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into the mire of sin and shame without an attempt being made for their reformation. This department is frequently called upon to seek out the hiding places of erring young girls, but when successful, as we usually are, of what avail is it? We have no place in this District to which they can be consigned, where, by judicious, moral treatment and counsel and encouragement, an opportunity would be given them to reform. Such an institution would, in my opinion, result in the reformation of a large number of such cases. At present the fugitives, after being taken from their places of concealment, are perforce returned to their parents or guardians, to be again subjected to the influences that caused their fall, thus rendering it nearly impossible for them to become respectable members of society. Humanity and civilization require that at least an effort be made to bring the erring ones to a sense of the evils attendant upon a continuation of their errors. Such an effort, to be successful, can only be made by totally severing the ties that bind them to their former modes of life, and for such purposes I again respectfully recommend the erection in the suburbs of this city of a building to be used as a reformatory for girls.
The act incorporating the Reform School for Girls in the District of Columbia, approved July 9, 1888, creates a body corporate to be known as the board of trustees of the Girls' Reform School of the District of Columbia, and names Samuel S. Shellabarger, Augustus S. Worthington, Adoniram J. Huntington, William C. Dodge, Mills Dean, Orren G. Staples, James E. Fitch, Thomas P. Morgan, and Alexander Graham Bell as the incorporators. No organization was ever effected under this act because no appropriation was made to carry out its provisions. On February 11, 1891, a bill was passed by the Senate appropriating $75,000 for the establishment of the school, but the bill was not passed by the House of Representatives. The District of Columbia appropriation bill for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, approved July 14, 1892, contained the following appropriation:
Reform school for girls.-For the erection and completion, according to plans and specifications to be prepared by the inspector of buildings and approved by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, of a suitable building or buildings to be used as a reform school for girls, $35,000, to be expended under the direction of said Commissioners. Said building shall be erected on land belonging to the Government, to be selected by the Attorney-General, the Secretary of War, and the Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia.
In accordance with the above provision, the building at present occupied by the school was erected at a cost of about $25,000, the remainder of the appropriation being expended for water supply, stable, grading, fencing, etc. The land selected by the Attorney-General, the Secretary of War, and the Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia, was the old farm of 19 acres situated at the junction of the Loughborough and Conduit roads. The land had been lying fallow for more than forty years, and was overgrown with thickets; and also it is full of ravines.
The building was finished about November 1, 1893, and was turned over to the board of trustees of the Girls' Reform School, by whom it was formally opened for the reception of inmates, November 6, 1893. The board of trustees then notified the chief justice of the supreme court of the District of Columbia that the school was ready for the reception of girls, to the limit of 29. On November 6, 1893, the first girl was committed to the school, and admissions followed in rapid succession, until the school was crowded to its utmost capacity. From the time of the opening of the school until the end of the first fiscal year, 38 girls were committed, of whom 32 remained in the institution at the close of the year, 3 were turned over to the board of Children's Guardians, 1 was bound out, 1 was released at the request of the judge who committed her, and 1 was sent to the Government Hospital for the Insane.
Although the building was constructed to accommodate only 29 girls by placing girls in the larger cells and also in the room that was intended as a hospital, 32 girls were provided for at one time. Almost daily application was made to the trustees by the judges of the police court and by others to receive girls, but it was impossible with the accommodations to receive more inmates, so that the school was practically closed against the reception of all comers.
Nearly all the girls committed were guilty of theft; they lived in the midst of low surroundings, had been badly clothed and ill-fed, and were without moral training.' Most of them were illiterate. Two teachers were employed to teach reading, writing, sewing, cooking, household duties, and gardening, many of the girls being fond of work in the open air. In the second annual report William C. Endicott, jr., president of the board of trustees, states that in the District of Columbia there are many criminals under the age of 18, and that the number is rapidly increasing. Statistics from other cities north and south show that female criminals under 18 years of age in the District of Columbia bear a larger proportion to the population than in any other city in the Union. “ This would appear to be due,” says Mr. Endicott, “ to the presence of such a large colored population as there is in the District of Columbia,” but when it appears that New Orleans, with much larger population, does not have nearly so many colored criminals, other causes must be looked for.
“In this District the colored people are in better condition than the same class in any other part of the country. They are better off, more intelligent, receive larger wages, and have for more than a quarter of a century had the advantages of good schools. The following facts may to some extent explain the large percentage of girl criminals:
“From the official reports of the intendant of the Washington Asylum (workhouse) it appears that of the 2,581 girls committed to that institution since June 30, 1885, only 39 of them were white, while the white
Report of the president of the Girls' Reform School of the District of Columbia,