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and weakness.” We must be just. There is no justice without love and yet we can judge in the light of both, forgetting not firmness and the right of others. We can not be just without the exercise of patience and a plentiful supply of those higher qualities of the soul which must be brought to bear if we are to call out the noblest impulses and the highest and most energetic forces of a child. The juvenile court and the probation system simply supply the machinery for doing this where heretofore such machinery was not permitted by the law. We pursued the blind, brutal, incongruous methods of recognizing a child as an irresponsible being in dealing with its dollars and cents, and denied it the right of contracting even while it was a minor, whereas when it came to offending against the law, when its moral welfare, its very soul, was involved, we denied its irresponsibility and placed it upon the same plane and in the same category with an adult; and the child who, through entirely different motives, or even granting, if you please, the same motive, would enter a grocery store for something to eat or your house for money to buy something to eat was branded by the same terms or stigmatized with the same epithets as the burglar who enters your house in the nighttime with murder in his heart and a pistol in his pocket.
One trouble is that we do not think. Victor Hugo did not suffer from this shortcoming to which we are all more or less victims. Nearly one hundred years ago a Paris newspaper contained an item (as far as the principle is involved) seen in our city newspapers almost any day-a boy had been arrested, tried, and incarcerated for stealing a loaf of bread. How many thousands of readers glanced over that item without another thought. Yet it was the suggestion to one who did think for a story of life that thrilled the heart of the world. It is all right to sympathize with Jean Valjean, and yet no code of ethics or morals will justify or ought to justify what he did. · Our revulsion at his punishment is what causes us in our profound pity and sympathy to even justify his act. It is inherently a mistake to ever justify the unlawful satisfaction of any desire. We may very properly even excuse and sympathize with an unfortunate. This is entirely different from justification. When you try to justify an unlawful act you are treading on dangerous ground, and while apparently proper in an individual case it would be sowing the seeds from which in the end we should reap the fruits of bitterness. The trouble in Jean Valjean's case was that justice was not done. It is as natural for a boy or girl to want joy and fun as it is to be hungry. It is just as important to satisfy one as the other. If either is satisfied unlawfully, the act must be corrected.
There should have been justice to the boy who stole. There should have been justice to the man who, in the sweat of his brow and by his own labor, had produced that loaf of broad. Suppose he had 40 loaves as the result of a day's work, and 40 Jean Valjeans had appeared upon the scene. He may have had hungry children of his own to feed. The judge was no better or worse than the people or the system under which he lived and acted. The rights and duties of each were not adjusted to each other. There was neither harmony nor justice. Jean Valjean should have been corrected, but corrected with the love and tenderness of our Savior, as He would have corrected him. Would He have told Jean it was right to steal that bread? No. The Master would have said: “Thou shalt not steal.” He would have forgiven him. He would have assisted him, so that he could accomplish lawfully what he had done unlawfully. That is what the juvenile court would do.
ADDITIONAL REPORT ON METHODS AND RESULTS.
By Hon. BEN. B. LINDSEY, Denver, Colo.
It would be practically impossible to show by a mere report of the text of laws and the numbers of children in court, their disposition, etc., what is meant by the juvenile court of Denver. Something of its character, meaning, history, and the purpose and spirit back of it all must necessarily be referred to. What has been done must be told just as it was done, in order to be understootl and appreciated. This we have attempted in the midst of a busy civil court, and, therefore, necessarily hasty and imperfect. It will be seen that the juvenile court rightly understood is something of an effort at man buildingcharacter building. It involves constant work, constant effort, constant struggle. It is a strenuous life for those truly enlisted.
I have no apology to make for the weary after court hours and long evenings I have spent with the boys in the court, in chambers, in the jail, in the alleys, in the slums; the struggle in the legislature for laws, for more attendance officers, for public support and sympathy; the misunderstandings, the ignorance, the trials and troubles with officials to enforce laws for the protection of childhood; the fights for nearly everything we have, from the rain baths to the paid probation officers, for they have all come and come to stay. No work of mine, for several years upon the bench of an important court, has been, in my humble judgment, of half so much importance, though during that time I have had the honor to assist in the revision of all the probate laws of the State and to take part in other important legislation and litigation. Yet I positively disclaim the title of “Father of the juvenile court of Colorado,” as some of my overzealous friends have attempted to confer. I have only been a worker in the ranks, and so much, through so many earnest souls, has gone to make up our present system of children's laws that no single individual can well be so credited.
H. Doc. 701, 38-2
I shall feel more than repaid and honored if I am permitted to humbly stand with those who have really aided the children of the State, of which there can be no nobler service to our country.
It is useless to question the wisdom of a thing that has proved successful. The indorsement of the juvenile court of Denver by all the people after four years, including the police and detective departments, the special secret-service associations, the schools, homes, churches, and business men, and the facts and figures stated herein, leave no question that more reform and better results are accomplished by pursuing these principles than the hopeless and too often useless severity of the past. There is, of course, always the question of knowing how and doing the thing. But there is always some one who can and will. Kindness must not be permitted to be mistaken for weakness. You must understand the boy and he must understand you. This is easier said than done.
The personal work is the main thing. It is said that St. Paul in arming the Christian soldier placed sincerity and enthusiasm above all things. Thus armed should be the juvenile-court worker. Ile or she should have the magnetism of Moses, the patience of Job, the firmness of Abraham, the wisdom of Solomon, and the unselfishness and love of our Lord and Master.
THE FIGHT FOR CHILDHOOD.
Of course the home, the church, and the school with their natural moral and uplifting influences have been responsible in the past and must continue to be in the future for the manhood and womanhood of this nation. What is said here is not intended to detract from their importance, but rather to emphasize it. It is because the home sometimes fails, or there is no home, or for causes over which the home has no control and which the church and school do not reach, or for deficiencies which they are powerless to supply, that auxiliaries to these are sought to be furnished by the State.
We shall show how the State of Colorado is the first and only State thus far that by positive law places the responsibility for the delinquency of the child upon the parent and the home; how parents and other citizens responsible are often fined and sent to jail for the faults of children. We would make some parents do their duty; we would help others who need help; we would improve environment and add to opportunity for good as the best duty of the State to the child.
Children in many States at the age of 7 and in practically all at the age of 10 when violating the laws of the land are amenable not to the home, the church, or the school, but to the State. Then as fathers, mothers, or citizens can we occupy ourselves with a more important problem than that of the children? And since the State is placed above the parent and made the judge, as it often is, as to the proper discharge of the parental function, if it may also it, as it often must, where the parent fails, then at least ;
devolves upon the State vas upon the parent to properly discharge its every function, act, or duty toward the child, and as wisely and well.
The facts disclosed, however dark, in that phase of the child problem in cities dealt with by the juvenile court can offer no encouragement to the pessimist. A more important fact is the uplifting
A movements being furnished for childhood betterment all over this country, of which the juvenile court is only one.
All the new movements, including the court itself, are educational. There are the public play grounds, the ungraded schools, the vacation schools, the manual training and trades work, the settlements, the boys' clubs, the camps, the fresh-air funds, and (as connected with the juvenile court of Denver) the juvenile improvement associations, the little citizens' leagues for law enforcement, the physical department, the rain baths, the good literature, and other uplifting things too numerous to mention. All these tend to prevent delinquency and crime, and just so far as we extend them just so far will we reduce the necessity for juvenile courts or any other courts. We would be better off not without them, but without the necessity for them.
So closely allied are these uplifting movements with the school, we formerly understood it, that we must soon cease (if we have not already) to draw any distinction between them. In any event they are all embraced under the comprehensive head of education.
Thus the home, the school, and religious influences, supplemented by all the great social agencies that build up a community, is caring for and protecting the child life of this nation better than it ever has before. It is producing the noblest citizenship the world has ever known.
These great movements for the betterment of our children are simply typical of the noblest spirit of this age, the Christ spirit of unselfish love, of hope and joy. It has reached its acme in what were formerly the criminal courts. The old process is changed. Instead of coming to destroy we come to rescue. Instead of coming to punish we come to uplift. Instead of coming to hate we come to love.
That this is no weak sentiment, no idle dream, nor evidence of leniency, the results of four years in the juvenile court of Denver, as well as those of other cities, will fairly show. Nor does it presuppose a lack of firmness, discipline, or strength. On the contrary, it has required more firmness and less brutality, more discipline and less retribution, more earnest interest and less indifference, more strength and less ignorant authority than ever before.
I. THE LAW AND THE COURT.
The probation feature of the juvenile court is not new. Probation is simply a suspension of a sentence upon conditions imposed by the court under a system of supervision after release. If these conditions are complied with, and the offender conducts himself properly, and by his own effort overcomes the error or evil into which he has fallen, he is relieved entirely from any penalty. He thus becomes a coworker with the State. Excellent laws for the probation of children offenders have existed in a number of Western States for more than twenty years.
NEW FEATURES OF LAW.
About the only important new thing that the juvenile law (so called) undertook to do was to permit the correction of children without their being charged and convicted of what would technically be a crime. This was done by designating all offenders under 16 years of age as delinquents, and permitting them to be charged as such upon petitions to be filed by any citizen. Yet the powers of the chancery courts and the general statutes of many of the States embodied substantially all that was necessary to care for dependent and delinquent children. There is very little that is new in principle in what is known as the juvenile court laws. It is rather the surer, more constant, and intelligent application of old principles that deserves to make noteworthy the present agitation for so-called juvenile courts.
We are infinitely more in need of men and women to do the work than to make the laws.
The juvenile law of Illinois was the first attempt at a unification or codification of the laws of that State relating to dependent and neglected children as well as delinquent children into one statute known as the juvenile law. It seems also to have been its purpose to centralize the children's cases into one court. It also forbade placing children under 12 years of age in common jails or lockups. Statutes forbidding this, however, have existed in a great many States, including Colorado, for twenty years. A peculiar fact is that in the various States there has been very little effort to enforce the children's laws. For instance, there are a number of States having on the statute books, backed by the powers of the chancery court in dealing with the children in its capacity of parens patriae, all the power necessary to conduct as perfect and complete a juvenile court as that of Colorado or Ilinois, without the addition of a word or a line of the elaborate statute known as the “juvenile law."
Colorado, before the enactment of our present juvenile law, is an illustration of this fact. What is known as our "school law," approved April 12, 1899 (two months before the juvenile law of Illinois of the same year went into effect), provided that school children under 16 who are vicious, incorrigible, or immoral in conduct, or habitual truants from school, or who habitually wander about the