a proper home.

Child Labor Laws.'^ — The following States have prohibited the
employment of children below the age of fourteen years : Massa-
chusetts, Connecticut, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan,
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri, and in Louisiana and
New Jersey the employment of girls under fourteen is prohibited.

^ Ey C. R. Henderson.


In Pennsylvania and Ohio the age Hmit is thirteen years in fac-
tories, while in mines it is fourteen in Pennsylvania and fifteen
in Ohio. In the following States the limit is placed at twelve
years : New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, North Dakota,
California, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, and in Louisi-
ana and New Jersey twelve is the age limit for boys only. In
two of our States ten years is the age limit, /'. e., in Vermont and
Nebraska. In some States child labor is prohibited in the mines,
while no restriction is placed on their employment in factories
and workshops. The year 1903 was prolific of new enactments,
all tending to more strict control of child labor. In the South
the first statutory regulation has been secured in six States. "Lit-
tle, if any, provision has been made in the Southern States for the
enforcement of these regulations by factory inspectors, health
officers or other public officials which experience has demon-
strated to be necessary. Florida, Georgia and Mississippi are still
without protective statutes." But the conscience of the people
is awake and vested interests in property will not permanently
override the social interest in childhood.^

AI. Preventive Measures.^ Free Employment Bureaus. —
The Free Employment Bureau of the State of New York in 1902
had 5,903 applicants for work, 4,106 applicants for help, and se-
cured 3,662 situations. Of the applicants, 2,656 were men and
3,247 women.

The free employment bureaus in 13 States of the United
States are conducted and managed principally by departments of
labor. The chief reason for the establishment of State bureaus is
the dishonesty of many of the private agencies who take fees but
do not render service, and some of them are agencies of betraying
innocent girls into the control of houses of ill-fame. The Italian
padrone system is also severely condemned as a means of exploit-
ing immigrants for the benefit of the padrone.

Most of the States have passed laws regulating employment
agencies. The Bureau of the Statistics of Labor of Massachu-
setts investigated the workings of free bureaus in 1903 and has

^ Handbook of Child Labor Legislation of National Consumers' League. Rep.
New York Dept. of Labor, 1902, p. Ill, 586. — Rep. Industrial Commission, Vol. V,
pp. 50-52.

* By C. R. Henderson,


reported to the legislature that such ofBces at home and abroad
have been uniformly successful, and recommends their establish-
ment by State authority in the principal cities.^

Insurance of Workingmcn. — The value of insurance agains"" fire,
death, sickness, accidents, unemployment and old age is coming
to be more generally recognized. The majority of our people
live on farms and believe that the best protection against suffer-
ing is an investment in land. But even with farmers the prin-
ciple of insurance is accepted and acted upon.

It is in cities and among our rapidly growing wage earning
group that other methods of protection, better suited to their
economic situation and prospects, are sought. At present both
custom and law are in a chaotic condition, but the experiments
now under trial are full of promise for the near future ; each at-
tempt increases the fund of knowledge and opens the eyes of
men to the need, and sets them upon inquiry after the best solu-
tion of the problem.

Legal Aspect of Compulsory Insurance. — "The community is cer-
tainly interested in averting sudden and unexpected losses as
well as the destitution following from sickness and disease, and
the distribution of these losses over large numbers through insur-
ance is a legitimate end of governmental policy. ... It may, how-
ever, be safely asserted that compulsory insurance requires that
either the state itself becomes the insurer, or that it exercise an
efficient control over private or semi-public associations which
the individual is compelled to join ; for this alone eliminates from
the problem the difficulty that the state would force the indi-
vidual to enter into contract relations with other private parties
without substantially guaranteeing performance to the individual
who is required to part with his money."^

The methods now upon their trial may be classified as follows:
(i) Schemes of thrift and savings; (2) building and loan asso-
ciations ; (3) mutual benefit associations, local and national ; (4)
insurance against sickness, accidents and unemployment, by trade
unions ; (5) insurance funds under the impulse and direction of
employers, especially of large corporations ; (6) "industrial insur-

^ New York State Library, Legislative Bulletin, 1903. Rep. New York Dept.
of Labor, 1902, p. 51, 7th An. Rep. of Free Employment Bureau in N. Y. City.
^ E, Freund, Police Power, p. 464.


ance," with a motive of profit, by insurance companies; (7) the
pension funds of firemen, policemen, teachers and other munici-
pal servants ; (8) the pension system for soldiers and sailors by
the Federal government. As yet the State and National govern-
ments have not entered upon the policy of insuring wage earners.

The subject of compulsory government insurance is now be-
fore the people of the United States. It has been carefully stud-
ied by the Department of Labor and the results published. It
has come before Congress in a resolution asking for further study
of the situation. The Industrial Commission gave the matter
some attention and printed the facts relating to methods already
in use in the country. The National Conference of Charities and
Correction appointed a commission of seven persons to consider
the bearing of insurance on public and private charity and to
make a report in 1905.

Cruelty to Animals. — The growth of humane feeling has, even in
the absence of express legislation, abolished much of the harsh-
ness of former barbarous habits, and extended mercy to all senti-
ent creatures. Through the organization and activity of societies
for the prevention of cruelty to animals many offensive practices
have been abandoned or greatly mitigated. Under the common
law or statutes drivers of horses have been arrested for maltreat-
ing their humble servants ; the use of pigeons for targets at
shooting matches has been diminished; cattle on trains and in
stockyards must be properly fed, watered and protected from
cold and heat. Needless suffering in the use of vivisection for
scientific purposes will soon be brought under suitable regulation.

Pawnbroking. — With the growth of cities and of a class of people
always living close up to the margin of want, the necessity of
securing small loans for consumption becomes more urgent.
Legal protection of the borrower goes with defence of society
against theft, and the pawnbroker is ever tempted to become a
"fence" for the sale of stolen goods. Thus it is required in Chi-
cago that the pawnbroker shall deliver daily to the superintend-
ent of police a book showing every article pledged and the name
and residence of the pledger. Since the risk of loss and the cost
of collection are very great where sums lent are small and the
habits of borrowers unknown, some States have permitted pri-
vate lenders and pawners' societies to receive higher than legal



rates of interest. Otherwise the business could not be carried
on, and poor persons would be obliged to borrow secretly at
still more oppressive rates.

Provident Loans} — Various semi-philanthropic methods have
been used in American cities to provide means for small loans
on personal and chattel security. Many of the charity organiza-
tion societies keep a fund to lend to approved persons to tide
them over an emergency and save them from falling into the
hands of hard and unscrupulous lenders. When the records of
the borrowers are carefully studied and only honest, healthy and
industrious persons are given credit, this method has yielded
good results. With vagabonds, drunkards and idlers some other
course must be taken.

On a larger scale, chiefly as a preventive measure, provident
loan associations and public pawners' societies "capitalize the
credit" of honest poor persons and secure them temporary accom-
modations at reasonable rates of interest, either to prevent imme-
diate sufifering or to furnish a capital for some small venture in

The American cities have not yet followed the European ex-
ample by opening pawnshops under the direct management of
the municipal administration.

Among the measures which come under the "police power"
of the State and which aid in the prevention of pauperism
are: sanitary control of houses and lodging places; employ-
ers' liability and compensation laws ; factory inspection ; regu-
lation of the hours of labor in mines and factories ; prevention
of labor of women and children where health or morals may be
injured; the guardianship of habitual spendthrifts whose extrava-
gance threatens their families with want ; the creation of boards
of health; the control of contagious and epidemic diseases; the
protection of debtors ; and many others.^

Care of Discharged Prisoners and Their Families. — In the year
1890, at the hour of taking the census, there were 97,000 persons
in the prisons of the United States (52,894 in State prisons, and
the others in local houses of correction). In 1902-3 10,850 pris-
oners were discharged from 36 establishments studied by Mr.

^J. Lee, Constructive and Preventive Philanthropy, ch. III.

* All these are discussed, with citation of authorities, in Freund, Police Power.


E. B. Woods. Twenty-four of these institutions gave no help of
any kind, except a suit of clothes and transportation.

In order to protect the discharged prisoners and lend them a
helping hand at the critical hour when they face a frowning world
with only a bad record behind them, voluntary associations have
been formed. The methods employed are as various as the
agencies. Some societies simply act as employment bureaus and
guide the discharged person to his occupation; others provide
temporary homes. Some societies receive State subsidies, while
others derive all their income from private means.

Clothing and tools are sometimes supplied; employment is
sought and arrangements made with employers to give the ex-
convict a friendly reception and a patient trial ; broken families
are brought together, and correspondence with the home is en-
couraged ; the wife and children are aided during the enforced
absence of the bread-winner; religious services and personal care
of souls are supplied ; religious and moral associations for mutual
encouragement are established in the prisons and jails ; proba-
tion officers are selected and supported in the work of looking
after prisoners out on conditional release and parole ; men are
protected from unreasonable surveillance of the police, while
they are trying to regain a reputation for honesty and industry ;
prisons are inspected and abuses corrected or reported to the
highest authorities ; and, out of the knowledge gained, public
opinion is instructed and guided into rational decisions as to

In 1776 the first Prisoners' Aid Society (now called the Penn-
sylvania Prison Society) was organized in Philadelphia. Among
the most conspicuous societies are the New York Prison Asso-
ciation, the Massachusetts Society for Aiding Discharged Con-
victs, the Connecticut Prison Association and the Maryland Pris-
oners' Aid Society. The Central Howard Association of Chi-
cago is a younger branch of the family.^

^ E. B. Woods, "The Work of American Prison Societies," in Jour. Prison Dis-
cipline and Philanthropy, Jan., 1903. — E. C. Wines, Prisons and Child Saving
Institutions. — Report of A. W. Butler, National Prison Association, 1902, pp. 282-
326. — P. W. Ayres, "Care of Discharged Prisoners in the United States," in report
of the International Prison Congress of 1900, at Brussels. — Mrs. B. Booth, "After
Prison — What?" (1903).



There are industrial homes for temporary shelter and train-
ing of discharged prisoners, as the Hope Halls sustained by the
American Volunteers under the leadership of Mrs. Maud Balling-
ton Booth. Mrs. Booth's homes have aided 1,300 men in (1902),
75 per cent, of whom are said to be doing well.

In a few of the States agents are employed to secure employ-
ment for discharged prisoners and to see that they keep their
promises. This is done by Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kan-
sas, Alassachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio ; but there
are too few agents and they are not provided for all institutions.

Societies exist in Virginia, Kansas, Connecticut, Illinois,
Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, New
Hampshire, Maryland, California, and in Canada.

The Salvation Army and the Volunteers of America both are
active in helping prisoners and former convicts.

As the care of convalescents or of the insane after discharge
from a hospital is regarded as essential to their permanent cure,
so humane and sensible aid to discharged prisoners is necessary
to secure their re-adaptation to normal life and conduct.

Criticisms of the "indeterminate sentence" and the parole
system would generally disappear if the State and private asso-
ciations would provide an adequate number of agents and proba-
tion officers to aid the discharged persons who are really willing
and eager to return to honest life, and to detect and return
promptly those who associate with evil companions and refuse
to be industrious, sober and upright. The success of the Juvenile
Court laws depends on the probation officers, and the same state-
ment will be found true in respect to conditional release of adult






Historical Sketch. — One must approach this study through
centuries of effort filled with failure and successes, leading up to an
administration characterized by sanity and on the whole by scientific
purpose. Entering through the gateway of the Middle Ages, we
find the work of poor-relief almost entirely a function of the church.
Charity was ever an essential Christian virtue, and it was to be ex-
pected that the church or her officers should become known as the
legitimate guardians of the poor and distressed. And when the storm
of strife in Gaul was over, and a new order prevailed, it was the
bishops alone who were left to give relief, and during the reign of
Clovis, the council of (Orleans ( A.D. 507) voiced a belief in the justice
of this in the sentence : "Let the bishop in as far as may be possible,
give food and clothing to the poor and to those who are unable to
labor." The church was always regarded merely as a trustee of
goods held for the poor, and in a council at Rome in 324, it had been
decreed that one-quarter of all church revenues should be reserved
for the poor.

At this time the church and king worked in unison, and we learn
that Charlemagne and Louis the Pious both assumed a protectorate
over widows, orphans, and other poor. A church council held in
Paris in 829 insisted on the sovereign's obligation in regard to such.
This oneness of state and church in poor relief is characteristic of the
earliest charity in France. We notice two forces at work determining
the future method of relief. First, the Roman heritage of belief in a
strongly centralized authority, and second, the Teutonic influence
which resulted in a certain measure of localization of responsibility




toward the poor. A nice adjustment of these two principles prevails
iu the case of unfortunates in France.

The council of Tours decreed as follows : "Let every city accord-
ing to its means nourish with becoming aliments the poor and needy
of the place ; let the local clergy as well as all the citizens feed their
own poor so that the poor may not go wandering through the cities."^

In 806 Charlemagne issued the following proclamation : "As to
the beggars who pass to and fro through the country, it is our will
that every one of our faithful subjects feed his own poor either from
his benefice or from his own estate, and do not allow them to go
begging elsewhere. And when such beggars shall be found let them
labor with their hands, and let no one presume to give them any-
thing," This principle grew naturally in a feudal society which
furnished each person a natural protector. The foregoing serves to
show the principle of responsibility in mediaeval charity, but so far
as administration was concerned the church was the means of distri-
bution, and it was through the church almost exclusively that alms
were given. We notice during this period the establishment and de-
velopment of hospitals^ for the needy. These were at first simply
places set apart in the church, under the care of the bishop. And as
early as the fifth century, Gregory of Tours claims that there was
such a Maison Dieu in every church.^ We find the following five

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonModern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods → online text (page 52 of 73)