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tricts, children may not need spending money, but here in this cosmopolitan city, where children of all grades meet together in the schools and on the streets, it is but natural that the child without anything should desire some of the things that other children have. It may seem a little thing, but I firmly believe that many a child would be saved from his initial wrong step if the parent would make him a small allowance, even if that allowance were only 2 or 3 cents a week. In the cases where such a course is pursued the child usually becomes a sort of little business man, husbanding his resources and willing to spend no more than his allowance; but where the child has nothing it is not strange that he should fall into temptation. Only within the past few days a boy stole from his employer, having found an outlet for the disposal of some small wares at about one-quarter their cost price. It developed that he had been a good, hard-working boy, and had given every cent of his wages to his parents, who, on their part, had allowed him nothing but his car fare, and yet the boy was bringing home each week $4.50 earned by labor from 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock at night.

(5) Children with what may be called criminal tendencies.”—To some extent this class interlocks with the class referred to as children living in bad environment. I have not used the term “criminal tendencies” in any scientific sense. It is meant to refer to those children who repeat offenses, although every effort in the way of parole and the like has been tried and exhausted. The difficulty with these children is that it seems impossible to arouse in them any moral sense or appreciation of wrong. Their sole standard is not to“get caught.”

. In this class of children are the pickpockets and the car thieves. The car thieves are the children who break into freight cars in the various freight yards throughout the city, and who steal fruits, preserves, and the like for the purpose of eating them, and who steal other articles to sell.

Owing to their small size, it is very difficult to detect the offenders. One band of such children was the pest of one of the railroad companies in New York, and it was disheartening to hear them tell how they broke into cars, and to hear them describe in detail the different kinds of cars, and what methods must be employed to get into each kind of car, and how they dug holes in certain parts of the freight yards in which to conceal the stolen goods and then at the opportune time take the goods away. Ordinarily children of this class seem not to be amenable to kindly influences. They must be checked quickly and strongly, and the discipline of the reformatory has thus far proved in many cases the only effective remedy. In some cases they turn out well under this discipline. In other cases they do not. It is simply the same situation as with adults. A certain percentage come out of the discipline reformed and a certain percentage do not; but in any event while the children are in the institutions they are removed as a menace to themselves and to the community.

(6) Children who are runaways and vagrants.-It would seem as if in some children the spirit of the wanderer was born. Many of them who are vagrants and runaways are children of respectable parents. One boy who had run away several times was arraigned for the first time in the children's court. I asked him whether he thought if the court gave him one chance he would be able to stay at home, and he very frankly said that he would not. The love of adventure is still strong in the human make-up and the free life without responsibility seems to appeal to this class of children. Many of them apparently prefer sleeping in hallways to the comforts of a decent home. With these children the parole system is working fairly well, but if the boy shows an uncontrollable desire to run away he must, of course, be committed to an institution.

(7) Disorderly and ungovernable children.--"Disorderly” is a technical term by which is meant children who associate with evil companions and who can not be controlled by their parents. The parent in cases of disorderly children is the complainant. By “ugovernable" is meant a child who is habitually disobedient and who will not yield to parental direction. The number of these children in New York will be appreciably reduced by virtue of an amendment passed at the last session of the legislature. In many cases parents have brought children to court for the purpose of being relieved of their support, and have really brought false charges against their own children in order to have them committed to institutions. The court now has the power, in an appropriate case, to make an order requiring the parent to pay for the support of the child; and it is interesting to note how many parents conclude that their children are not so bad after all when the court threatens to make a parent who can afford it pay for the support of his child during its commitment to an institution.

Under this head also the female children most largely appear. Comparatively few females under 16 have been found guilty of any crime. Of the female children arraigned, many have been those who have been morally led astray and who are brought into the court by their parents in the hope of saving them from further disgrace. Sometimes it has been possible to save these girls by parole, more particularly where the parents have moved so that the girl is not thrown in with her old associations; but generally speaking the safer method is to commit. Such a child must be saved against herself, and freedom and the opportunity to be abroad either when going to or coming from work or school present ordinarily too many dangers upon which to experiment with the parole system. However, the total number of female children committed is comparatively small in proportion to the total number of male children.

(8) Children who are neglected or abused by their parents.—These are the children who have done no wrong, but are victims of parental abuse, who are found in dirty and filthy surroundings, or whose parents are sent to the workhouse or the penitentiary for drunkenness or assault, who are beaten by their parents or whose parents do not furnish them with proper food or clothing. They are, of course, in no sense criminal children, but are unfortunates, who thus become wards of the State. They are committed to the various institutions of their respective faiths, and most of these institutions are either situated in the country or have country branches.

I have endeavored to briefly outline some essential points of interest relating to the children's court, but there are many subjects upon which I have not touched. It may be well to say, however, that the satisfactory experience of the first year of the court is the substantial success of the system of parole or probation, whereby the child is allowed at large to work out its good behavior. Our experience is not sufficiently broad to enable us yet to determine whether it is wise, to parole children under 12 years of age. The child under 12 does not seem to yield as readily to parole as an older child, because it has not the intelligence, but just how well or how poorly the parole system works with children under 12 we can not say until there has been further experience.

There is one proposition, however, which is certain and is applicable to children of all ages, namely, that the influence of good parents and decent home surroundings is in general a prerequisite in a successful parole system. The necessity of reporting once a week; of attending school regularly and behaving well in the school, or of getting work and keeping at it (if the child be over 14); the kindly influence of various volunteer workers who take an interest in the children and who have been helpful to the court, and the requirement of reporting back to the court upon a certain day until the court is satisfied that the child is headed in the right direction are all useful forces which seem to bring about the permanent saving of the child.

The essential and underlying purpose of the establishment of this court was the saving and not the punishment or the restraint of the child; and wherever the child itself, the home surroundings, the nature of the offense, and all the circumstances have warranted, the judges have always felt it their duty to give the child at least one chance and try it on parole. The results have been so encouraging that we can look forward with confidence to the years that are to come and feel that many children will have been saved by this system of treatment.


Summary of annual report of court of special sessions, first division, city of New

York, children's court, for the year ending December 31, 1903."

(NOTE.-The children's court of the first division has jurisdiction over New York County, in which are included the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. All children under the age of 16 years who are arrested in these boroughs on charges other than homicide are arraigned in the children's court of the first division.]

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Total number of children arraigned
Total number of children convicted
Found to be ungovernable or disorderly children.
Found without proper guardianship.
Number of children discharged:

(1) No formal complaints.

(2) Acquittals and other discharges
Number of cases pending Dec. 31, 1903
Number of children committed to institutions.
Number of children in whose cases sentence was suspended after

conviction (including cases where sentence was suspended after
Number of children released on parole after conviction.
Number of children in whose cases sentence was suspended after
Number of children committed for violation of parole
Number of different institutions to which children were committed

(the institutions being selected with regard to the religion of the

Number of children convicted or found to be ungovernable or dis-
orderly or without proper guardianship:

Between ages 1 and 7 years (without proper guardianship)a
Between ages 7 and 12 years
Between ages 12 and 14 years
Between ages 14 and 16 years

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a A child under the age of 7 years is not capable of committing crime. State of New York, sec. 18.)

(Penal Code of the

Nature of offenses charged.

Assault (felonious)
Assault (misdemeanor)
Attempted suicide
Disorderly or ungovernable children.
Improper guardianship
Larceny (felony)
Larceny (misdemeanor)
Violation of compulsory-education law
Violation of section 675 of the penal code (misdemeanor)
Violation of ordinances (park and corporation)
Felonies not otherwise classified.
Misdemeanors not otherwise classified

5 66 149

5 399 718

6 1,582

2 300 927

3 64

58 2,848

99 31 385

Total number of children arraigned

7, 647

a For further statistics in regard to the children's conrt of New York see under Notes from Different States in Appendix.



By Hon. ROBERT J. WILKIN, Justice. To anyone who has had experience in the criminal courts of a large city there is not much need for any argument in behalf of the establishment of a court for the exclusive trial and disposition of cases against children. Little may be said regarding the advisability of separating those of immature age from adults charged with the commission of offenses of various kinds. It has often been said that what a boy or girl does not know when first charged with disobedience to the laws they soon learn after being taken into custody. This is certainly true, for under the old system of the disposition of cases, including both adults and children, there was no adequate way provided for the separation of those who were first offenders or who were young from those who were confirmed in a criminal or degraded life. Under the new system, however, a boy, even when charged with what in the eyes of the law is a grave offense, is immediately after being arrested taken before a tribunal whose special object is to ascertain not only the legal evidence in the case against the boy, but also to obtain the facts in relation to his home surroundings, previous career, and the opportunities he has had to learn and do right or wrong. After these are all taken into consideration, the children's court is enabled then to make a disposition of the case which will most benefit the child, and consequently the public at large.

The judges who have sat in the children's courts, which have been in existence for a longer time than that in the borough of Brooklyn and the city of New York, have at length explained the workings of the courts over which they have presided, and have also given in full the reasons for the establishment of these tribunals.

The Brooklyn court has only been opened since September 9, 1903, and consequently at this date it is hard for the justice here to set forth more than what has occurred to him in so brief an interval.

Of the cases that come before the court there appear to be four distinct classes:

First, the bad boy or girl whose nature in itself seems to have been formed along the line of committing depredations of a large or small character. In this class of cases the justice presiding has very little trouble with the proper disposition. When it is once decided that a boy or girl belongs in this class there is nothing much to do but to commit them to some of the reformatory institutions, which, fortunately for the children of the borough, are ample and well conducted.

The next class is that of the troublesome child. In this we number those who commit the offenses that seem largely to come from

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