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Official report from court records, Philadelphia, June 14, 1901, to November 1, 1902. WISCONSIN.

Total number of cases of children

1,793 Delinquents

1,112 Dependents

681 Returned home on probation

1,008 Back twice.

24 Back three times

3 Sent to house of refuge

104 Total number of cases from October 1, 1903, to January 30, 1904.

645 Visits made by probation officers

4,700 Sent to house of refuge.

62 Dependents

31 Delinquents

614 Under probation care

367 Returned to court a second time

22 Total number of cases in detention house February, 1903, to February, 1904, 1,327 boys.

H. Doc. 701, 58,2—11


By BERT HALL, Probation Officer.

In its general features and in its general scope and purpose the Milwaukee juvenile court law does not differ from the Illinois law, which has served as a model for so many other States in framing their juvenile court laws.

For many years persons engaged in this city in philanthropic work among children, especially those whose work brought them in touch with children charged with violations of the law, realized that all the essentials of the most cruel barbarism were contained in the methods of dealing with these unfortunate little ones.

From the hour of their arrest children were treated with no more consideration than the most hardened criminals. They were thrown into the same cell on the same corridors in the jail and were taken with the “bums and vags” to court, where their cases were heard and disposed of in the same flippant manner that usually characterizes proceedings in the police courts of our large cities.

If released by the court, they went back to their old surroundings, where they at once became the heroes of the boys of the neighborhood on account of their experience and the added equipment for a criminal career which they had received from their associates in the jail and prisoners' pen.

When the condition became unbearable the child workers of the city, led by Mrs. H. F. Whitcomb, drew up a bill for presentation to the State assembly and which became our present juvenile court law. The bill was passed in 1901 and became operative in July, 1902.



It provides that the judges of the county shall meet once each year and select one of their number to act as the judge of the juvenile court. Judge N. B. Neelen, of the district court—the polite name by which Milwaukee designates her police court—was chosen and has been rechosen each year as the judge of this important court. The juvenile court is in session one-half day each week, Wednesday afternoon. The rest of Judge Neelen's time is devoted to the consideration of the usual cases that come before a police magistrate. Many of those who have watched the working of the court feel that it is


practically impossible for a judge who devotes so much of his time to the contemplation of the offenses of the most depraved criminals to be in the correct frame of mind for the consideration of the proper disposition of the cases of juvenile violators of the law. They feel that it would be much better if the cases could be heard in some place outside of the criminal court and by a judge who is not engaged in hearing criminal cases.

Our law provides that children under 16 shall not be confined in the county jail, and yet for more than two years our county authorities have kept up the old practice of lodging the youngsters in jail. Recently the Children's Betterment League threatened mandamus proceedings, and the county board is now preparing a place of detention for juvenile offenders.

The probation officers of the court serve without remuneration, and, on the whole, their work has been well done. There is, however, a growing feeling that the public ought to pay for this most important work, and that only persons known to be expert in the management of children should be appointed.

One case will serve to illustrate the manner in which the law works for the good of the child offender:

One year ago three boys, not one of whom had reached his twelfth year, were arrested charged with burglary. They were brought into the court and readily admitted that they had removed the glass from a window and had taken from a store a baseball outfit, consisting of gloves, bat, mask, and a cheap ball. They did not even know the meaning of the word burglary, and said they only took the things because they wanted to play ball. These boys were placed in the charge of a probation officer who thoroughly investigated the home conditions and the school records of these little fellows. One boarded with his father in a saloon, his mother was in an insane asylum, and the wife of the saloon keeper divided her time between housework, bar tending, and whipping the boy. His school record was good and the police said he had never been troublesome before.

The other boys resided in the same neighborhood and were not considered bad. These three boys were the sons of very poor parents. They told the probation officer that they had never been given one cent of money to spend; that they had never had a baseball to play with, and that they wanted one very much. They thought they could get one from the store without being caught, so they helped themselves. These boys were found to be idle on the streets after school hour's, and it was in these idle hours that temptation assailed them.

They were asked if they would care to earn a little money after school each day, so that they might buy their baseball outfits, and seemed delighted with the proposition. A daily paper was appealed to, with the result that they were each given a few customers whom they must serve with the paper each day after school. At the end of the week they were the happiest boys in the city; they had a baseball outfit purchased with their own money. From that day they have been good boys and have steadily continued to carry papers, building up the small routes until they are now earning from $1 to $1.50 per week after school hours.

Acting under the direction of the probation officer, the father who boarded at the saloon changed to a more suitable place. Having accomplished the above results, the case against the lads was dismissed.

The case given above is not an unusual one, but it is not always that the probation officer can solve the problem presented so satisfactorily, and he is frequently compelled to recommend the reform school as the only place where the kinks in the young life may be straightened.



By Hon. ALFRED F. SKINNER, President Judge, Court of Common Pleas.

Juvenile courts are of recent establishment in our State. Essex County, which contains the city of Newark, one of the two largest cities in the State, made some attempts in the years 1902 and 1903 to dispose of juvenile offenders under existing legislation. It was found inadequate, and an act was accordingly introduced in the legislature of 1903, which was passed April 8, 1903, and is found on page 177 of the pamphlet laws of that year.

Its provisions are as follows:

When a boy or girl under the age of 16 years is arrested upon complaint of any crime (except murder and manslaughter), or of being a disorderly person, or being habitually vagrant or incorrigible, the magistrate may parole the offender or commit him to the county jail for trial, and forth with send the complaint to the juvenile court. The judge of the court of common pleas of the county constitutes a court for the trial of juvenile offenders. Upon receipt of said complaint said judge holds a session of the juvenile court. The prosecutor of the county prefers an allegation in writing, alleging that the offender is a juvenile delinquent, specifying the offense or offenses upon which such charge of delinquency is based. The accused pleads to the charges, but before pleading is instructed as to his rights to be charged upon the indictment or presentment of the grand jury to have a trial by jury. An early date is fixed for the trial, notice given to the parent or guardian, counsel assigned, and, pending the trial, the court paroles or makes such disposition of the offender as it deems best. If at the trial there is conviction, or if the offender pleads guilty, there is no conviction agreement, but the offender is adjudged to be a juvenile delinquent. The delinquent may then be committed to the State Home for Boys or the State Home for Girls, as the case may be, or to any county or municipal institution established for the reform of juvenile offenders, or sentence may be suspended and the delinquent placed in the hands of the probation offcer, or the offender may be imprisoned or fined. If the accused demands it the coniplaint will be sent to the grand jury and the case dealt with in the usual course of law. However, the failure to demand a constitutional right will

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