Gambar halaman

matter by saying, “We could save 75 per cent. if only we could find a way to begin nearer the beginning," and she thus has stated the crux of the whole matter.

2. More Intelligent Treatment of Semi-Delinquent Girls.

It is evident that better methods of classification should be adopted so that the semi-delinquent girls would not be classed with the delinquent, nor, except in extreme cases, or where diseased, placed in an institution for delinquents like that at Geneva. They should be sent to a school where industrial training is given to them and their industrial value increased. The atmosphere of such a school should be that of a boarding school, and as soon as any girl shows sufficient ability to earn a living, and a desire to do so, she should be allowed to leave on probation, under the supervision of a probation officer, who is a woman of experience and training. While in the school the girl's health should be carefully supervised, and physical training, as well as social hygiene should be a part of her curriculum. When she leaves the school, if possible, a good home, not too strict, should be found for her. With a change in surroundings and the substitution of a regular life for the former lawless one, combined with education for self support, and the feeling that they are among friends, eighty per cent. of the semi-delinquent girls could be returned to society.

3. More Intelligent Treatment of the Occasional Prostitute. The semi-professional prostitutes are usually the only ones that ply their trade for their own advantage. As long as they are not attached to a house and do not solicit for a particular man, there is hope for them. This class is largely composed of those who are so unskilled as workers as to be useless in the labor market. They work for low wages, often at seasonal trades, many living away from home and while they make a good appearance on the street they are very ignorant and untrained. They do not reside in houses of prostitution but go on the streets to solicit two or three times a week.

These occasional prostitutes when arrested by the police are frightened and confused. They are new to the life and not having as yet attached themselves to the usual crowd, who watch for such cases to bail them out or to pay their fines, they receive the maximum sentence. This is the psychological moment in which the probation officer can influence the girl. Such cases should all come before one judge

in one court, and the officers in charge should be experienced women. When the officer is the right sort she can be a friend to such a girl, which is often all that is needed. These girls should be paroled and sent back when possible to their work under friendly and close supervision.

A prominent clergyman who is also a social worker in conference before the Commission made the following statement:

“A lot can be done if we believe that a very large percentage of those who pass through a period of prostitution are capable of climbing upward instead of downward by the momentum of their own better nature. We will have to change our theory about the woman criminal, if we are going to save her. And if the woman is a prostitute, it is only through (1) the 'foolish uncontrolled passion of youth, and (2) financial stress. To my mind she can fight both of these, but she can't fight those and the added damnation of the saloon and the cool, sagacious business man, who simply stands by and drains her for profit. She could break through the economic dangers and the physical temptations if you will give her a chance but when you make her fight alcohol and capitalization, she has no show.

“The first step is usually on account of some man, and then he ill-treats and deserts her. After she has taken the first step it is easy to take the second. The girls that go to maternity homes, nine out of ten can be saved, but it seems to me the real prostitute who goes into it for business, she is a one-eighth part of the business, and I think the world is making a mistake in the way it is looking at this whole question. They are putting their minds on this poor unfortunate woman, when really, she is just a side

issue of the real thing." 4. Improvement in Industrial Conditions. One of the chief reasons why girls enter the life of prostitution is evidently the economic one. They cannot live on the wages paid them. Contrary to the usual opinion, it costs a girl more to live respectably than a man. She must reside in a better neighborhood, her clothes are more expensive and the family makes more demands on her resources.

An investigation should be made of all establishments employing girls and young unmarried men, for the purpose of securing accurate figures as to the salaries paid, hours of work, including overtime. The contracts made by employes with those establishments should also be studied. These contracts go into the life history of each person, and will show instability of employment in such places. When these facts are secured, a study should be made showing rents, cost of

living, etc. It should be determined what should be the living wage for this particular class of workers, and if such an investigation were made public, it would assist in creating an “industrial conscience” and would educate the community to demand the living wage. We recommend to the Chicago Association of Commerce or some similar body, the appointment of a Committee or a Commission to undertake such an inquiry in establishments where women and girls are employed. The Congress for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic held in Vienna in 1909, passed a resolution, asking that "social life be so modified that young girls in every country receive a wage which enables them to live.

“It is a profound truth that social institutions do not keep pace with economic changes.”

In addition to higher wages, the present working conditions need modification in many ways.

Since the ten-hour law was declared constitutional, the hardship of overtime for women has been much mitigated. But America is slow to protect her working women. Since 1844 England has had protective legislation for women, and in 1847 in the textile mills women were only allowed to work ten hours. Five years ago France established the ten-hour law, and in some countries special provision for giving extra time off for women who have home responsibilities is made by law. The tendency is especially marked in France towards very liberal interpretation of the law as regards working women, and in Belgium certain classes of work is forbidden to women.

5. More Humane Treatment of Extra-Conjugal Maternity. (a) The maternity cases present great difficulty on account of the frequent impossibility of learning the name of the man and so bringing him to justice, and (b) because of the baby which may be sometimes a blessing, but is often a burden. It is impossible to lay down definite rules for these cases to determine whether the mother should keep the child or give it up. Some there are who question if a child can be illegitimately born. The law at the least should provide whereby the parents should support the child; good results would undoubtedly follow. It would at least prevent the innocent child from suffering from the brand which society now places upon it. This law under which the child would inherit from the father or mother would perhaps have the effect of making the girl and her parents more anxious to secure the co-operation of the father, and of inducing the parents of the girl

to receive her into their home. As it is at present, thanks to the foundling homes, etc., it is entirely too easy to abandon children.

A large number of maternity cases, especially where the child is the first born, often represent a most lovable type of woman, who gives herself for love's sake, not counting the cost. She sometimes sins through her better nature and her higher impulses, and if her child were legitimatized, and she herself had the family recognition, a woman of this type would rapidly rehabilitate herself. It should at least no longer be possible for a man to be quit of all obligations toward his child and its mother by paying down $400.

Attention may be called, however, to the Norwegian law, which went into effect January 1, 1910, in accordance with which an illegitimate child has equal claim on its father and mother; it may bear its father's name; it has the same rights of inheritance as his legitimate children; it has the right to an education equal to the wealthier of the parents; it may live with its mother or can be placed elsewhere to board. Whichever parent has not the care of the child must pay for its support and education. The mother's confinement expenses must be borne by the father, and he must also pay her pre-confinement expenses if her condition has incapacitated her for work. He must in any case pay her expenses six weeks before her confinement, and three months after, or nine months after if she nurses the child. If several men are implicated, all must pay their share.

Just as the law compels the father, when he is able, to support his minor children, so it is urged, the law should extend to the support of children where there has been no lawful marriage. For the children, in the interests of the state, need to be brought up in a respectable manner, cared for, supported, and educated, to become reputable citizens.

If this reasoning is sound, as we believe it is, sections 24 and 25 of the Criminal Code of the State of Illinois, relating to Abandonment, might be enacted into law to cover children born out of wedlock, compelling the father, if it can be shown to the court he is financially able to do so, to support all such children until the age that the law allows them to seek employment.

Such a law would make ample provision for such children, and

would impose no heavier obligation upon the true father than he should bear. It might well be provided in such a law, that in case of a legal adoption by a third party, a covenant may be entered into, between such third party and the father, releasing the latter from the further support, maintenance and education of the child upon proof that the adopting parents are able to take care of such child.

A very large number of prostitutes are divorced, and in that connection some investigation in regard to desertion and non-support should be made. No study of the subject has been made in Chicago that gives any description of the family, its previous dependence, or previous desertions, the number and age of the children, the nationalities, religious belief, difference in age of man and woman, and circumstances of marriage. Neither is there anything to show the characteristics of the deserted wives, such as reputation as mocher or housekeeper, and habits or economic status beforehand.

6. Better Regulation of Rescue Homes. The rescue homes in Chicago do not meet the needs of the present situation. They are overcrowded, such industrial training as is given is very superficial and they are hampered by want of means and workers; thus it is impossible for them to follow up the girls during the critical period after they leave the homes. As above stated, the methods employed are not sufficiently modern to meet existing conditions.

Very little attention has been given to this branch of social work; as yet no accepted technique has been worked out. Almost all other kinds of philanthropic and social effort have been scientifically investigated, statistics compiled and a serious study made of the results. The time has come in which the same investigation should be made of the class of agencies which attempt to serve this class of women. Too little interest is taken and too little attention devoted to these homes. From the neglect and lack of criticism has resulted the retention of antiquated methods and ineffectual management. The Russell Sage Foundation could accomplish no more valuable work than a really exhaustive and scientific investigation of the institutions, prisons and homes to which these classes of women are committed or to which they go voluntarily. The Commission recommends to the Foundation the prosecution of such an inquiry.

The only State reformatory for girls, the State Home at Geneva,

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »