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of the boy in his larger social life has also been made. Free use of the bibliography on this subject has aided materially in the preparation of the first two divisions of
For Part IV. a careful study of the Juvenile Court Laws and Probation Systems in operation in other States has been made. The practical workings of such courts have ever been kept in view with the hope of suggesting how a Juvenile Court could be adapted to the needs of Detroit.
Without the courtesies of police, jail and court officials, as well as many others interested, this study would have been impossible. I am especially indebted to the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police and the Superintendent of Public Schools of Detroit for the freedom granted in gathering data. My happy relations with the Franklin Street Social Settlement and with the Rev. Alfred H. Barr proved of inestimable value. I also wish to thank Professor C. H. Cooley for his kindly criticism and suggestions.
There is perhaps no problem which has received more serious thought than that of crime and its causes. From the dawn of civilization a ceaseless warfare has been carried on against this subtle foe of the social order with. a hope of at least checking its growth, if not eradicating it altogether. The causes of crime have ever been more or less obscure, and the treatment society has given it has assumed diverse aspects. In a very real sense, it might be said, there has been a gradual evolution of man's ideas regarding crime with an attendant evolution of the treatment he has given it. From retribution, repression, reformation we have advanced to an age of preventive treatment.
After all the consideration the problem has received, crime remains in the social organism as a source of much distress. It is a significant fact, if such eminent authorities on criminal matters as W. D. Morrison and Frederick Howard Wines are to be credited, that the total number of offenses against the criminal law is steadily on the increase and that, in some places, it is increasing in a greater ratio than the population'.
When the causes of this increase are sought we are confronted with complex problems reaching down to the roots of individual character and to the foundations of the social order. Whatever the ultimate sources may be, it is reasonably certain that the rise and extent of juvenile delinquency is closely related to adult crime. It is a fact supported by reliable statistics that, as a rule, the men who become habitual offenders begin their careers quite young. We must therefore look to the children—to their heredity and environment—if we wish to know something of the causes of crime, and give it intelligent treatment.
An exhaustive study of the child is manifestly impossible in a thesis of this kind. Any one phase of the subject would fill a book. At the outset it will be necesssary to set some bounds to this study, and as the first question which most naturally arises is, “Who are our juvenile offenders?", it will be answered first. When this is disposed of we shall be in a position to enquire into some of the causes which have produced them. These two points
Crime and Its Causes, W. D. Morrison, p. 12. Juvenile Offenders, by W. D. Morrison, pp. 6–8, 16–17. Report on Crime, Pauperism and Benevolence of Eleventh Census, 1890. Part II: Table 135. By F. H. Wines.
The Jukes by R. L. Dugdale, Tables XIV.-XVII. Juvenile Offenders, by W. D. Morrison. Chapter on “Age and Juvenile Crime.”
will be considered as briefly as is consistent with accuracy and clearness.
The first question may be approached from two standpoints: the legal and the social. A strict legal definition may be given prescribing exactly who shall be classed as juvenile offenders, or, on the other hand, a juvenile offender may be defined in terms of individual character and social environment. One is really incomplete without the other. To gain a complete knowledge both legal and social sides must be considered.
The law recognizes nothing as a crime against which there is no legal prohibition. “Crimes”, as Mr. F. H. Wines defines them, "are wrongful actions, violations of the rights of other men, injuries done to individuals or to society, against which there is a legal prohibition enforced by some appropriate legal penalty." Any offense punishable by law is, therefore, a crime. In the case of juveniles—children under sixteen years of age—most States have passed laws defining their relation to the criminal law. A juvenile offender, in general, is any child under sixteen years of age who has violated any law of the State (or any city or village ordinance) in which he lives.
As society becomes more and more complex a greater number of offenses come under the ban of the law. Opportunities for committing anti-social acts are multiplied, and in taking preventive measures society often enacts laws which increase the liability of children being classed as juvenile offenders. This is readily seen in Acts such as "to prevent crime and punish truancy”, “to provide for the compulsory education of juvenile disorderly persons," etc., etc. Thus, not only children who violate the fundamental laws of society, but also those who commit numerous trivial offences, are classed as juvenile offenders.
3Punishment and Reformation, by F. H. Wines, p. 11.
In Michigan two separate Acts of the Legislature set forth the nature of juvenile offenses as follows:
An Act to provide for the COMPULSORY EDUCATION of children, for the PUNISHMENT OF TRUANCY, and to repeal all acts or parts of acts conflicting with the provisions of the same.
(Act 95, 1895.) Sec. 5. The following classes of persons between the ages of eight and fourteen years, and in cities between the ages of seven and sixteen years, shall be deemed juvenile disorderly persons, and shall, in the judgment of the proper school authorities, be assigned to an ungraded school or schools as provided in section four of this act:
Class one, habitual truants from any school in which they are enrolled as pupils;
Class two, children who, while attending any school, are incorrigibly turbulent, disobedient or insubordinate, or are vicious or immoral in conduct;
Class three, children who are not attending any school and who habitually frequent streets and other public places, having no lawful business, employment or occupation."
Compiled Laws, 1897, No. 4851. Amended 1901, Act 83.
An Act to prevent CRIME and punish TRUANCY.
(Act 162, 1883,) Sec. I.
That every boy between the age of ten and sixteen years, or any girl between the age of ten and seventeen years, who shall frequent or be found lounging about saloons, disreputable places, houses of ill-fame, or who shall be an inmate or resident or a member of a family who reside in any house of ill fame, or conduct any other disreputable place, or who shall frequent other rooms or places where dissolute and disreputable people congregate, or where intoxicating liquors are kept for sale, or who shall, against the command of his or her parents or guardian, run away or wilfully absent himself or herself from the school he or she is attending, or from any house, office, shop, firm or other place where he or she is residing or legitimately employed with labor, or who shall against such command of his or her parents or guardian for any immoral, disorderly or dishonest purposes be found lounging upon the public streets, highways or other public resorts or at places of amusement of dissolute or improper character, or who shall against any such command for any such disorderly or dishonest purpose attend any public dance, skating rink, or show, shall be deemed guilty as a truant or disorderly child."
In the city of Detroit a large number of standing regulations, known as City Ordinances, have been adopted which were designed to preserve the peace and promote the welfare of the municipality. Offenses
5Ibid, No. 11765. Amended 1895, Act 183; 1897, Act 265.