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METHODS EMPLOYED IN THE REFORMATION OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS.1
In all active measures for the reformation of the disreputable portion of society there is noticeable an element which, for want of a better term, may be called faith in human nature. Yet it is not mere faith in human nature that is to be so much noticed as the faith in the power of reason to sway and of habit to mould a human being into the course of conduct that society finds necessary for its preservation and approves. It is quite natural that in a Christian community this belief in the permanent possibility of redemption of the vicious should find its strongest support. It is not improbable that the very origin of the belief was due to Christianity. The stages of the growth of the effort to prevent crime seem to be these: To prevent the orphan or the child abandoned by its parents from coming in contact with vice; then to reform those contaminated by such contact; and finally the reformation of grown criminals.
At first the efforts made in this direction were a matter of charity, though conducted under church, or at least clerical auspices. But finally the State, solicited to lend pecuniary aid, has assumed or is assuming complete or partial charge of the work. In the early efforts of the church, enthusiasm supplied the place of method which was gradually developed as experience showed the way. State control was particularly favorable to this development of the art, so to speak, of reformation, as the expense of giving form to new ideas is more readily borne, generally speaking, by the public purse than by the purses of many charitably disposed persons.
But with the growth of the conception of the interdependence of the physiological and psychological phenomena in man as shown by the removal or mutilation of the sense organs of other animals, an attempt has been made to ascertain the laws which govern criminality. To scientists, therefore, the reformatory is a laboratory of investigations; to the public, on the other hand, it is a place for obtaining certain results. In this chapter we are wholly concerned with the latter view.
From a practical, that is to say, administrative, standpoint the key to the conundrum "What shall be done with these children that they may be saved" seems to be in providing them with a good home, which is universally allowed to be the best possible place of discipline for them. To this end two methods have been employed, one old and requiring the services of an agent to visit the boys at the farmsteads where they have been received, the other, of compara tively recent origin, which consists in furnishing a similitude of a home to a few boys selected from a moral point of view for their fitness to consort with one another.
The first of several general questions asked on the form of inquiry annually sent out by this Bureau was conceived in the following terms:
Briefly and in general terms please favor us with any opinion or other information you may have to impart in answer to the following questions:
1. Assuming. merely for convenience in putting the inquiry, that it is highly desirable to separate those more deeply tainted with vice and crime from the other inmates of the institution: (a) Do you consider that the cottage system answers this purpose, and does the segregation of the more vicious amount to very much the same thing as a classification of all the pupils by age?
(b) What changes at your school irespect to the classification of pupils and the adoption of the cottage system" during the last decade?
1 Prepared by Mr. Wellford Addis of the Bureau, specialist in professional education.
To these questions the superintendents of the several institutions have replied as follows:
Superintendent Hatch, of Colorado: (a) No data. (b) No changes.
Superintendent Howe, of Connecticut: (a) The cottage stystem admits of any desirable classification. The natural classification is not by age. The natural family is composed of children of all ages. One or two boys or girls ("deeply tainted with vice and crime") can safely be placed in a family of good boys or girls and thereby be cured by the contact. Nothing is so efficacious in converting the wayward as to make them feel that they are a part of good society. (b) The cottage system has been adopted and carried into effect in Connecticut within the last twelve years.
Superintendent Haines, of Delaware: (a) I consider it very desirable to separate those more deeply tainted with crime from the other inmates and think that the cottage system answers the purpose to a certain degree. (b) Nochange.
Superintendent Shallenberger, of the District of Columbia: Ours is the cottage or family system and consists of three separate divisions. The separation consists in a division of the older from the younger boys. In each family there are two school grades. Out of school session the family is a unit for both work and play. Each family has two dormitories, one for the older and one for the younger boys. Classification other than this, in my judgment, is not important enough to justify the additional expense attending further or special separation. (b) Several years since another, the third, family was organized and placed in our new building. This made it possible to secure a separtion of our older from the younger boys-as indicated under (a) above. This has been a decided improvement, although our families are still too large. With another building we could make the association in each still more satisfactory.
Superintendent J. D. Scouller, of Illinois: (a) We have both the cottage and the congregate system. There should be no mixing of good and bad, vicious and virtuous in an institution when you can draw the line from personal knowledge. The cottage system is perhaps the best for the separation of pupils by age and character. There should be a central cottage or building where all pupils newly committed (or a large per cent of them) should be on probation before being classified according to the commitment, as information given by interested parties generally furnishes a reliable clue to the true character of the boy committed.
(b) We have added one family building or cottage.
Superintendent Mary Lyons, of Illinois: There is no doubt that the cottage system has many advantages over any other, but for various reasons we have not been able to adopt it.
Superintendent Sarah F. Keeley: I think that the cottage system is the better. However, we have not introduced this system, but classify our children by age, keeping the younger ones separate from the older.
Superintendent T. J. Charlton, of Indiana: (a) I do consider the cottage system entirely adequate to secure the separation of the more "deeply tainted" from those inmates who are less vicious. I do not consider the classification by age as nearly so good as the method in use here of classifying them upon the basis of character. We have four families of large boys. Two of these families are all criminals; the other two, however, are boys of a much higher moral grade.
(b) None, except that we are more particular to classify boys as to character. Superintendent C. C. Cory, of Iowa: (a) We have two families; one in general dormitories in one building, one in single dormitories in another building, and much favor the latter. We have no girls that are what would be termed extremely vicious," and have as yet no necessity for segregation. Only for brief periods is anyone subject to unusual restraint. The more intractable are more benefited by associating with the good than the latter are injured by the contact, contamination being prevented simply by family oversight.
(b) None. Next year we expect to erect another family building with single dormitories, making three families.
Superintendent Buck, of Kansas: (a) If properly classified the cottage is pref
(b) Formed a family of smali boys.
Mother Matron of St. Scholastica, Newport, Ky.: According to our rule it is absolutely necessary to have these classes separate; but as we have as yet received none of the vicious class there has been no need of segregation.
Superintendent Farrington, of Maine: (a) I think the cottage system partially answers the purpose mentioned above. I do not believe that the segregation of the more vicious amounts to very much the same thing as the classification of all the pupils by age.
(b) No change in the general system of classification. Our first cottage is nearly completed and will soon be ready for occupancy.
Brother Dominic, Carroll Station, Md.: (a) We have not tried the cottage system yet and hence can not say much for or against it. But from my experi ence it is of vital importance in the reformation of those children who are not so deeply tainted to separate them from those more vicious; and in this case the cottage system is preferable, and certainly preferable to classification by age.
(b) None. We have always endeavored to keep the younger boys separated as much as is practicable from the older. This we do in the dormitories, in the playgrounds, and to a great extent in the shops and class rooms.
Superintendent Mrs. Brackett, of Massachusetts: (a) We have the cottage system, and believe that all inmates should be classified according to the past record of the inmate and not according to age. I do not think the segregation of the more vicious amounts to the same thing as classification by age. Some of our younger pupils are more vicious than some of the older ones. (b) No data.
Superintendent Risk, of Massachusetts: I think the cottage system is the best as far as my experience goes, and it is upon this system that our school is conducted.
Superintendent Eldridge, of Massachusetts: (a) Think favorably of the cottage system and more of separation on the basis of character than classification by age. Think truant schools should not be maintained in alms houses.
Superintendent Johnson, of Massachusetts: (a) The cottage system answers the purpose better than any other system. The segregation of the more vicious answers a much better classification than can be done by age.
(b) No changes, as we have had but one family of 30 boys.
Superintendent Chapin, of Massachusetts: (a) There should be. I think, more care in the separation of the two classes named; but in general classification by age and by school attainment serves the purpose with the cottage system to help.
In 1885 the school was remodelled on the cottage plan. It started with an administration building, where the superintendent and the most unmanageable boys were to be located, and three cottages to accommodate 30 boys each. Two years ago the large building was remodelled for two groups and at present the school consists six cottages as nearly independent as it is possible to make. them and have them supervised by one superintendent. The main mode of arriving at a classification is to grade them according to proficiency in knowledge. Superintendent Margaret Scott, of Michigan: (a) I think it does.
(b) This institution was organized under the cottage system and no change seems desirable.
Superintendent Gower, of Michigan: We have the cottage system.
Superintendent Brown, of Minnesota: (a) I believe that division of the children into families of 40 to 50 each, according to age, answers all purposes and with proper supervision the danger of contamination by the more vicious will be reduced to the minimum.
(b) Have always been working on the cottage plan, but when we occupy our new buildings the classification will be more perfect, as the families will not be so large.
Superintendent Shaffer, of Missouri: (a) Separation is good, say into three classes: (1) Those entirely good, (2) the large vicious, (3) the small vicious; the latter divisions being, of course, by age.
(b) Separation into two classes, to wit, good and bad, on the congregate sys
Superintendent Otterson, of New Jersey: Classification by age is not the proper way to classify. Classification should be made according to the moral condition of the inmates; that is to say, the separation of the more vicious from the less, irrespective of age. The cottage or family plan presents an opportunity to accomplish this as no other plan can.
(6) Our institution was founded on the cottage system in 1865. Of late years a more rigid separation has been tried.
Superintendent Mrs. McFadden, of New Jersey: (a) I do think it answers the purpose in a great measure. I think the classification should be made with regard to crimes committed rather than age, as many young in age are old in vice.
(b) None; as our school only numbers about one family.
Superintendent Corrigan (Brooklyn Truant Home), of New York: For our institution, no. The boys confined in this institution are not vicious, only mischievious, and I consider that the dormitory system is the best.
Superintendent Carpenter, of New York: (a) I consider it highly desirable to separate those more deeply tainted with vice and crime from the other inmates of the institution. The segregation of the more vicious amounts to very much the same thing as a classification of all the inmates by age.
(b) The school has been classified as follows: (1) Senior department, oldest boys and two other subdivisions, according to age. (2) Primary department, boys from 7 to 10. (3) Girls' department. Each department is complete in itself and is entirely separated from the other departments.
Superintendent Jones, of New York: (a) There appears to be no appreciable difference in the results of the two systems.
Superintendent Brother Leontine, New York Catholic Protectory: (a) I admit that the cottage system-that is, separating the really vicious from the otherscertainly has good moral results, but without strict supervision on the part of the prefect or master the cottage system is a failure.
Superintendent Crawford, of Ohio: (a) The cottage system does fairly well. The segregation of the more vicious is much the same as classification by age. (b) None.
Superintendent Hite, of Ohio: (a) Yes; the cottage system is the only system that is in any sense reformatory, and its plans of separating the smaller inmates particularly from the larger ones is specially beneficial to both small and large pupils. We do not think the separation of the more vicious from the same ages of the vicious is beneficial to the vicious; but, on the other hand, have experienced that the contact of this vicious class with a better class, who are in the ascendency as to number, is helpful to the vicious and but very little harmful to the better class, if harmful at all.
(b) In 1878 all the smaller boys were classed by themselves and completely isolated from the larger boys. There has been much improvement in the housekeeping at the cottages during the decade.
Superintendent Laverty, of Pennsylvania: (a) We regard the cottage system as manifestly to the advantage of the pupils by separating and classifying them according to age and moral condition, with a more critical supervision and more intimate influence exerted by their care-takers.
(b) None. A new institution is now being erected at Glen Mills, Delaware County, Pa., for the transfer of the departments of boys, to be reestablished on the most approved methods of the cottage or family system.
Superintendent F. H. Nibecker, of Rhode Island: (a) I consider the family system, when fully carried out-each family having its own dining room, play grounds, and school, the pupils of the different families coming in contact with one another only during hours of actual labor and when they are under constant supervision and instruction-as of vital importance to reform school work. In a small school classification by age is the nearest to moral grading possible. In a school of sufficient size to allow more than one family of same age a closer and truer moral gradation may be had.
(b) During the decade this school has been changed from a refuge or close school to a family school with congregate dining room and families, not classified by age. Within the last four years the school has been closely graded into four families. those of like age being in same family, etc., as noted above.
Superintendent Ainsworth, of South Dakota: () As a rule the cottage system will do the work, provided the cottages are under the charge of suitable persons. Our boys, good and bad, are kept together; but there are always one or more persons with them of good character.
(b) When more buildings are needed cottages will be erected with a capacity of from 30 to 35 children and the proper number of attendants, etc.
Superintendent McCulloch, of Texas: I think that the cottage system answers the purpose.
Superintendent Andrews, of Vermont: (a) I think the cottage system is better than the congregate.
Superintendent Sarah E. Pierce, of Wisconsin: Yes. Have adopted the cottage system, classified older pupils according to morals; younger pupils according to age and sex, the boys being under 10 and composing one family.
Superintendent Sleep, of Wisconsin: (a) We have what is termed the cottage system, but do not classify with respect to vice and crime to any extent. We class with some respect to age and size. I am of the opinion that a classification with respect to vice and crime properly done would work for good.
Without discussing the case in which a reformatory is a mere temporary place of detention until the boy can be properly located in a home, it is interesting to inquire what efforts are made for his future welfare when the time has come for his being dismissed from an institution or otherwise discharged. Invariably places are secured for the boys by the school authorities. Sometimes these are in the country, at others in the city. One institution of the East has an agency in Illinois to care for the boys. The usual mode of obtaining information as to the manner in which the student is deporting himself is by periodical reports in writing, but in several States a more vigorous and reliable method is employed. Thus the Lyman School for Boys at Westboro, Mass., reports that in 1889 a special agent was appointed who e sole business is to visit the “probationers," to encourage them, right their wrongs, adjust their disputes with employers, find more suitable homes if they are not doing well, and in general make them feel a sense of continued responsibility to the State to do well. The result of every visit is reported to the central bureau and to the superintendent of the school. At another reformatory institution, the State Primary School of Massachusetts, the boys are frequently visited by agents in the employ of the State. For the care of the girls placed out in families from the Massachusetts school for girls, ninety ladies are employed by the State board. In New Jersey a regularly employed visiting agent" visits the boys three or four times a year, with power to recall to the school any who are relapsing. In the New York Juvenile Asylum there is a visiting agent for such pupils as are returned to friends, and the school has ever exercised as close a supervision as means would allow. The House of Refuge at Philadelphia has a competent officer visit the paroled pupils every six months.
At the New York Catholic Protectory the visitation is annual, but the organization of the church carries aid in this business of supervision. The pastor of the parish in which the boy resides is corresponded with and presumably is interested in the welfare of the boy. In Ohio, on the other hand, the State organization becomes the organ of supervision, for the judges of the courts are required to appoint supervisory committees in every county, who are to oversee the boys that are sent from the school. In Kansas the county superintendent of public instruction is the visiting agent.
Two other questions of considerable importance remain. These are sɔ connected that they may be discussed together. They relate to the time the pupil may be detained in the school and the trade taught him while so detained. The following discussion is based on the replies to these questions:
Assuming for convenience that certain disadvantages of the contract system tend to reutralize its undoubted advantages as a substitute for the manual work essential to teaching habits of industry and a trade, what effort, if any, have your trustees made during the decade 1880-90 to supplant the substitute by real technological instruction, and do you think such purely technical instruction feasible in view of its nonremunerative character?
Assuming further that the instruction of the delinquent at the institution is of no avail unless he is under its instruction for a sufficient time, what change, if any, in the way of lengthening the time the pupil is consigned to your care has been inagurated by the courts or instituted by law?
Superintendent Hatch, of Colorado: No effort made by trustees. Theoretic ally, I believe purely technical instruction feasible. Have had no experience. Possible term of detention has been shortened from minority to three years. Bad change.
Superintendent Howe, of Connecticut: In my opinion it is not practical to give technological instruction to an entire institution. A few of the older boys may be so taught, but it is necessarily expensive. We have not introduced technological training, but hope to soon to a limited extent. We teach habits of industry, but our industry is remunerative, which is always an incentive to labor. The law of definite sentences has been changed to indefinite or during minority. A boy can grade out of the institution by uniform good conduct in twelve months; but he goes on probation and may be returned to the institution at any time his conduct may not be good.
Superintendent Haines, of Delaware: We have no technological instruction in this institution as yet. I do think such instruction very valuable, and ought to be in every institution of this kind, without regard to its remunerative char