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to Assist the Establishment of Juvenile Courts
in Every State in the Union.
COMPILED BY BEN. B. LINDSEY.
Juvenile Court Literature
So many inquiries have been made regarding the Colorado Juvenile laws that the following pamphlet, containing a copy of such laws, together with a copy or explanation of any amendments, pending before the legislature of Colo rado in January, 1905, are also added, with brief comments thereon by way of explanation.
In addition to this pamphlet, persons interested in the passage of some practical and enlightened laws for the care, protection and correction of children, and especially for the placing of a greater legal responsibility for the moral as well as physical welfare of children upon the parent and the home, are referred to a pamphlet upon “Juvenile Courts” containing the material portions of the Illinois and Colorado juvenile laws, as published and issued by T. D. Hurley, Editor of the Juvenile Court Record, 625 Unity Building, Chicago; price 50 cents; also a booklet entitled “The Problem of the Children," which may be had by addressing the Juvenile Court, Denver, Colorado; price 25 cents. The philanthropic magazine “Charities,” 105 East Twenty-second Street, New York City, has issued two helpful numbers, one in November, 1903, and one in January, 1905 (price 10 cents), devoted to the juvenile court laws and work. These numbers contain excellent papers by various judges, probation officers, and others, dealing with various phrases of work for dependent and neglected children in various parts of the United States. The prices of such literature are as follows: Each number of “Charities,” 10 cents; The subscription price to the “Juvenile Court Record,” devoted to Juvenile Court work, is $1 per year; “Charities” of New York, $2 per year. Every probation officer or other worker in the cause of childhood should certainly have these publications. “The Problem of the Children," being a description of the work in the Juvenile Court of Denver for the last four years, sells for 25 cents a copy to those who care to pay it, to help defray a part of the expenses for its printing and mailing.
Two things are necessary to the success of the “Juvenile Court." First, the necessary laws; second, the people who will do the work required by these laws. What these laws are, what they ought to be, what the work is and what it ought to be, can only be understood by those interested thoroughly familiarizing themselves with the literature upon the subject, and that referred to herein is recommended for this purpose.
THE COLORADO JUVENILE LAWS.
Section 1 of the Juvenile Delinquency Act should be read in connection with section 1 of the Adult Delinquency Act.
This section defines "delinquency" and determines the class of things done by a child which, under section 1 of the adult delinquent act, any adult person may be responsible for by any act causing, encouraging, or contributing thereto. For instance, it will be noted that if a child merely enters, patronizes, or visits certain places, no matter how innocent the purpose of the child may be, any person who directed the child to go to such place, or even sent it there upon an errand or message, contributes to its delinquency. “Delinquency” is simply a condition into which the child enters innocently or purposely, but it is presumed to be a condition which, if continued in, may make the child a criminal or otherwise bring evil to its life. “Delinquency” is not intended to be a term of opprobrium or reproach, as "criminality” would be, and so the child is not charged with being a criminal, but, as will be noted by section 12 of this act, as needing aid, help, assistance, etc. The Juvenile Court, in dealing with a "delinquent” child, acts rather in the capacity of a chancery court and not as a criminal court. The petitions or complaints are filed in the interest of the child and not to degrade or punish it. The state is simply acting in its capacity as parens patriae—for the welfare of its ward.
Section 12 provides that the act shall be "liberally construed” in order that the care of the child may approximate as near as may be the care which should be given it by a wise and just parent. It thus follows in construing this -section in connection with section 1 of the adult delinquent act, that the court may adopt a liberal construction where it is in the interest of the child. If a child smokes cigarettes on the public street or about the school house, or if it uses profane or obscene language on the public street, it is "immoral conduct," and any person contributing thereto or encouraging such couduct is guilty of a misdemeanor under section 1 of the adult delinquent law. The court has ruled-under the liberal construction—that the mere giving or sale of tobacco or of cigarette paper to a child is an "act causing, encouraging or contributing to the delinquency of the child," and such person is therefore responsible since the smoking of tobacco injures the child and is therefore immoral conduct. In addition, Colorado has a positive law, passed in 1891, forbidding the sale of tobacco to any child under 16 years of age. If a child wanders on the railroad tracks more than once or “hops” the cars, it endangers both its life and limb as well as its morals, because it is a short step from stealing coal to stealing out of the boxcar and the corner grocery, and finally tapping the till. The first acts of delinquency in the case of a young murdererwho shot a man when caught in he act of robbing the cash drawer—have been traced back only five or six years to running on the railroad tracks and stealing from the cars in which he was either encouraged by his parents, or what is the same thing, where the parent made no determined effort to correct him. Such a man has been known to have served a short sentence in jail for such offenses at the age of 12 or 13. It was simply the beginning of a criminal career. And so in Denver we have brought in the parents of such a possible future criminal when he is a mere child, and fined them $25 and costs, or sentenced them to thirty days in the county jail. We do this when the efforts of the officer fail to keep children from going on the railroad tracks, stealing coal, or entering the box cars, or playing about the trains. Such a case is only an illustration of many. This fine is generally suspended on condition that the parent look after the child and keep it off the tracks. In quite a number of cases, however, in Denver, fathers have been sent to jail on Saturday and released on Monday night, under a thirty days' sentence in jail, upon condition that three days be served and twenty-seven days supended, so long as the child is kept off the tracks, not sent to the saloon for beer or liquor, not sent to any gambling house or house of ill-fame upon any message or otherwisethe conditions of the suspected sentence against parents varying according to the form of delinquency of the child sought to be corrected. There have been but about two children out of a hundred who have returned to the juvenile court in the course of two or three years' work under this law, where the parent was thus dealt with, and the exceptional case is