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Harvey Humphrey Baker : Man and Judge . . i 

By Roy M, Cushman 
Judge Baker's Review of the First Five Years 

OF THE Boston Juvenile Court .... ii 
Statistics, for Purposes of Comparison, of the 

Second Five Years 97 

Judge Baker on the Procedure of the Boston 

Juvenile Court 107 

The Work of the Judge Baker Foundation . 121 
By William Healy and Augusta F. Bronner 




By Roy M. Cushman 



By Roy M. Cushman 

The spread of the juvenile court idea is one of the remark- 
able developments in the field of jurisprudence during the 
last two decades. Among the juvenile courts of the country 
the Boston Court has ranked high chiefly on account of the 
eminent service of its first judge — Harvey Humphrey 

Shortly after Judge Baker died, his friends and asso- 
ciates sought to establish a memorial of him and of his 
work — something that would help in fostering the growth 
of the juvenile court movement. A fund was raised; but 
before any definite steps were taken as to the form of that 
memorial, those interested realized that the practical test 
of their loyalty to Judge Baker was to focus all their energy 
towards the appointment of a fit successor in his work. 
Their efforts were successful when Governor McCall 
appointed Frederick P. Cabot. Because of Judge Cabot's 
vision, the problem as to what form the memorial to Judge 
Baker should take was most satisfactorily solved by the 
establishment of the Judge Baker Foundation, made 
possible through the further contributions of friends, 
relatives and a wider group interested in the idea to which 
Judge Baker had given impetus. Such a memorial could 
not have been established under the leadership of any less 
resourceful man than Judge Cabot. Here under the skill- 
ful direction of Dr. William Healy and Dr. Augusta F. 
Bronner and their assistants is carried on precisely that 
kind of scientific study of problem cases of delinquency 
which Judge Baker so clearly saw was necessary and which 
he regarded in fact as the next step in the development of 


the work of his court. There can be no finer memorial 
than this for one who literally gave his life in the service 
of the juvenile court. 

So the original memorial fund was merged with the 
larger one. There remained, however, one thing to do, 
namely, to publish for the benefit of as wide a circle of 
interested readers as possible a study of the first five years 
of the Boston Juvenile Court made by Judge Baker himself 
with characteristic care, thoroughness and searching anal- 
ysis. This study is without question a most valuable 
contribution to juvenile court literature, and it is printed 
here in the form in which Judge Baker finally completed it. 
For purposes of comparison, there have been added statisti- 
cal tables for the second five years which Judge Baker had 
started to compile. These have been completed by others 
and are printed without special comment, except for a few 
remarks to explain marked variations from the figures of 
the first five years period or for some other obvious reason. 

It is hoped that besides being a record, though neces- 
sarily an inadequate one, of Judge Baker's work, this 
study will prove helpful to students of the juvenile court 
movement, and that this little volume as a whole may be a 
happy reminder of Judge Baker. 

Harvey Humphrey Baker was a thorough New Englander. 
His Grandfather Humphrey owned a large farm on Newton 
street, Brookline, Massachusetts. In the enlarged farm- 
house his mother was married to James Baker, a merchant, 
who came from Cape Cod, which has sent forth many of 
that name to make fame for themselves and their communi- 
ties. In this same farmhouse Judge Baker was born and 
lived his life of forty-six years. 

He prepared for college at the Roxbury Latin School, 
graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1891, and 
from the Law School in 1894. He began at once the 


practice of law and soon became a member of the firm 
later known as Hayes, Williams, Baker & Hersey, in which 
connection he continued up to his death. 

For a year he was clerk of the Police Court of Brookline, 
and from 1895 to 1906 a special justice of that court. 

He was always alive to his duties as a citizen and from 
early manhood took an active speaking part in the town 
meetings of Brookline. For a number of years he was one 
of an advisory committee of thirty to pass upon the articles 
in town warrants. He also served as trustee of the public 
cemetery of the town. 

In religious matters he was active, serving for years as 
chairman of the standing committee of the Unitarian 
church of Jamaica Plain. He was utterly free of any kind 
of sectarianism. The thought side of religion and matters 
of philosophy concerned him but little. If one undertook 
to talk with him about these things he was likely to say, 
very good-naturedly, that he was not interested. But 
when it came to the reality of religion, there was no ques- 
tion as to his interest and his devotion, or of the depth of 
his faith. 

Judge Baker's first interest in work for children dates 
back to his college days when he was persuaded to under- 
take the duties of visitor for one of the families in the care 
of the Boston Children's Aid Society. It is interesting, in 
the light of his later complete absorption in work for chil- 
dren, to note that he felt himself unfitted for the task as- 
signed him. But many times as judge he harked back 
to his experiences as a friendly visitor, and without doubt 
they helped him better to appreciate the situations of 
some of the children whose lives he so profoundly influenced. 

In 1895 he served as secretary of a conference of child 
helping societies of Boston and vicinity and in that ca- 
pacity revised and edited a Manual for Use in Cases of 
Juvenile Offenders. 


In 1906 when the Legislature of Massachusetts created 
the Boston Juvenile Court and Governor Curtis Guild 
called Harvey Baker to be its judge, the appointment was 
welcomed as a most excellent and fitting one — one that 
would assure the establishment of the work upon firm 

There were some, however, who, knowing the beginnings 
of the juvenile court movement in Chicago and Denver, 
were doubtful as to the wisdom of Governor Guild's choice, 
and wondered whether Judge Baker's personality, his ante- 
cedents and his training were such as to make it possible 
for him to win the confidence of delinquent children. It is 
undeniably true that the average layman never would 
have picked Judge Baker for a successful worker with 
boys. For such a position one naturally thinks of the man 
with a peculiar type of personality, informal, able to meet 
the boys on their own level, a man perhaps whose boyhood 
had been not unlike that of those he now seeks to influence 
and direct. Such a man Harvey Baker obviously was not. 
Carefully nurtured, trained in self-discipline in a Puritan 
household of the finest type, always free from too much 
care in the matter of earning his livelihood, remaining a 
bachelor — all in all, one would say, a life wholly uncal- 
culated to develop an understanding of the lives of 
wayward boys and girls. And yet he came to occupy a 
position of leadership among the children's court judges 
in the country. This success was due to many things — 
to his sense of fairness, his untiring devotion to duty, his 
great patience, his firmness when occasion demanded, his 
judicial turn of mind, his profound legal sense and knowl- 
edge of the law, his keen intelligence, his tactfulness — 
but above all to the beauty, simplicity, and genuineness 
of his personal character. Such a nature as his con- 
quered by force of its sincerity. All who came in contact 
with him were ennobled. 


How wonderfully was this fineness of character displayed 
in his work with wayward girls! His handling of this, 
perhaps the most difficult of all juvenile court problems, 
was both delicate and masterly. It called forth unstinted 
praise from all who had the opportunity to observe it. 

Here, as in all the different kinds of cases with which 
he had to deal, he seemed to be guided by a ''child sense" 
which enabled him, a bachelor, to understand the problemxS 
of his court far better than most fathers could have done. 
His success showed that what is required in a children's 
court judge is not so much the fact of parenthood as the 
instinct of the father. "Did you ever see him say good- 
bye to a boy, who, through successful probation, had gained 
the victory over himself? That little dismal room was 
then brightened with the ' light that never was on land or 
sea' as, with that smile which blessed all on whom it fell, 
he bade him a Godspeed and let him go." 

As he understood the point of view of the child, he also 
appreciated the problems of the parents. With rigid 
adherence in every case to the idea of the parents' responsi- 
bility for the child's conduct, he recognized how difficult 
a task it is to bring up children decently in some of the 
congested city neighborhoods. Invariably he insisted 
upon seeing at least one, and in many instances both, of 
the parents of every child who came before him. 

It was often difficult, on account of the danger of losing 
employment, for parents, and working children as well, to 
come to court in the daytime, so with characteristic dis- 
regard for his own comfort Judge Baker arranged to see 
them in the evening. He had one evening session each 
month regularly and many special ones, besides frequently 
working by himself well into the night. 

No man of Judge Baker's stamp could long continue in 
work of such an intimate nature with those who, for one 
reason or another, have become social misfits, without 


recognizing the all too evident causes for their becoming 
such — causes which go down deep and are beyond the 
reach of a juvenile court as such to eradicate. Further- 
more, recognizing these causes, he was impelled to do some- 
thing about them. Concerning defective children he often 
said: " It is not the defective who gets into my court who 
bothers my conscience — we are able to do something for 
him. What bothers me is that so many defectives are 
allowed to drift about until they finally get into trouble 
and are brought to court in disgrace, when society should 
have taken them by the hand and helped them long before.** 

So he lent his influence to many movements outside the 
court. Most conspicuous among these was the Massa- 
chusetts Society for Mental Hygiene, in the organization 
of which he took a leading part, being chosen its first 
president and raising through his own efforts most of the 
original fund. He was secretary of the Association of 
Municipal, District and Police Court Judges, and was active 
in the councils of the National and State Conferences of 
Charities and Correction and the National Probation 
Association, having been president of the latter two. 

Judge Baker was a conservative and yet he was always 
forward moving. He was ever on the alert to discover 
ways of improving the work of his court. Before accepting 
the judgeship, he traveled about the country visiting many 
of the then existing juvenile courts and institutions for 
delinquent children, industrial schools, detention homes, 
etc.; and throughout his administration he maintained 
this student attitude, visiting wherever he could witness 
the operation of some method which was proving successful 
or wherever he could talk with an expert whose advice he 
believed would be valuable to him. His knowledge of the 
institutions to which he was sometimes called upon to 
commit children was of a degree all too rarely acquired by 
judges. When Judge Baker committed a child, he knew 


the institution to which he was sending him. Not infre- 
quently he visited him at the institution and always watched 
with interest his career while there and after parole. 

Coupled with this student attitude there went a quite 
extraordinary habit of self scrutiny — one of the strongest 
evidences of his sincerity of purpose. Never did he insist 
on a policy or method because it was his. He seemed 
always to be asking, ''Are we developing the court as we 
should? Are results what they should be?" To help 
answer these questions and to secure unbiased criticism of 
his work, he invited in at his own expense a trained investi- 
gator from another city who spent several days observing 
the operation of the court in all its aspects. The monthly 
conferences with his probation officers and the special 
justices of the court were made the occasion for very care- 
ful analysis of the operation of the court in both its broader 
aspects and its most minute detail. These conferences 
were most helpful and inspiring to the other workers in 
the court and, on account of the opportunity they offered 
them to know their judge in a more intimate relationship, 
confirmed in them their deep devotion to him as man and 

Those who knew Judge Baker only through an occasional 
meeting in the somewhat formal atmosphere of his court 
knew him but half. There his close application to work 
crowded out some of the lighter, more lovable qualities of 
his personality. Premature grayness, a rather pronounced 
stoop, the habitual look of earnestness he wore made him 
appear on first meeting decidedly older than his years and 
led the casual observer to feel he was perhaps interested 
only in the graver concerns of life. But his friends knew 
him as anything but austere. Away from his work he 
entered into enjoyment with zest. He loved the out-of- 
doors. The joyousness and youth of his spirit were appar- 
ent as he swung along a country road, head up, shoulders 


squared, step jaunty, whistling a merry tune. He had a 
keen sense of humor and was the life of every gathering 
where he chanced to be. He had a fund of good stories 
and told them well. A playful mood, which would hardly 
be suspected, manifested itself in many ways. A little 
daughter of one of his friends chanced to be born on Judge 
Baker's birthday. When she reached her fourth year, 
and he his fortieth, he greeted her thus: 

"You know we two are truly twins, 
But you can't crow and be real haughty, 
And say you're young and I am old 
Because you're four and I am forty. 
A man's no older than he feels; 
I still can play and be real naughty. 
And every way this year we're twins, 
For naught's the diff twixt 4 and 40." 

Perhaps Judge Baker's greatest contribution to the 
community, aside from his own devoted service, was his 
development of cooperation. Work for neglected and 
delinquent children focused in his court, and he was thor- 
oughly acquainted with all the forces in the community 
bearing upon the care of children and the improvement of 
conditions affecting them. He knew where to turn for 
help in any particular emergency, and commanded the 
hearty support of public departments and private societies. 
In a high degree he was a "socialized" judge— a type of 
judge which the juvenile court has especially developed, 
but which, it is hoped, will before long be the rule rather 
than the exception in all courts, adult as well as juvenile, 
throughout the land. 

Even though in a very real sense the Boston Juvenile 
Court was Judge Baker, he would have regarded his work 
as in vain had it failed to affirm certain truths which out- 
last any human life. His work proved the soundness of 
some of the principles of the juvenile court idea — first, 


that the question, "What shall we do with the offender?" 
is more important than '' How shall we punish the offence?" 
second, before we can decide intelligently what to do with 
the offender we must know him; third, to know him takes 

Perhaps more than in any other particular, juvenile 
court procedure differs from the procedure of the regular 
criminal court in the amount of time devoted to the treat- 
ment of each case. This makes the juvenile court appar- 
ently more expensive, but society is learning that to take 
time in the beginning to get the right hold on a problem is 
not expensive in the end, and that the day must come when 
an even greater amount of time will be given to the study 
and treatment of offenders in all criminal courts. 

Lavish as he was in the expenditure of time upon the 
cases in his court — his work was truly scientific in its 
thoroughness — Judge Baker realized that it was necessary 
to know more about some children than any judge and his 
probation officers could discover unassisted. As is seen 
in his five year review, it was that realization that showed 
him the need of a clinic for the study of problem cases. 

And now we have such a clinic in Boston, and it is most 
properly a memorial to Judge Baker and his work. The 
Judge Baker Foundation is proving a most valuable adjunct 
to the court, and its experts are gathering a mass of scien- 
tific data which are bound to be of inestimable value in the 
many problems connected with^ delinquency and crime. 

Organized and at work since April, 191 7, the Foundation 
is collaborating closely with Judge Cabot, the probation 
officers, and the various child-helping agencies in thorough 
studies of those children coming before the court whose 
cases present difffculties and of those who fail to respond 
to the usual treatment. The studies are divided under 
three heads — medical, psychological and social. Under 
Dr. Healy's direction only a general medical examination 


is given, special troubles being referred to specialists. The 
psychological examination is searching, the aim being to 
discover possible mental defects or aberrations which 
require treatment or special supervision, special capabilities 
or interests that have not been developed, and matters of 
mental life or of habits which need understanding. All the 
social aspects of the case are got at through the investiga- 
tions of the probation officers, agents of the child-helping 
societies and the trained field worker on the stafT of the 
Foundation. Finally all the findings are put together to 
complete, as far as possible, a true picture of the significant 
features of each individual case, and thus give the judge 
essentially the same approach to his problems in the matter 
of the relation of cause and effect as the scientist has in 
his laboratory or the modern business man in his factory or 

Thus, though no longer here. Judge Baker's vision and 
hope have become real and this is all the memorial he would 
have wished. 








September i, 1906- August 31, 191 1 


Officers of the Boston Juvenile Court 17 

Jurisdiction of the Court 18 

Part I: Statistics and Statistical Comment 19 

Number of Children Brought to Court 21 

Causes for Which the Children Were Brought to Court ... 22 

Causes for Which Girls Were Brought to Court .... 23 

Disposition of the Cases 24 

Delinquent and Wayward Children Ordered Committed . 24 

Neglected Children Ordered Committed 25 

Number of Fines Imposed 25 

Amounts of Fines Imposed 25 

Children Placed on Probation 26 

Found not Delinquent or not Guilty . . 26 

Defaults 26 

Miscellaneous 26 

Ages 26 

Racial Extraction 27 

Residence 27 

Volume of Business 28 

Truancy " 29 

Commitments 30 

Proportion of Commitments to Number of Children . . 30 
Comparison of Commitments to Reform Schools between 

Former Court and New Court 31 

Commitments to State Board of Charity ..... 33 

Fines 33 

Repeating 33 

Repeating in General 33 



Repeating Offences Other Than Violations of Ordinances 

and License Regulations 34 

Repeating by Children placed on Probation .... 34 
Repeating by Children Whose First Appearance Was 

Subsequent to First Year 34 

Figures as to Children of First Year Do not Show the 

Full Amount of Repeating 34 

Comparison of the Statistics with Similar Statistics 

from Other Jurisdictions 35 

Statistics as to Repeating as a Test of Efficiency ... 36 

Part II: Methods 37 

Probation 39 

Probation in General 39 

Daily Reports for Idle Boys 39 

Restitution 40 

Saving as an Antidote for Gambling 40 

Evening Reports for Working Boys 40 

Difficult Boys Report Frequently to the Judge ... 40 

Saturday Work for Lapses of School Boy Probationers . 40 

A Few Days in Jail 40 

A Few Days' Detention Away from Home 41 

Placing Out 41 

Commitments to Institutions 41 

Fines 41 

in General 41 

for Violation of Licenses 42 

for Violation of Ordinances 42 

for Gaming 42 

not Imposed for Larceny 43 

Permanent Adjustment the Aim 44 

Neglected Children 44 

Parental Responsibility Insisted On 45 

Volunteers 45 

Miscellaneous 46 

Reports from Schools 46 

Reference Bureau Consulted 46 

Courts and Reformatories Consulted 47 

Girls Cared for Exclusively by Women 47 

Ailments Attended to 47 

Feeble-Mindedness Watched for 47 

Conferences with Probation Officers 47 


Night Sessions 47 

All the Foregoing Methods Were Available Prior to the 

Legislation of 1906 47 

Part III: Detention Pending Arraignment, Hearing And 

Disposition 49 

In General 51 

Police Stations 5^ 

Private Families for Girls 52 

Private Families for Boys 52 

House of the Angel Guardian 53 

Suffolk County Jail 53 

Should There Be a Detention Home 53 

State Board of Charity 56 

Part IV: Appeals 57 

Part V: Relations with Other Agencies 63 

Cooperation of the School Department 65 

Cooperation of the Police Department 65 

Assistance of Private Societies 66 

Assistance of Physicians 67 

The Press Have Been Considerate 68 

Part VI: Expense and Benefits of the Court .... 69 

Expense of Conducting the Present Court 71 

Expense of Conducting Juvenile Business in the Former Court 71 

Benefits from the New Court 72 

Shown by Statistics 72 

in Care of Children Arrested 73 

in the Handling of Girls 74 

in Neglect Cases 74 

in Other Cases 75 

from Restricted Attendance in Hearing Room . . 76 

Part VII: Recommendations 77 

Clinic for the Intensive Study of Bafffing Cases .... 79 

More Probation Ofificers and Office Stenographers .... 80 

Make Parents Contribute to Support of Children Committed . 82 

Payment by Probationers of Expense of Probation ... 83 

All License Violations to Be Dealt with by School Authorities . 84 

Employment for Probationers 85 

Better Provision for Appeals 86 

Better Quarters for Probation Officers 86 


Part VIII: General Comment on the New Law, Probation 

AND THE Alleged Increase in Juvenile Delinquency . 87 
New Law Has not Curtailed the Power to Arrest Juveniles 

and Commit Them to Reform Schools 89 

Fines May Still be Imposed 89 

New Law Increases Power of Courts 89 

Advantages of Probation 90 

Deterrent Effect of Commitment Over-Estimated .... 91 
Increase in Violations of Law by Juveniles in Suburban Dis- 
tricts Would Be in No Wise Alarming 92 

Juvenile Courts only Remedial Institutions ...... 93 


Results of Saving in Cases of Probation for Gambling ... 95 




1 906-1 91 1 


Harvey H. Baker 

Special Justices 

Frank Leveroni 
Philip Rubenstein 


Charles W. M. Williams 

Probation Officers 

Samuel C. Lawrence (agent of the Boston children's Aid 
Society*) pro tempore Sept. I, 1906-July 3I, I907 

John A. Elliott (agent of the St. Vincent de Paul Society*) 
pro tempore Sept. I, 1906-Dec. 3I, I906 

ClarenceE.Fitzpatrick Jan. i, 1907-Sept. i, 1911 
Roy M. Cushman Aug. i, 1907- 

Agent of the Council of Jewish Women attending the court 
in the nature of a probation officer for Jewish children 
Rosa Z. Krokyn Sept. i, 1906-Dec. i, 1909 

Katharine Weisman Dec. i, 1909- 

Agent of the St. Vincent de Paul Society attending the 
court in the nature of a probation officer for Catholic girls 
Elizabeth J. McMahon Feb. i, 1907-July i, 1910 
Lillian F. Foss July i, 1910- 

* The Children's Aid Society and the St. Vincent de Paul Society gave the 
court the full services of these experienced court agents for a large part of the 
first year. This generous arrangement was extremely valuable because it 
gave the court at the outset experienced service and enabled the court to pro- 
ceed with due deliberation in the choice of permanent probation officers. 



Roughly speaking the court has jurisdiction of all chil- 
dren under seventeen years of age who commit offences in 
the business district and the North, West, and South Ends, 
and the Back Bay. It has no authority whatever over 
children who commit offences in other parts of the city, 
and has nothing whatever to do with them in any way. 

The boundary lines of the territory over which the court 
has jurisdiction run as follows, viz.: 

Beginning at the intersection of Massachusetts avenue with Charles 
River; thence by Massachusetts avenue, the Providence Division of the 
N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R., Camden, Washington, East Lenox, Fellows, 
Northampton, Albany streets, Massachusetts avenue, the Roxbury Canal, 
East Brookline street extended, the N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R., the water 
line of South Boston, Bristol street extended, and the water line of the 
City proper, to the point of beginning. 

The only cases in which the court ever has anything to 
do with a child from outside that territory are those in 
which such a child comes inside that territory and commits 
an offence there. 





The Boston Juvenile Court completed its first five years 
on August I, 191 1. During those five years 5,520 different 
children were brought before the court, 4,638 v/ere boys 
and 882 were girls. Of these children 4,719 were delin- 
quent or wayward and 801 neglected. Of the delinquent 
and wayward children, 4,254 were boys and 465 were girls. 

The figures for the different years are as follows:* 

igo6-7 1907-8 1Q08-9 1909-10 1910-11 Total 
Delinquent Boys .... 
Delinquent Girls. . . . 
Total Delinquent 

Children 1,031 

Neglected Children . . . 

* Adding the figures given in this table will give a total exceeding the real 
total of children brought before the court in five years, because there are a 
number of instances of the same child being brought before the court in more 
than one year. 

Wayward children are included with delinquent children in this table as 
the nature of their cases does not differ materially in most instances from those 
of delinquent children. A wayward child is defined by statute as a child who 
habitually associates with vicious and immoral persons or is growing up in 
circumstances exposing him to lead an immoral, vicious or criminal life. A 
delinquent child is one who is proved to have committed some specific offence. 



























1906-y 1907-8 1908-9 1909-10 1910-11 Total 

Assault and Battery 
(including 2 cases of 

Manslaughter) 66 112 79 70 59 386 

* Robbery, Breaking 
and Entering, Lar- 
ceny, Receiving Stolen 
Property, Using Vehi- 
cles without Permis- 
sion, Forgery, and 
False Pretences 415 567 371 444 412 2,20^ 

Fornication, Idle and 
Disorderly, Lewd, 
Wanton and Lascivi- 
ous, Rape (i case), 
Unnatural Acts, 
Exposure of Person, 
Obscene Pictures 17 22 29 28 18 114 

Stubborn Children and 

Runaways 52 68 49 36 49 254 

Gambling 93 114 130 177 128 642 

Drunkenness 6 7 10 9 10 42 

Miscellaneous Statutory 
Misdemeanors (includ- 
ing Breaking Glass 
and other forms of 
Trespass, Loitering at 
R. R. Stations, Beg- 
ging, Disturbing the 
Peace, etc.) 97 119 104 93 62 475 

Violation of City Ordi- 
nances, such as 
Playing Ball in the 
Street, SteaHng Rides 
on Cars, etc 165 222 335 126 139 1,087 

Violation of License 

Regulations 78 125 282 152 229 866 

Truancy 95 64 51 38 19 267 

Waywardness 35 52 34 51 45 217 

Violation of Probation ... 6 11 9 20 13 59 

i,i25t i,483t 1483! i,244t i,i83t 6,5o8t 
Neglect 93 196 185 199 156 829 

* There were 30 cases of Robbery in the 5 years. 

t The total causes for which children were brought to court in any year 
exceeds the number of children brought to court in that year, because in some 
instances the same child came in more than once during the year. 

Note: The classification in the foregoing table is made (for the most part) 
from the standpoint of the offender and is based (for the most part) on the 



igo6-j 1907- 

Assault and Battery. . . . i 3 

Larceny, etc 22 36 

Runaways, Immoral, etc. 44 72 


Truancy 9 3 

Violation Ordinances, 

etc 5 























Neglect 48 











motive or appetite underlying the act. Certain items do not conform to the 
general scheme. "Stubborn Children and Runaways" include some who 
have stolen and some who are immoral; "Waywardness" includes some who 
have a tendency toward stealing or immorality; "Truancy" and "Miscellane- 
ous Statutory Misdemeanors," "Violations of City Ordinances" and "Viola- 
tions of License Regulations " might properly be merged so far as the standpoint 
of the offender and the underlying motive are concerned, for they come mainly . 
from carelessness or the spirit of play. 

The customary classification (viz.: — into "offentes against the person," 
"offenses against property" and "offences against public order") is made 
from the standpoint of the offended, and is based on the effect of the act. 
Robbery is grouped with other forms of stealing in the foregoing table, be- 
cause the motive prompting the offender to do it is the same as the motive 
prompting him to steal; but it is ordinarily classed with assault and battery, 
because from the standpoint of the offended the personal injury is apt to be 
the more serious feature. 

In the foregoing table sex offenses, gambling, and drunkenness are entered 
independently, because the appetites underlying them are separate, while 
most of them are ordinarily grouped together under "offences against public 
order," because most of them do not offend any special individual but rather 
the citizens of the community as a whole. 

The reason for making the classification in the foregoing table from the 
standpoint of the offender and on the basis of his motive or appetite is that 
in juvenile cases the approved method of serving society is to improve the 
offender; and in every effort to improve the offender, what led him to offend 
is more important than the effect of his offence. 

* The total causes for which girls were brought to court in any year exceeds 
the number of girls brought to court in that year because in some instances 
the same girl came in more than once during the year. 



Delinqtient and Wayward Children Ordered Committed* 

igod-j 1907-8 1908-9 1909-10 19JO-11 Total 
Mass. Reformatory 

(boys) 15 8 4 3 3 33 

Ind. School for Boys at 

Shirley 2 18 15 35 

Suffolk School (boys)... 34 26 17 8 20 105 

LymanSchool(boys).. . 17 33 18 20 19 107 

George Jr. Republic 

(boys)t 141 2 3 II 

Berkshire Ind. Farm 

(boys)t I I 2 

St. Mary's Ind. School 

at Baltimore (boys) f. 21 3 

Parental School (boys).. 45 37 26 13 8 129 

Ind. School for Girls at 

Lancaster 17 3i 26 26 20 120 

House of Good Shepherd 

(girls)t 15 17 19 II 6 68 

State Board of Charity 

(boys and girls) 11 19 I3 20 38 loi 

155 176 128 122 133 714 

* In 67 instances appeals were taken from these orders to the Superior Court, 
and in most of those instances the Superior Court refrained from committing 
and placed the children on probation, or filed or nolle prossed their cases. 

t The court has no authority to commit a child to any private institution, 
but in certain cases if parents prefer any private institution, the child is placed 
on probation making it a condition of the probation that the child shall be 
placed in the institution desired and not taken out without the consent of the 


Neglected Children Ordered Committed 

igo6~7 igoy-S igo8-g igog-io igio-ii Total 

State Board of Charity 
and Trustees for Chil- 
dren of the City of 

Boston* 20 51 33 58 34 196 

Home for Destitute 

Catholic Childrenf. . . 43 84 63 80 51 321 

63 135 96 138 88 517 

Number of Fines Imposed 

igo6-7 igoy-S igo8-g igog-io igio-ii Total 

Assault and Battery. .. . 2 17 8 4 4 35 

Larceny i 4 I 2 8 

Gaming 3 22 16 30 21 92 

Violation Ordinances 

(inc. auto regulations) 22 80 88 42 34 266 

Violation License 22 33 96 32 82 265 

Violation Probation. .. . 6 11 6 16 10 49 

55 164 218 125 153 715 














Assault and Battery . . 






























Vio. Ord.t 


Vio License 


Vio. Prob 















* The cases of 28 of these children were appealed. 

t Children are not permanently committed to this private institution, but 
are placed in its care on continuance under Acts of 1903, chap. 334, sec. 3, 
subject to recall by the court at any time. 

t Violations of statutes in regard to operation of motor vehicles are included 
for convenience with violations of ordinances. 



1906-7 1907-8 

1908-9 1909-10 

1910-11 Total 

418 722 

543 520 

443 2,646 




1906-7 1907-8 

1908-9 1909-10 

1910-11 Total 

44 63 

35 35 

40 217 


There were on September i, 191 1, 134 children who had 
defaulted and whose whereabouts were unknown;* 58 of 
these were delinquent or wayward children and 76 were 
neglected children. 


In many of the cases not comprised in the foregoing 
dispositions the children were made to do some task like 
copying eight pages of laws and ordinances which children 
are likely to violate. In many of the cases for violation of 
license regulations, the licenses were suspended by the 
School Department. In a small number of cases the chil- 
dren were allowed to go with just a warning. There is no 
way of giving the exact numbers of these various minor 
dispositions, as their only proper, technical entry on the 
clerk's docket is ''filed" or "dismissed" and there is no 
practicable way of compiling dispositions except from that 

Compilation of the ages in 2,148 cases of children brought 
to court for larceny and kindred offences in the five years 

* There were iii more children technically in default, i.e., they had not 
been present on the last day for which their cases had been set down, but their 
whereabouts were known and they could have been produced if it had been 
deemed necessary or desirable to bring them in. 


gives (omitting fractions of a per cent.) the following 

percentages : 

Years. Per Cent. Years Per Cent. 

Seven i Twelve 12 

Eight 3 Thirteen 14. 

Nine 4 Fourteen 16 

Ten 6 Fifteen 14. 

Eleven 7 Sixteen 19 

This detailed statement may be roughly summarized as 
follows: one fifth were under twelve years, one fifth were 
sixteen years and the remaining three fifths were fairly 
evenly distributed over the four intervening years. 

There were no significant variations in the annual per- 
centages during the five year period. 


Statistics as to the racial extraction of the children are of 
no real significance. The court's jurisdiction is confined 
to the central part of the city, comprising, roughly speaking, 
the North, South and West Ends and the Back Bay. The 
great preponderance of all the children in that district are 
of Irish, Italian and Jewish extraction. Accordingly if 
there are to be any substantial number of children in court 
at all, they must be largely of those three races. There 
are no figures available as to the respective numbers of 
each of those races in the central part of the city, and it is 
impossible to make a comparison even on the basis of 
proportion of offenders to the total numbers of the different 


The statistics have not been fully compiled, but it is 
clear that a large majority of the children live in the dis- 
trict served by the court, viz. : the North, West and South 
Ends and the Back Bay, though a substantial number live 
in the adjacent districts. 



The number of different children brought to court has 
steadily decreased since the second and third years, when 
there was a marked increase over the first year, matching 
the increase of adult offenders from the same territory. 
But the number of children brought to court is not a real 
test of the increase or decrease of juvenile lawlessness. The 
prosecutions by the police for violations of license regula- 
tions and city ordinances, etc., vary greatly from year to 
year, without any close relation to the actual number of 
offences; on the other hand, almost all the cases of larceny 
and kindred offences are prosecuted every year. There- 
fore the number of instances in which children are brought 
to court for larceny and kindred offences is a better test 
than the number of children brought to court for all offences 
combined. It appears that there has been no steady trend 
either way in the number of instances in which children were 
brought to court for larceny and kindred offences. While 
there were three less the last year than there were the first 
year, yet in two of the intervening years the numbers were 
greater than those of the first year. It is interesting to 
notice, however, that there has been in the end no increase 
in such instances, while on the part of adults in the same 
territory there has been an increase every year except one 
during the same period. The figures for adults are as 
follows : 

Year of 1906-07 i ,879 

Year of 1907-08 2,280 

Year of 1908-09 2,695 

Year of 1909-10 2,501 

Year of 1910-11 2,737 

The numbers of the different offences for which children 
were brought to the former court the last year before the 
establishment of this court are not available. There were 
on the docket of the former court 1,221 entries of children 


complained of that year for all offences. The number of 
entries on the docket of this court of children complained 
of in each of the five years of its existence are as follows: 

Year of 1906-07 i ,350 

Year of 1907-08 1,726 

Year of 1908-09 i ,714 

Year of 1909-10 1 4^7 

Year of 1910-1 1 i ,368 

But, as previously stated, a comparison based on the total 
of all offences is not very valuable. 

It is worth noticing in considering the volume of business 
that a steady increase would not have been surprising, 
because the population of the district served by the court 
has increased ten per cent, during the court's existence 
(though there is for some reason no increase in the number 
of children in .school). Moreover an increase over the 
business of the former court might be expected for the follow- 
ing reasons: 

1. The legislation of 1906 provided for bringing to court 
certain children termed "wayward children" who could not 
previously have been brought to court at all, viz.: children 
who, though not having any specific offence charged to them, 
habitually associate with vicious and immoral persons, or 
who are growing up in surroundings exposing them to lead 
immoral, vicious or criminal lives. 

2. Parents, social workers, employers, police and citizens 
will bring to a special court, whose officials have full time 
and special facilities for dealing with them, cases which 
they would not have brought to the former court. 


The number of children brought before the court for 
truancy each year has decreased steadily from 95 to 19. 
While this decrease is due chiefly to increased efficiency of 
the school department, it is partly due to the close coopera- 


tion between the court and the schools. By this coopera- 
tion poor school attendance on the part of children brought 
to court on account of other forms of delinquency is promptly 
discovered by the court and made an important factor in 
probationary oversight, so that frequent school reports 
are obtained during probation, and probation is not termi- 
nated until the reports show that the weakness in attend- 
ance is cured. 

The decrease is also partly due to the fact that the court 
has time to consider carefully all applications for leave to 
complain; and in cases which, though appearing at first 
to be cases of truancy on the part of a single child, seem on 
further inquiry to be cases of the neglect of a whole family 
of children on the part of parents, the court sets in motion 
the proper agencies to have the whole family cared for 
under the neglect law. 

The year before the establishment of the new court 
there were Ii8 children brought to the former court for 
truancy and 99 of them (or 84%) were ordered committed 
to the truant school. In only one year* since that time 
have more than 50% been ordered committed. This 
decrease in the proportion of commitments is also due 
largely to the school department, which has become 
increasingly resourceful in handling truants on probation, 
but is due in a substantial part to the increased time which 
the new court can give to such cases. 


Proportion of Commitments to Number of Children. 
Twelve and eight-tenths per cent of the delinquent and 
wayward children brought to court in the five years were 
ordered committed to reform schools (or the equivalent of 
reform schools) to be given institutional treatment, and 
2.2% were ordered committed to the State Board of Charity 

* In that year 58% were committed. 


to be placed in private families, making the total orders 
of commitment of delinquent and wayward children fifteen 

per cent. 

Comparison of Commitments to Reform Schools Between 
Former Court a7id New Court. The only available basis for 
this comparison is the proportion of orders for commitment 
to the number of entries on the docket of children com- 
plained of.* Omitting from consideration orders for com- 
mitment of truants, which have been greatly reduced as set 
forth above, the figures are as follows: last year of former 
court, 6.6%; first year of new court, 6.1%; second year, 
5.6%; third year, 3.9%; fourth year, 5%; fifth year, 


It was probably expected by some of the persons who 
advocated the establishment of the new court (judging 
from the experience of other states) that the number of 
commitments to reform schools would be more markedly 
decreased. But anyone who entertained such expectations 
failed to consider that there have not been for many years 
in Massachusetts such wholesale commitments of children 
as there have been in other states u p to the moment of 

* Strictly the comparison should be of the proportion of orders for commit- 
ment to the total instances of children brought to court for offences for which 
commitment is permissible over a five-year period in each court. There are 
however no statistics available for any year of the former court but its last 
and even for that year there are none available as to the number of different 
children brought to court or the different offences for which they were com- 
plained of. Therefore the nearest approach to a fair comparison is to take in 
each court the proportion of orders for commitment to the number of entries 
on the docket of children complained of. The very low figure of the third 
year of the new court is due, in part at least, to an unusually large number of 
license and ordinance complaints (on which commitments cannot be made) 
being entered in that year. "Commitments" to private institutions are 
omitted in making the comparison, because there is no record of the instances 
where children went to private institutions from the former court. The 
institutions actually comprised in this comparison are the Massachusetts 
Reformatory, the Industrial School for Boys, the Lyman School, the Suffolk 
School and the Industrial School for Girls. The total number of orders for 
commitment to these schools the last year of the former court was 8i. 


their establishing juvenile courts. Probation in the sense 
of refraining from the commitment of first offenders has 
long been generally availed of in all our Massachusetts 
courts in juvenile cases. The former court was always 
disposed to be merciful in the matter of commitments and 
almost always had the benefit of the recommendations of 
agents of the State Board of Charity, the Children's Aid 
Society, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the Council 
of Jewish Women, and probably made few commitments 
which could very well be avoided by any court. Even if 
the new court has refrained from committing in certain 
cases where the former court would have committed, the 
more intimate knowledge of the cases which comes from 
the continuous sitting of one judge and the continuous 
service of two probation officers, as contrasted with the 
former method of rotation of judges and the intermittent 
service of private agents has doubtless resulted in the 
appreciation of the need of commitment in certain cases 
in which the need would not have become apparent to the 
court under the former system. Then again, in view of 
the very much greater number of fines imposed by the 
former court (480 its last year against 218 in the heaviest 
year in the new court, and an average of 145 for the five 
years) it is probable that some cases were disposed of in 
the former court by punishment in the form of a fine 
instead of by an effort to secure reformation by treatment 
in an institution. In any event each commitment by the 
new court was made only after careful consideration of 
the interests of each child, giving at the same time due 
regard to the protection of the community and paying no 
attention to any preconceived notion as to how the figures 
should come out. Certainly the figures take the ground 
from under the feet of anyone who alleges that 
there has been dangerous increase of leniency and claims 
that there is any increase in lawlessness from that cause. 


Commitments to State Board of Charity. The increase in 
commitments to the State Board of Charity is due to a 
growing conviction that young children who have had homes 
should be given a better environment at an early period. 
A large proportion of the children committed to the State 
Board of Charity on delinquency complaints have no 
need of the strict discipline of a reform school, and would 
never have been committed if they had had good homes. 


The number of fines imposed by the Boston Juvenile 
Court has in no year reached 46% of the number of fines 
imposed in the last year of the previous administration, 
but the average size of the fines imposed by the new court 
is greater. The number of fines imposed in juvenile cases 
by the former court in 1905-6 was 480, amounting to 
$546.10, an average of $1.10. Fines were imposed in 40% 
of the cases. The highest number of fines imposed in any 
year by this court was 218, amounting to $808, an average 
of $3.72. Fines were imposed in 13% of the cases of that 
year. In comparing the number of fines imposed by the 
two courts it should be noticed that two fifths of the fines 
imposed by the new court were for license violations, a 
form of offence which was much less frequently prosecuted 
prior to the establishment of the new court, and therefore 
the number of fines imposed in the new court for the more 
serious offences must be substantially less than 46% of the 
number of fines imposed by theiormer court for those more 
serious offences. 


Repeating in General. Of the 837 children who were 
found delinquent the first year 285, or 34%, were found 
delinquent more than once during the five years. The 
details are as follows : 























Repeating Offences Other than Violations of Ordinances 
and License Regulations. Of the 650 children who were 
found dehnquent the first year for offences other than vio- 
lations of ordinances and license regulations 207, or 31.6%, 
were found delinquent more than once during the five 
years for offences of that same restricted class. The 

details are as follows: 

Two Three 





Times Times 





118 49 





Repeating by Children Placed on Probation. Of the 418 
children placed on probation the first year 164, or 39%, 
were either committed for failing on probation or were 
found delinquent again during the five years for some 
offence other than violation of ordinances or license 


Repeating by Children whose First Appearance was 
Subsequent to First Year is not reported here because 
the briefer period of observation would make the figures of 
less value even than those as to children appearing in the 
first year. 

Even the Figures above Given as to Children of the First 
Year do not Show the Full Amount of Repeating because 
they do not include the following instances of repetition: 

* An analysis of the records of the ten children who were in six times or 
more shows that two never did anything worse than gambling, three were 
given the benefit of thorough institutional training early in their careers and 
it therefore seemed futile to commit on account of subsequent misconduct, 
unless just for the sake of getting them out of the community; one did nothing 
which gave legal ground for commitment until the end; two others showed 
periods of over a year between their serious acts; in the remaining two cases 
there were special circumstances which would take too much space to recite 

t Of the children placed on probation 389 were boys and 32 were girls; 153, 
or 39i%, of the boys and 11, or 341%, of the girls were committed for failing 
on probation, or were found delinquent again in the five years for some offence 
other than the violation of ordinances or license regulations. 


1. Instances never discovered or never prosecuted by the authorities. 

2. Instances where a later offence was committed in another jurisdiction. 

3. Instances occurring after the defendants had passed the age limit of 

the jurisdiction of this court. 

On the other hand it should be borne in mind that in a 
substantial number of instances not all the offences for 
which the child was found delinquent were serious, even 
though they were other than the violations of ordinances 
and license regulations. Many cases of assault and battery 
are only snowballing or similar petty annoyances. Even 
larceny is in many instances the mildest kind of pilfering. 
It is not practicable to eliminate such instances from the 
computation and they may be considered to offset to some 
extent (though not wholly) the unincluded instances above 

In Comparing These Statistics with Similar Statistics 
from Other Jurisdictions the following points should be 
borne in mind : 

1. There are few jurisdictions where the figures have 
been compiled for so long a period as five years. The 
period taken is usually two or three years. 

2. The jurisdiction of most courts includes all sections of 
a city or county. The jurisdiction of this court includes 
only those sections of the city where many parents from 
ignorance or poverty are in no position to profit by the 
warning of a child's being in court once and keep him out 
thereafter by their own exertions. 

3. There is reason to believe that in Boston the very 
efficient attention to weak homes and difficult children on 
the part of an unusual number of private agencies, together 
with the increasing attention of the school department to 
all aspects of children's lives saves the coming to court of 
many of the more readily adjusted cases which in other 
jurisdictions would be referred to the court, so that the 
Boston court has a more thoroughly sifted and less prom- 
ising group to deal with. An experienced observer has 


claimed to notice a much larger proportion of mentally 
deficient children passing through the Boston court than 
through others visited. 

4. The basis for computing repeating is usually at least 
as broad as that in the first group here reported, namely 
all the children found delinquent, and the statistics of 
repeating by those placed on probation are not so frequently 

5. In statistics for repeating by probationers — 

(a) The greater the percentage of commitments, the less 
will be the percentage of repeating in any limited period. 
A large percentage of commitments means, — first, that 
some of the less promising children (who would be tried 
where there is a small percentage of commitments) are not 
tried on probation at all; and second, that those who prove 
unstable are early surrendered, — a child in an institution 
cannot repeat. 

(b) In some jurisdictions first offenders who pretty 
clearly need no oversight are placed on probation just to 
impress them or their parents or their associates with the 
seriousness with which the court regards their conduct. 
Such jurisdictions will show a less percentage of repeating 
among probationers than jurisdictions which dispose of 
such cases either with a reprimand or some suitable pun- 
ishment without using probation. 

Statistics as to Repeating as a Test of Efficiency. Statis- 
tics as to repeating are the only statistics which could ever 
come anywhere near affording a statistical test of the effi- 
ciency of a juvenile court, and it is to be hoped that the 
percentage of repeating in this court will decline as time 
goes on; but it is to be borne in mind that some of the best 
authorities declare there is no statistical test of a court's 
efficiency which is of any substantial value, and the only 
basis on which to judge the work is observation of the han- 
dling of individual cases. 





Probation in General. More than half the children 
brought before the court for offences other than violations 
of ordinances and license regulations are placed on proba- 
tion. The period of probation is rarely less than six months ; 
it is frequently a year, and it is often more than a 

The most important feature of probation is the one which 
is most difficult to describe. That feature is the personal 
attention of the probation officer to the probationer. This 
attention is given by visits to the home, by acting as arbiter 
between the child and unreasonable parents, by friendly 
talks with the child at the time of reporting, by conferences 
with the child and the teacher at school for the adjustment 
of school difficulties, by accompanying the child to the 
hospital, by assisting in straightening out disputes as to 
newsboy rights, by helping him through the formalities 
of obtaining working certificates, by suggestions as to 
opportunities for work, by connecting him with clubs and 
classes and in many other ways. The impersonal and 
less important features — more correctly termed incidents — 
of probation are easy to describe, and some of them are 
described in the following paragraphs: 

Daily Reports for Idle Boys. Boys who have left school 
whose delinquency appears to be due to their having 
acquired the habit of idleness are required to report to the 
probation officer daily until they get work. At their daily 
visits they are required to state just what they have done 
in the past twenty-four hours in the way of looking for 



work, and they are directed to various means for securing 

Restitution. Boys who are earning money or receiving 
spending money are required to make restitution. Over 
$1700 has been paid through the probation officers by 467 
different children and mostly in small instalments — some- 
times as small as five cents per week. The chief value of 
such restitution as this lies in its moral effect on the culprits ; 
a boy who pays one dollar in twenty instalments of five 
cents out of his spending money is more impressed than a 
boy whose parents pay ten dollars for him at once. 

Saving as an Antidote for Gambling. Boys who have 
been gambling are required to start savings bank books, 
and show them with fresh deposits at stated periods. 
Many boys have saved between five and ten dollars in six 
months in this way, and some have saved over twenty-five 
dollars. (For results in a group of cases see Appendix.) 

Evening Reports for Working Boys. Many working boys 
are required to meet their probation officer once each week 
in the evening and talk with him about their recent doings 
and their plans for the future. 

Difficult Boys Report Frequently to the Judge. Some of 
the more difficult boys, who can conveniently come to the 
court house, are required to report frequently to the judge 
to be admonished or encouraged as their cases may require. 

Saturday Work for Lapses of School Boy Probationers. 
School boys who stay out of school while under the over- 
sight of the court are frequently required to make restitu- 
tion of the time thus stolen by spending an equal number 
of hours on Saturday morning copying under the direction 
of the probation officer in a room adjacent to the court 
room. This practice is also resorted to as a punishment 
for school boys for minor offences. 

A Few Days in Jail. In some cases of older boys, where 
commitment appears almost inevitable, commitment to 


jail for a few days (under the form of a continuance of the 
case, not a sentence) is tried on the chance that the experi- 
ence may give a sufficient stimulus to the boy to avert the 
necessity of further restraint. 

A Few Days' Detention Away from Home. Some of the 
younger boys, whose commitment to a truant school or 
reform school seems imminent, are kept from home a few 
days in private institutions or selected families in the 
country to see if a temporary separation from their families 
will not bring the desired results. 

Placing Out. In several cases where it is practically 
hopeless to try a child on probation at home (such cases 
arise from the unfitness of parents or from the lack of 
parents, unsuitable environment, and incompatibility of 
temper) the children are placed on probation in carefully 
investigated homes by the Boston Children's Aid Society, 
the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and sometimes by other 
societies, under the frequent visitation and close oversight 
of their trained agents. 


Commitments are used to a substantial extent, as shown 
by the foregoing statistics, but they are not resorted to 
until the court has been satisfied by a full report on the 
child's previous conduct or a thorough trial on probation 
that institutional treatment is necessary. 


Fines in General. Fines are almost never imposed on 
children under fourteen in any class of cases. The fines 
imposed have been for the most part in three classes of 
cases, viz. : 

Gaming 92 

Violation of ordinances 266 

Violation of license regulations 265 



The number of fines in all other cases being divided as 
follows, viz. : 

Assault and battery 35 

Larceny 8 

Violation of probation 49 

About a quarter of the total number of fines were paid 
in instalments, and usually these instalments came out of 
the earnings or spending money of the child. 

Fines for Violation of Licenses. Fines are appropriate 
in cases of violation of license regulations, because such 
violations do not ordinarily arise from any moral weakness 
which needs the training afforded by probation, and because 
they occur in the course of and are intimately connected 
with earning money. It seems fitting to exact money in 
a case where a child breaks a law in earning it. Even in 
license cases fines are not commonly resorted to unless the 
offender has been warned by an official on some previous 

Fines for Violation of Ordinances. Most of the cases 
where fines are imposed for violation of ordinances are 
cases where a child has been before the court previously 
for a similar offence or at least has been warned by the 
officers. These cases, like the license cases, do not ordi- 
narily arise from any moral weakness which needs the 
training afforded by probation, and yet if they are to be 
taken into court, the good of the child and the community 
requires that something should be done (especially the 
second time) other than just admonishing the child. First 
offences in these cases are usually dealt with by imposing 
a school boy penalty like copying eight pages of the city 
ordin nces. 

Fines for Gaming. Gaming cases differ from other cases 
in which fines are ordinarily resorted to because gaming is, 
or may become, a bad habit and probation is established 


for the very purpose of preventing or curing such habits 
by the probation officer's advising and befriending the 
probationer and interesting him in other activities. The 
fines for gaming were imposed in two classes of cases: 

First — Where the boys had previously been in court for 
the same offence, and 

Second — Where the boys were at the time of gambling 
on probation or had previously been on probation. (It 
should be remembered that boys for their first offences in 
gaming are usually put on probation under an order to 
save a specified part of their spending money, as more 
fully described earlier in this statement.) 

It may be said that even in these two classes fines are 
improper and that what should be done is to make the 
probation department redouble its efforts to get the boys 
interested in other things. The answer is that when the 
probation department lacks the time or ability to make 
further efforts, it is better for the probationer and his 
associates that he should be fined than that the repetition 
of his offending should pass unnoticed, and certainly 
gaming does not warrant commitment to a reform school 
unless in very aggravated cases. 

Fines not Imposed for Larceny. There are three reasons 
why fines are seldom imposed for larceny and kindred 

First — If it seems desirable to order the payment of 
money, there is usually an opportunity to order it as an 
incident of probation in the form of restitution, a form in 
which it has a greater educational value than as a fine. 

Second — A repetition of stealing is (in its immediate 
bearing at any rate) more serious to the community than a 
repetition of gambling, and indicates a greater moral 
weakness on the part of the boy, so that commitment to a 
reform school, or at any rate a change of environment, 
may be properly insisted on. To be sure gambling not: 


infrequently leads to stealing, but very many boys who 
gamble would never think of stealing. 

Third — Imposing a fine makes a criminal "record" 
under the Massachusetts law which makes the case avail- 
able for use against the boy if he is ever a witness in any 
case thereafter and in other collateral ways, and a "record " 
for stealing is much more detrimental than a "record" for 


So far as possible the cases are handled with a view to 
securing a permanent adj ustment. For example, if truancy 
is found to be really due to hopelessly bad home conditions, 
the case is referred to the Massachusetts Society for the 
Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the child is com- 
plained of as a neglected child so as to be placed in a suit- 
able family as soon as possible instead of being placed in 
an institution, and so as to be held under proper oversight 
until twenty-one instead of getting virtual freedom at 
sixteen. Children committed to truant schools must be 
discharged from the oversight of the trustees at sixteen; 
children committed to the State Board of Charity can be 
held under the oversight of the trustees until twenty-one. 
Of course if there are found to be children other than the 
truant in the family, all are cared for together. 


In many cases of neglected children the parents are 
allowed to take their children home on trial at once, and 
in many others where the children are taken away at first 
the parents are allowed to have them back after a separa- 
tion long enough to arouse the parents to the seriousness 
of the situation and enable them to rehabilitate themselves. 
When children are returned to their parents, oversight is 
continued until some new, permanent, dependable factor 


has come into the case, such as one of the children growing 
sufficiently mature and reliable to be responsible for the 
family. This practice is persisted in even though it may 
require keeping the case pending for several years. When 
children are entrusted to private societies the cases are 
kept pending with periodical reports to the court until the 
children become eighteen. The cases of neglected children 
are often more important than the cases of delinquent 
children, because attention to one case of neglect may 
prevent several children from becoming delinquent. 


The attendance* of at least one parent at the beginning 
of each case is insisted on, and parents are frequently called 
in to be advised or admonished while children are on proba- 
tion. In some cases parents are caused to move their 
families to less crowded neighborhoods. In several cases 
parents have been caused to send their children to friends 
or relatives in the country during vacation and sometimes 
for longer periods. In some cases where parents have 
proved to be ineffective, brothers or more distant relatives 
have been called in. Parents have been ordered in several 
cases to pay a certain sum weekly for the support of their 
children while at the truant school. This court has no 
power to punish parents for the neglect of their children; 
it can only take the children. The prosecution of parents 
must be conducted in the Municipal Court. 


In a few instances boys have been placed on probation 
on the understanding that their relatives, friends, clergy- 
men or club leaders would be responsible for the oversight 
of them, but there has been no systematic use of volunteers, 
— meaning by "volunteers" persons not paid for their 

* Parents must always be notified but courts with crowded dockets do not 
always insist on their attendance. 


service by any agency, public or private, and whose chief 
occupation or interest is something other than social service. 

Five years ago volunteers were being extensively used 
in some courts to take actual charge of children and do 
regular probation work with one or two cases apiece. There 
has been a growing dissatisfaction with such use, and some 
of the best authorities now positively condemn it. It was 
early pointed out to the Boston court by an interested 
citizen that it is not the true function of volunteers to do 
work which would be done by professional social workers 
if enough of such workers were available. In his opinion 
the true function of volunteers is such that they should be 
used extensively, even if the court had all the professional 
workers it could desire. To his mind the volunteer should 
bring to the case something different from and additional 
to what the regular probation officer gives, just as the 
friend in the sick room is not supposed to do any part of 
the nurse's work, but brings to the case a distinct and 
auxiliary element different from anything which even the 
best nurse could supply. 

Some such auxiliary use of volunteers would probably 
increase the effectiveness of probation, but even such use 
entails a substantial amount of trained attention to the 
volunteers and cannot safely be made use of extensively 
until there is a fuller professional service than there is in 
the Boston court. 


Reports from Schools. In the cases of school children 
masters and teachers are always consulted before any 
disposition is decided on. In the cases of children on pro- 
bation, reports from the school are almost invariably 
required, and in difficult cases the probation officers have 
frequent consultations with the master and teacher. 

The Reference Bureau in the Charity Building is consulted 


in every case and any agency found to be interested is 
promptly conferred with. 

Courts and Reformatories Consulted. In cases of children 
found to be on probation from any other court or to be on 
parole from any truant or reform school, the officials in 
charge of the child are always consulted as to what action 
should be taken. 

Girls Cared for Exclusively hy Women. Girls, as soon as 
brought under the jurisdiction of the court, are dealt with 
exclusively by women. Every girl sent to an institution 
is accompanied the entire distance by a woman. 

Ailments Attended to. Children who are discovered to 
have any ailment are required to attend the dispensary, if 
they have no family physician. 

Feeble-Mindedness Watched for. Children who give any 
indication of mental deficiency are examined by an expert. 
One hundred and six have been examined, and twenty- 
seven have been committed (through the Probate Court) 
to the schools for the feeble-minded. Many more would 
have been committed if the schools were not overcrowded. 

Conferences with Probation Officers. . The judge goes over 
all pending cases with each probation officer every month, 
and the judge, special justices and probation officers meet 
together every month for conference on topics of common 
interest in connection with the administration of the court 
and the treatment of the cases. 

Night Sessions. To avoid taking parents or children 
away from work in special cases where their absence might 
seriously interfere with their work or result in their losing 
it, a night session is held every month. This session is 
usually devoted to the formal ending of the probation of 
working boys and to admonishment of and conference with 
parents during the course of their children's probation. 

All the Foregoing Methods were available prior to the 
legislation of 1906, and they were availed of to some extent. 


but all the officials connected with the former court had 
many official duties in addition to handling the cases of 
children, while the justice and the probation officers of 
the new court have no official duties except the care of the 
children's cases, and can accordingly use much more 
extensively the methods above described. 








In General. When a child is arrested it is in the majority 
of cases released to its parents by the police or the proba- 
tion officer on their promise to bring it to court. In many 
cases where the child is not released it is put in a private 
family placed at the disposal of the court by the Children's 
Aid Society; but a substantial number of boys, the major- 
ity of them being sixteen years of age, are left in cells at 
the police stations. By an arrangement with the Children's 
Aid Society a woman is in readiness at all hours to go to 
the station and take care of arrested girls, and they are 
never left at the stations. Between arraignment and 
disposition some of the boys and girls are placed by the 
Children's Aid Society in families in the suburbs of Boston; 
many Catholic boys are placed in the House of the Angel 
Guardian; and many boys fifteen years of age or over 
(the majority of them being sixteen) who seem very unre- 
liable are committed to the Charles Street Jail. 

Police Stations. Boys left at police stations (girls are 
never left there) are always kept in cells by themselves as 
remote as possible from any cell occupied by adult offenders. 
Boys left at police stations are of two classes, viz. : newly 
arrested boys who are known to the probation officer as 
repeated offenders, and boys .on probation for whom sur- 
render warrants have been issued because of repeatedly 
running away from home or persistent and wilful failure 
to report; 193 boys were held in this way during the five 
years; 120 of the boys so held were sixteen years of age, 
an age which in some states is beyond the jurisdiction of 
the juvenile court. Of the 73 others so held (an average 
of only 15 a year) 50 were fifteen, 18 were fourteen, 2 were 



thirteen and 3 were twelve.* The conditions in the police 
stations both as to cleanliness and order are good, though 
there is much to be desired in some of them in the way of 
ventilation and arrangement. The boys left at the police 
stations never stay more than one night unless arrested 
the night before a Sunday or holiday, as court is held daily 
and they are never sent back to police stations after being 
brought to court. 

Private Families for Girls are entirely satisfactory. The 
women are not staggered by the girls coming to them un- 
clean or diseased. They do excellent work in making the 
girls clean and they take proper precautions to prevent con- 
tagion. The system gives a better opportunity for obser- 
vation than a detention home, because the girls are in a 
normal mode of life and the women gain information which 
the busy matron of a detention home would not have time 
to acquire. There have been iii girls detained in this 
way. There is only one girl allowed in a family at a time, 
and this rule has very rarely been broken. 

Private Families for Boys have been satisfactory for 
detention for brief periods, and 176 boys have been so 
detained. But these families have not been very satis- 
factory so far for more than forty-eight hours' detention. 
It has not been deemed safe even to make a trial of many 
boys who were considered unsuitable for jail in such homes 
as have as yet been provided, and those boys have been 
kept in the House of the Angel Guardian. Ten of those 
who have been tried in private families have run away 
and some of that number have only been found after 
difficulty and delay. It is by no means certain, however, 

* Of the two thirteen-year-old boys one was held in the witness room which 
is an ordinary bedroom in a part of the station remote from the cells, the 
other was arrested at 3: 15 in the morning. Of the three twelve-year-old boys 
one was held through a misunderstanding, the other two were arrested at 
three in the morning and held in the witness room above mentioned. 


that families cannot be found where there is a man around 
home all the time or where the women are more alert and 
resourceful so that the greater part of the boys who are 
clearly unfit for jail can be cared for in homes. 

House of the Angel Guardian. The use of this congre- 
gate institution for temporary detention is not fair to the 
boys who are regular inmates, and is not wholly desirable 
for the boys sent to be temporarily detained. The only 
justification of the use of it by the court is that for boys of 
a size suitable to be received there it is more desirable than 
the jail, and so far as the regular inmates are concerned, 
they would be subjected to the influence of temporary 
inmates from other sources, even if the use of it by this 
court ceased; 128 boys were temporarily detained in this 
institution in the five years. It should be said, however, 
that there were a substantial number of these who could 
have been cared for in a private family but were sent 
to the House of the Angel Guardian because it was less 
agreeable to them and therefore constituted a sort of 

The Suffolk County Jail is exceptionally good. Usually 
each boy has a separate cell, and boys are never placed in 
cells with men. Boys are not allowed to mingle with each 
other or with the men in any exercising yard, or in any 
other way (except when two boys are put in the same cell) ; 
182 boys have been detained here during the five years; 
of these 105 were sixteen years of age, 69 were fifteen and 
8 were fourteen. 

Should There Be a Detention Home? There is certainly 
no need of establishing one on account of the girls, and 
there is considerable question whether, if a detention home 
were established, it would be at all worth while to make 
provision in it for girls and spend the extra money for 
construction and maintenance which proper segregation 
would require. In the case of the boys the answer is by 


no means so clear. It appears that during the five years 
there have been 278 boys, an average of 55 a year, who 
would surely have been cared for in a house of detention 
had there been one, viz. : the 73 boys under sixteen left 
at police stations overnight pending arraignment, the 
128 boys kept in the House of the Angel Guardian and 
the 77 boys under sixteen committed to jail. Some of the 
120 sixteen-year-old boys kept in police stations and some 
of the 105 sixteen-year-old boys committed to jail might 
have been cared for in an ordinary detention home, but in 
view of the size and experience of most of them it is a fair 
question as to whether the proper provision for their care 
should not be secured by improved facilities at the police 
stations and the jail (especially in the way of classification 
at the jail) rather than in a detention home where there 
might have to be provided for them special accommoda- 
tions quite different from those for the other inmates. 

The one important reason for having a detention home 
instead of using private families is to enable the court to 
keep boys from running away without resorting to such 
clearly objectionable means of temporary detention as 
police stations, jails, or even private institutions. But 
detention homes have certain very distinct shortcomings. 
Every detention home so far devised has periods of being 
quarantined by cases of contagious diseases. It is imprac- 
ticable to wholly isolate each comer until the possibility 
of the outcropping of disease is past, because the briefest 
period for incubation of any of the diseases is two or three 
days after exposure (viz. : in scarlet fever) and many dis- 
eases take much longer {e.g., whooping-cough seven days, 
measles nine or ten days, chicken-pox ten days, mumps 
nineteen days). It is equally impracticable to avoid all 
moral contagion, and after all some children run away even 
from detention homes. 

The ideal detention home would have a separate com- 


plete suite and a separate custodian for each inmate. The 
expense of carrying out that ideal makes it purely visionary. 
But the expense of maintaining any approach to the ideal 
detention home is also very heavy. Even if no provision 
is made for girls, there must be a superintendent, an assist- 
ant and a cook, and they must be kept on full time. That 
means at the very least $2,500 per annum for salaries 
alone, while the total cost of the present system is only 
$700 per annum after adding an approximate amount for 
those detained in police stations or the jail. 

In short, there is a question whether the loss to the older 
boys who are kept at the police stations and jail is great 
enough to warrant so large an increase in expenditure as 
the erection and maintenance of a detention home would 
involve, and whether the private family system cannot be 
so improved and extended as to care for the boys kept in 
the House of the Angel Guardian, and indeed for some 
kept in police stations and jail. 

The expense per capita of a detention home would be 
reduced to some extent by the home being used by all 
courts in the city, but the reduction would not be sufficient 
to bring it very near the expense of using private families. 

No mention has been made in this discussion of the 
possible use of a detention home as an auxiliary to proba- 
tion by separating a child from his home for a brief period 
and thus rousing him to greater efforts to do well. While 
there are cases where such treatment seems helpful, it 
is probably not of sufficient value to justify in any substan- 
tial degree the expense of a detention home. 

Whatever may be the ultimate conclusion, it is hardly 
desirable to take any action toward the establishment of a 
detention home at present. The leading authorities are 
much dissatisfied with two of the latest detention homes, 
built less than five years ago at the expense of many thou- 
sand dollars, and the supplanting of one of them by a new 


structure is being strongly advocated. The use of private 
families has by no means been developed to its limit. The 
agent of the Children's Aid Society in charge of that depart- 
ment has been able to devote only a small amount of time 
to the search for court homes. More time spent might 
well have resulted in the discovery of stronger homes which 
could have held many of the boys unsuitable for jail. It 
would seem that the possibilities in that direction should 
be thoroughly tried out here (while further experiments 
are being made with detention homes elsewhere) before 
any money is locked up in costly buildings and an expensive 
staff of officials is installed. 

The State Board of Charity is required by law to take 
children under fourteen for temporary detention if any 
court so orders, but delinquent children are seldom sent by 
the court to the State Board for temporary detention unless 
it is expected that they will ultimately be committed per- 
manently to its custody, so the facilities afforded by the 
State Board are not considered in this discussion of tem- 
porary detention. 




The number of appeals in delinquent cases doubled in 
the five years.* This increase is a matter of real concern. 
The number is still very small in proportion to the total 
volume of business, but the condition which seems to have 
caused the increase affects many cases where no appeal is 
actually taken. 

The usual reason for a parent's dissatisfaction with the 
lower court is that it has ordered the child to be committed 
to a reform school or the State Board of Charity; and the 
condition which causes the appeal is that in at least six 
cases out of seven in the higher court the child is not com- 
mitted. In 1909-10, out of thirty cases where the lower 
court had ordered commitment or fine, there were only four 
in which anything more was done in the higher court than 
to place the children on probation. In 1910-11, out of 
twenty-three cases where the lower court had ordered 
commitment or fine, there were only two in which anything 
more was done in the higher court than to place the children 
on probation. 

The lower court never orders a commitment unless it is 
satisfied that the child's own home is bad or is unable to 
control him. The higher court is no better equipped than 
the lower for determining the facts as to the home, or for 
controlling the child on probation. It is therefore very 
probable that at least a substantial portion of the children 
who appealed really suffered from not being committed. 

As has already been stated, what happens in the higher 
court on appeal affects many children who do not appeal. 
The way in which children who do not appeal are affected 

* 1906-7, 12; 1907-8, 12; 1908-9, 16; 1909-10, 34; 191Q-11, 25. 



is as follows : the lower court, realizing how great the chance 
is that children will go free on appeal, refrains^ in many 
instances where parents will not acquiesce, from insisting 
on much needed commitments, and resorts to the order of 
commitment only where there is no way remaining in 
which probation can be kept from seeming to the child a 
mere formality. The condition in the higher court accounts 
for many instances of children being retained on proba- 
tion in the lower court after two or more serious lapses. 

It may seem, at first thought, that the lower court ought 
to order commitments whenever it considers them desir- 
able, regardless of what will be done in the Superior Court. 
But that would really be unfair to the children, their par- 
ents, and the officials of the Superior Court; unfair to the 
children, because those whose cases are filed or nol prossed 
(in the exigencies hereinafter explained) will go without 
any oversight or control whatever; unfair to the parents 
(who are usually sincere in their belief that they are doing 
what is best) because it puts them to expense and trouble 
without the lower court getting any nearer what it con- 
siders best for the children; unfair to the officials of the 
Superior Court, because it aggravates the serious conges- 
tion of their calendar without much possibility of their 
being able to do any good in the added cases. 

The reasons for the way in which these juvenile appeals 
are disposed of are as follows: 

First — There are always many more cases before the 
Superior Court than can possibly be actually tried. The 
district attorney must dispose of a majority of the cases 
without trial. In juvenile cases the amount of damage 
to anyone but the child himself has been trifling, and the 
damage which he is likely to do to others in the near future 
if allowed to go at large is also trifling. The public are 
still far from being awake to the fact that in the long run 
the loss to the community from failure to remove a child 


promptly from unsuitable environment will really exceed 
that which will accrue from failure to punish an adult who 
has committed a grave offence. District attorneys are 
intended by our form of government to express public 
opinion. They accordingly put the juvenile cases among 
the first to be disposed of without trial, either by nol 
prossing them or by agreeing to recommend probation in 
return for submission to an adjudication of delinquency. 

Second — Even if the docket of the Superior Court were 
not so overcrowded, there would still be difficulty in han- 
dling the juvenile cases efficiently. Jurymen cannot be 
expected to understand that the main object of proceed- 
ings against a child is to secure him proper bringing up, 
and thus in the end best serve the community. The jury- 
men feel that the main object of a trial in children's cases 
is what most laymen consider it to be in adult cases, namely, 
punishment. They shrink from being party to the punish- 
ment of a child, especially by the ponderous machinery 
which they mostly associate with the handling of burglars 
and embezzlers, and they acquit, no matter how clear the 
evidence may be of acts of delinquency which are the signal 
for the interference by the public in behalf of the child. 
Furthermore, partly from this shrinking from seeing the 
ponderous machinery of the criminal law put in motion 
against a child and to some extent from a feeling that the 
district attorney should not bother men with such trifles 
as children's cases when there are real criminals to be 
attended to, juries get biased against the district attorney 
from his submitting children's cases to them, and he finds 
that he not only fails to hold the children but his influence 
with the jury in other cases is impaired. 

It might be possible to remedy this difficulty by a law 
(similar to that now in force for the Land Court) requiring 
parents who wish a jury trial for their children to claim it 
before the lower court goes into the facts at all, and provid- 


ing that when a jury trial is claimed the case shall go on 
the speedy list in the civil sessions of the higher court, and 
be tried immediately after the conclusion of any case then 
on trial, taking precedence of all other cases, and if the 
verdict is against the child that the case shall be remanded 
to the lower court for disposition. 

The provision for taking precedence on the list and 
remanding for disposition might well be applied to the 
cases of neglected children which already go to the civil 
sessions on appeal. Under the present procedure in neglect 
cases appeals in them are as undesirable as in the delinquent 
cases, because at best they are six months in being reached 
for trial and often much longer, and when tried the court 
is at a loss as to how to dispose of them because it has too 
little of such business to give its officials the necessary 
experience. The delay is very serious in some cases, as 
for example where a little daughter of a dissolute mother, 
who was enabled to procure bail, had to be left exposed in 
that vicious custody for two years. 




Cooperation of the School Department. The superintend- 
ent of schools early took pains to introduce the judge to the 
masters and throughout the existence of the court the super- 
intendent, assistant superintendents, masters, teachers and 
truant officers have complied with all requests for infor- 
mation, given due consideration to all suggestions, and in 
general shown great forbearance with new officials whose 
lack of experience and new views must in some instances 
have added substantially to the burden of teachers who 
were already heavily taxed. 

Cooperation of Police Department. The police commis- 
sioner and the superintendent have been conferred with 
from time to time on matters of general policy and have 
cooperated heartily with the court. The patrolmen also 
have endeavored to do all they could to carry out the 
ideas of the new law despite some rather tedious waits 
caused by the increased deliberation with which the 
juvenile business is now conducted, and despite a natural 
doubt as to the wisdom and practicability of certain 
new methods. The patrolman's position in juvenile cases 
is a very difficult one. It is frequently much harder 
to discover and apprehend a child than a full grown 
criminal. Despite the freq^uent complaints by the public 
of the lawlessness of children in general the public are very 
apt to look askance at the arrest of a particular child when 
it is being made, even if they do not actually upbraid the 
officer; and even if the public said nothing, a full grown 
man must always feel a little ignominious in arresting a 
small boy. After an officer has been put to great trouble, 
and perhaps suffered some very unjust abuse, in the arrest 



of a boy who has been a source of continuous annoyance to 
the neighborhood, it is only natural that he should have a 
tendency to feel that he has gone through it all for nothing 
if the boy is allowed to go on probation. But the officers 
on the whole are looking for the greatest good of the 
children and are more than fair to them; and there have 
been several cases where officers after arresting boys have 
helped them to get work, to say nothing of the cases where 
they have repeatedly warned and reasoned with parents 
and children to avert the impending outbreak which would 
necessitate arrest. 

Assistance of Private Societies. The Boston Children's 
Aid Society, in addition to furnishing homes for tempo- 
rary detention and long term placement as previously 
mentioned, furnishes women agents who perform all the 
duties of probation officers in the cases of Protestant 
girls. The Council of Jewish Women gives the court 
the full time of a women agent who has served for all 
practical purposes as a third probation officer and cared 
for a very substantial portion of the cases of delin- 
quency coming before the court, thus allowing the two 
official probation officers to give more nearly the proper 
amount of attention to each case of theirs than would 
otherwise be possible, and affording Jewish parents who 
cannot speak English the great benefit of intelligent and 
sympathetic interpretation. The St. Vincent de Paul 
Society gives the court the full time of a woman agent to 
care for Catholic girls, who is for all practical purposes a 
probation officer in those cases. The Italian Immigrant 
Society gives the court the services of its woman agent for 
the cases of Italian girls and for especially difficult family 
problems. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Children takes complete charge of the prose- 
cution of cases of neglected children and the Home for 
Destitute Catholic Children cares for a large proportion 


of the neglected children after they have been brought to 
court. The South End House and the North Bennet 
Street Industrial School provide accommodations in their 
buildings for the weekly evening meetings of the probation 
officers with their probationers from their respective dis- 
tricts. More than a score of other societies and agencies 
have responded cordially and assisted very materially in 
individual cases. 

Assistance of Physicians. Dr. Edward B. Lane has 
devoted a large amount of time and skill to the exami- 
nation of children to determine their mental condition 
and Dr. Mary F. Hobart has given liberally of her time and 
skill in the cases of girls. Many other physicians have 
freely given very substantial assistance in individual cases. 

The Press Have Been Considerate. The reporters and all 
other members of the press have been most considerate 
and have almost without exception observed the spirit of 
the law by refraining from any endeavor to secure or 
publish any account of the children's cases. 





The expense of conducting the present court is $ii,8oo 
a year. The items are as follows, viz. : 


Justice $3,000 .00 

Special Justices (30 days at $9.84 per day) 295 .20 

Clerk 1 ,500 .00 

Clerk pro tempore (30 days at $4.92 per day) 147 .60 

Two Probation Officers at $1,800 per annum 3,600 .00 

Probation Officers pro tempore (60 days at $5.90 per day). . . . 354 . 00 

Stenographer 830 . 00 

Substitute stenographer (12 days at $2.50 per day) 30. 00 

Probation Officers' Expense: 

Board and Lodging of Children $541 .77 

Expense incident to Commitments 210.99 

Car fares, telephone calls, etc 92 .00 


Printing, Stationery and Office Supplies 679 .95 

Witness Fees 149 . 50 

Interpreters* Fees 204 .00 

Telephone Service 153-32 



There is no way to determine accurately the expense to 
the municipality of conducting the juvenile business of the 
district previous to the establishment of this court, but it 
probably did not exceed $2,800. 



The details of this estimate are as follows, viz.: 

Share of Justice's time* 

(i hour per day, 300 days per annum) $750. 00 

Share of Clerk's time 

(2 hours per day, 300 days per annum) 650 .00 

Share of Court Officers 

(2 hours per day, 300 days per annum) 450 00 

Expense incident to commitments 200 .00 

Printing, Stationery and Office Supplies 500. 00 

Witness Fees 150 .00 

Interpreters' Fees 100. 00 


It is to be noticed that the expense to the municipality 
by no means represents the whole expense of doing the 
work of the court, because a substantial part of the work 
is done by agents paid by private societies. Before the 
establishment of the new court substantially all the pro- 
bation work was done by the agent of the State Board of 
Charity and the agents of private societies. 


Benefits Shown hy Statistics, Authorities on juvenile 
court matters agree that statistics as to increases or de- 
creases in the number of offences are of minor significance 
in determining the benefits derived from juvenile courts; 
but there is a natural tendency on the part of the public 
to attach some weight to such statistics; and therefore 
attention is called to the fact that the end of the five year 
period shows no increase over the beginning in the number 
of complaints against juveniles for the standard offences 

* It cannot be said that the time set free by relieving this official of the 
juvenile business is lost to the city, because there was always in the former 
court a substantial amount of extra judicial assistance paid for by the day 
which could be dispensed with to the extent to which the court was relieved by 
the transfer of the juvenile business. So far as the clerk and court officer are 
concerned, the business of that court has increased so that there have been 
additions to its staff since the establishment of the juvenile court. 


{i.e., the offences most uniformly prosecuted, such as lar- 
ceny and the like) in spite of the increased population, the 
increased congestion and the increased readiness to bring 
juvenile offenders into court which attends the establish- 
ment of a tribunal especially equipped to deal with them. 
The new court has played a substantial part (even though 
a minor one compared with that of the school department) 
in the reduction of complaints for truancy from 118 in the 
former court to 19, and of the number ordered committed 
for truancy from 99 to 8, and this without any increase in 
orders for commitment for other causes. The number of 
commitments to jail in the last year of the former court was 
64; the largest number in any year of the new court was 
46, a reduction of over 20%; and in the last year of the 
five year period there were only 32 commitments to jail. 
The number of fines imposed the last year of the former 
court was 480 ; the largest number in any year of the new 
court was 218. There are doubtless some citizens who 
will consider the reduction in commitments to jail and in 
the number of fines a detriment rather than a benefit to 
the community, but the end of the five year period shows 
no increase over the beginning in the number of complaints 
entered; there is therefore no statistical indication of 
increased lawlessness in the limited district served by the 
new court; and if the citizens in question could under- 
stand that the abstention from fining meant — not remis- 
sion of all attention to the offender — but on the contrary 
greatly increased attention and control in the form of pro- 
bationary oversight, some of them might take a different 
view of the situation. 

Benefits in Care of Children Arrested. There is a proba- 
tion officer of the new court constantly* on call day and 

* Between noon and ten P. M. there is sometimes a delay of an hour or two 
in the probation officers' reaching the station because he has to be away from 
the telephone at times during that part of the day making investigations. 


night to visit any newly arrested child at the police station 
and determine whether (if the police themselves will not 
take the responsibility of releasing) the child may not 
properly be released to its parents until the court sits next 
day or at any rate cared for in a private family under the 
authority of the court. This saves many children from 
the undesirable experience of a night in a police station 
or the city prison. 

Benefits in the Handling of Girls. Under the new court 
girls (with half a dozen exceptions) have not been kept 
even over night in a police station, jail or city prison. 
Under the former court there was no regular provision for 
any girls between arrest and arraignment, and after arraign- 
ment there was none for the temporary detention of girls 
over fourteen. Under the new court girls committed to 
institutions are invariably accompanied by women. There 
was no provision for this under the former court. 

Benefits in Neglect Cases. The most important single 
benefit from the new court is the more careful study and 
longer oversight which (owing to the increased time at the 
disposal of the judge) is given to the cases of neglected 
children. The importance of these cases cannot be over- 
estimated; the handling of each of them directly affects 
(in most instances) the lives of several children, while the 
handling of a delinquent case ordinarily directly affects 
the life of only one. The careful study of the cases pre- 
vents ill considered separations of children from their 
parents, ill considered dispositions of children when sepa- 
rated from their parents, and ill considered returns to their 
parents. The longer oversight prevents (or saves serious 
harm to children from) breakdowns which occur in many 
cases even after several months of good behavior. 

Under the previous system neglect cases were usually 
dismissed after a few months' supervision and no new 
action was taken until the home conditions became as bad 


again as when the children were first brought to the atten- 
tion of the court. Now no case is dismissed unless the 
children are committed to the custody of the State Board 
of Charity or some other public authority, or (if left at 
home) until some new element has come into the situation 
which ensures adequate permanent provision for the chil- 
dren, or (if placed with private societies or in private 
families) until the children have passed the age limit of the 
jurisdiction of the court. 

There is a constantly increasing saving of actual direct 
expense to the public treasury by the present conduct of 
these cases, to say nothing of the social gain. It should 
be stated that the extra time given by the court would 
avail but little without the very greatly increased and 
improved service furnished by the Massachusetts Society 
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. 

Benefits in Other Cases. The effects of the devotion of 
more time to the work of the court is not quite so marked 
in other cases as in those of neglected children, but the 
citation of a few instances will indicate that substantial 
benefits must result. When boys who have been gambling 
are made to save money for months instead of being dis- 
missed at once with a warning or a small fine, when boys 
who have been stealing are made to pay full restitution 
out of their own earnings in instalments through a year or 
more instead of being fined or placed on probation with 
little oversight and no requirement of restitution, when 
boys who have been throwing stones or jumping on cars 
are made to write the ordinances of the city instead of being 
sent home after a slight reprimand or a small money pay- 
ment by their parents, when boys coming to court for any 
cause who are found to be loafing are looked after until 
well established at work, — there is great benefit in thrift, 
honesty, lawfulness, and industry to the boys themselves 
and through them to the community. When children wha 


have repeatedly offended are studied by probation officers, 
submitted to experts, and provided for with due reference 
to their mentality, instead of being sent indiscriminately 
to reform schools to be released and returned over and 
over, there is large benefit to the community in the sav- 
ing of loss from repeated depredations and of expense of 
repeated arrests and commitments, of expense of hospital 
treatment for infectious diseases, and of expense of support- 
ing mentally and physically deficient offspring. 

Benefits from Restricted Attendance in Hearing-Room. 
While the restriction of those in attendance at each hearing 
of each case to the persons immediately concerned in it 
and to visitors who have a real reason for being present 
has no relation whatever to the cost of maintaining the 
court and is not due to the new officers (being required by 
the statute establishing the court) it ought to be mentioned 
in reciting the benefits of the new court. The restricted 
hearing has been warmly commended by every humanita- 
rian who has observed its operation; and while it may be 
questioned by some conservative jurists as being an unwise 
departure from long established customs of publicity in 
court matters, it affords the most natural and efficacious 
setting for bringing out the facts of children's delinquency 
and the cause of it, and for determining the treatment for 
it; it gives protection to children and blameless parents 
from being pilloried before the public, and permits to a 
great extent the adaptation of the procedure to the needs 
of each case — benefits which no judge, even the most con- 
servative, would be likely to relinquish without serious 
misgiving, after he had once experienced them. 




Clinic for the Intensive Study of Baffling Cases. A 
clinic for the intensive study of baffling cases which fail 
to respond to ordinary probationary treatment would 
enhance the efficiency of the court more than any other 
accessory. Juvenile courts and all other agencies are deal- 
ing with children without sufficient knowledge of what is 
really the matter; and great amounts of money, time, and 
nervous strength are being spent on children in ways which 
the few leading investigators could have told at the outset 
would have been utterly unavailing. This refers not only 
to cases of deficient mentality and epilepsy, but also to 
cases of improvable mental and physical conditions. The 
expense of such a clinic seems large (the Chicago clinic 
costs $8,000 a year) but it will really result in a great saving 
to the community. Anything short of a fully equipped 
clinic will be nothing but a source of disappointment. The 
man in charge should be a physician with great common 
sense, a faculty for winning the confidence of children, and 
a good knowledge of psychology. He should give his 
whole time to the work, and should not be assigned so 
much work as to prevent his giving all the time he desires 
to each case. 

In any event, the authority of the courts to incur the 
expense of expert mental examination should be definitely 
established. In this county no bills for expert service will 
be honored unless the expert testifies in court as a witness. 
In most children's cases it is entirely unnecessary to have 
the expert come to court and give formal testimony. That 
only makes it difficult to get the best man to serve, and 
greatly increases the payment to those who do serve. 



Most of the leading physicians agree that it is out of the 
question to deal properly with these cases in the ordinary 
hospital clinic, so this court has been forced to have recourse 
to a combination of the public spirit of an expert and small 
money payments from private funds for most of its mental 

More Probation Officers and Office Stenographers. The 
present probation officers are already worked to the limit 
of their capacity.* There are many children (as indicated 
by the substantial number who come to court more than 
once) that need much more time spent on them, to say 
nothing of the need of more time to secure proper proba- 
tion records, t 

The leading authorities state that a probation officer 

* Carefully kept daily figures show that the probation officers and the agent 
of the Council of Jewish Women work an average of 8j hours per day, includ- 
ing Saturdays. The time taken out for meals and personal matters is rigidly 
excluded from this computation. Owing to the fact that much of this work 
from its nature must be done evenings, the 8j hours on many days has to be 
distributed over a period of from lo to 12 hours. The judge, who was expected 
by the framers of the law establishing the court to devote only the forenoon to 
his official duties, devotes all the rest of the day to supplementing the proba- 
tion service by acting as a sort of chief probation officer, thus giving in all 
over 8 hours per day to the work of the court. 

t The records of the probation department contain valuable information 
about individual children, but they are of little value for statistics. The chief 
reason why they are of little value for statistics is that they are not uniformly 
filled out. For example, if one wishes to compile data about the material 
condition of the families, he will find one record with the number of rooms 
duly entered but the income of the family lacking, and the next record may 
state the income but lack the number of rooms. 

The cause of this condition is, for the most part, the lack of a sufficient num- 
ber of probation officers. This means that something must be omitted. In 
cases where the probation officers have made out partial records at the begin- 
ning of the case with the expectation of completing them later, pressure of work 
has resulted in indefinite postponement — if the probation officer has to choose 
between completing some records and taking a child to the dispensary, he 
chooses the more immediately vital act. 

The same pressure of business has led to the deliberate abstention from any 


should not have more than 75 cases in hand at a time. 
The probation officers of this court, including the agent of 
the Council of Jewish Women, each have 125 cases. There 
should therefore be at least two more probation officers. 
Furthermore, it would be only fair if the Council of Jewish 
Women were relieved of the burden of furnishing what is 
for all practical purposes a third probation officer, and the 
Children's Aid Society and the St. Vincent de Paul Society 
were relieved of doing the probation work with girls which 
takes the equivalent of the full time of one woman. There- 
fore in fairness there really should be four more probation 
officers instead of two more. There should be at least one 
additional stenographer in order to relieve the probation 
officers of much of the answering of inquiries, to facilitate 
the keeping of records, and make possible the keeping of 
statistics. All such work as the preparation of this review 
has now to be done at private expense. 

If there is not to be any increase in the number of pro- 
bation officers, the court should certainly be authorized 
to pay the car fares, telephone calls and any similar expenses 
incurred by the agents of the private societies in their 
work on court cases. Furthermore authority ought to be 
given deputy probation officers to serve mittimuses to re- 
form schools. The court has always insisted that girls* 
cases shall be handled by women to the very end of the 

attempt to make out records in many cases of violation of license regulations 
or of city ordinances. 

In girls' cases records are very apt to be lacking, because the cases are 
handled by the paid agents of private societies. Those agents are not in 
regular attendance at the court; they make full records for their own files 
which are always open to the court. All the stafT of these societies are sorely 
pressed for time and it seems hardly fair to ask them to make duplicate records 
for the court. The same is true of the neglect cases, which are handled by 
the agents of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Children. There is no law requiring the probation officers to investigate 
neglect cases or keep any records of them, but it is just as desirable to have 
records in court of that class of cases as of the delinquent cases. 


court's connection with them. In pursuance of this poUcy 
the women agents of the private societies have taken to 
Lancaster all girls who have been ordered to be committed 
there, and the regular probation officers have made the 
formal return of service. No girl has ever tried to escape 
in transit, but there is some question as to whether the 
agents of the private societies, thus acting for the proba- 
tion officer, have the technical authority to retake a child 
who leaves them, and it would certainly be most wasteful 
of time and money to have the regular probation officers 
accompany the agents on these four-hour trips. 

Make Parents Contribute to Support of Children Committed. 
In many cases of commitment to reform schools and the 
State Board of Charity, the parents have not neglected 
the children in any such gross way as to justify criminal 
proceedings under the so-called ''neglect law," and yet 
they might fairly have been expected to do more than they 
did, and in any event they ought not to be relieved of the 
burden of supporting the child for whose existence they 
are responsible. There is at present no provision for com- 
pelling a parent to pay anything in these cases, unless 
there is such gross neglect as to warrant criminal proceed- 
ings. It seems most desirable that a law should be enacted 
authorizing any court in committing a child to order the 
parents to pay something toward the support of the child; 
the amount of the payments to be determined by the judge 
according to the circumstances of each case, and to be 
changed, from time to time if changed circumstances 
require it. Unless the parents were fairly well to do, the 
court would of course refrain from ordering payment of the 
full cost of keeping the child by the public and would limit 
the payments to the amount of the expense of which the 
parent would be relieved by the commitment of the child 
if no order for payment were made. Such laws are already 


in successful operation in other states. There is such a 
law here for the cases of truants but it is useless because 
there is no provision for enforcing compliance with orders 
made under it. 

Payment hy Probationers of Expense of Probation. It 
seems desirable that courts should be authorized to re- 
quire (in such cases as they choose) probationers, or their 
parents, to pay something toward the expense of main- 
taining the probation service.* The amount to be paid 
in any case should be left to the discretion of the court, 
subject to a maximum limit. The court should also have 
discretion as to the rate of payment. This authority 
seems desirable for the following reasons: 

First — there are some cases where probation is clearly 
the best treatment, but falls short of its greatest efificacy 
because the parents or the children, or both, fail to com- 
prehend the real nature of probation, and seem unable to 
realize the seriousness of the situation without some more 
obvious and concrete indication of it than the regular 
administration of probation affords. The need of such 
authority is especially felt where a child breaks down dur- 
ing or after a period of probation, and it is still thought 
best to refrain from commitment. f 

Second — the need is not met by the power to fine. The 

* The practice already resorted to in a few cases of requiring probationers 
to pay the "costs" or expenses of the case is not adequate for the purpose 
underlying this recommendation. Many judges do not consider it legal to 
€xact an arbitrary sum under the name of "costs" and believe that nothing 
can properly be exacted beyond the amount actually expended in the prepara- 
tion and trial of the case. In the lower courts the amount actually expended 
is too small to be of any service. 

t The power now existing to impose a fine not exceeding five dollars for 
violations of probation does not meet the need even of the cases which arise 
during probation (being in nature and amount designed for minor violations 
like failure to report) and it is of course unavailable for first offences and 
offences occurring after the close of probation. 


moment a fine is paid the child by law must be discharged, 
unless it happens that he is already on probation in an 
other case, and even then a fine is undesirable because it 
establishes a criminal record against the child. Further- 
more the payment will have a much greater educational 
value in the form of a payment toward the expense of 
probation than in the form of a fine, because it makes a 
natural opening for an explanation by the court to the 
probationer to the effect that care of a child by a pro- 
bation officer costs the city a great deal of money, and 
when a child behaves so that it is necessary to put him 
on probation, he (or his parent as the case may be) ought 
to pay as much of the expense as possible. 

Some excellent authorities on juvenile delinquency ob- 
ject that this recommendation is punitive in character 
and savors of the criminal law, and they maintain that no 
desire for it would be felt in a court with an adequate 
number of thoroughly competent probation officers, for 
such officers would educate both child and parents by more 
intelligent means without resort to any such crude process. 
In answer to this it may be said that most persons will 
agree that requiring restitution is an entirely wholesome 
practice and it would seem that the practice here recom- 
mended is so similar to ordinary restitution that it might 
be described as making restitution to the State. 

All License Violatiojis by School Boys To Be Dealt with 
by School Authorities. The school department issues all 
licenses for street vending by boys under fourteen, through 
its supervisor of licensed minors does a substantial part of 
the supervision of its licensees, and through its trial board 
deals with all violations which that supervisor wishes to 
have acted on. One supervisor, however, is not enough 
to do all the work, and the police department details an 
officer for the same purpose and also to supervise the 
minors fourteen and over. If the school department could 


have another supervisor, it would probably be unnecessary 
to have the police department take cognizance ordinarily 
of violations by school committee licensees, with the con- 
sequence that those cases would be eliminated from the 
juvenile court except in the few instances where it might 
be desirable to impose a fine. 

The ponderous formality of a sworn complaint followed 
by the issuance of two summonses to be served by an 
officer seems almost absurd when gone through with 
because a boy has forgotten his badge or sold after eight 
o'clock, and yet persons should not ordinarily be brought 
before a court in any other way. When it comes to disposi- 
tion of the cases the school authorities are the only ones 
who can legally impose the penalty which is in the greater 
part of the cases the most appropriate, viz. : suspension or 
revocation of the license. The handling of these cases by 
the school authorities would set free for more serious cases 
time sorely needed by all court officials from the judge 
down, though it would not be enough to warrant dispens- 
ing with any of the increase of probation service above 

Employment for Probationers. It is important to cause 
probationers to secure employment through the ordinary 
channels as far as possible and most probationers secure 
work in that way, but there is a substantial residuum who 
for one reason or another cannot or do not secure employ- 
ment, and can only be started on the road to industry by 
being deliberately planted in a job and encouraged to stay 
in it by an employer or foreman who is willing to put 
himself out to do a little social service. Somebody should 
make a business of seeking out and keeping a full list of 
public spirited men who can be induced to keep one or 
two such boys on hand all the time. This could be done 
by a probation officer especially detailed to that service if 
the staff were large enough, but it is probably best that 


it should be done by the placement department of some 
social service agency through a trained social worker 
especially assigned to the service. 

Better Provision for Appeals. A recommendation in 
regard to appeals is made in connection with the comment 
on appeals earlier in this review. 

Better Quarters for Probation Officers. The present quar- 
ters of the court afford no opportunity for really intimate 
conference between the probation officers and their chil- 
dren. Their desks are in the open waiting room and there 
is not even a private room to which they can retire in 
special cases. This deficiency was called to the attention 
of the authorities when the court house was enlarged ; but 
they could not see their way to approving the expense in- 
volved in remedying it. Better facilities must be provided 
before the probation officers can do their best work. 




New Law Has Not Curtailed the Power to Arrest Juveniles 
and Commit Them to Reform Schools. It has been frequently 
stated since the passage of chapter 413 of the Acts of 1906 
(commonly known as the '' Delinquent Law") that nothing 
can be done to juvenile offenders except place them on 
probation. This statement is wholly incorrect. Children 
can be arrested by police officials just as freely as ever, and 
the courts can commit them as freely as ever to the Massa- 
chusetts Reformatory, the Industrial School for Boys at 
Shirley, the Lyman School for Boys at Westboro, the Suf- 
folk School for Boys at Rainsford Island, the Industrial 
School for Girls at Lancaster, and the State Board of 
Charity, which takes younger children of both sexes. 
Children under fourteen can no longer be committed to a 
jail or house of correction under any conditions, but with 
the above named institutions freely available, the sternest 
citizen cannot complain that there is any lack of opportu- 
nity for ''punishment" by commitment. 

Fines May Still Be Imposed. Moreover children may 
still be fined, but the law does aim to discourage fining 
children under fourteen, and has interposed certain pre- 
liminary formalities which make fining such children less 
convenient than it used to be. 

New Law Increases Power of Courts. Indeed, instead of 
taking away power from the courts in the cases of juvenile 
offenders, the new law has increased those powers. It 
provides that any child between seven and seventeen ''who 
habitually associates with vicious or immoral persons, or 
who is growing up in circumstances exposing him, or her, 
to lead an immoral, vicious, or criminal life" may be com- 
7 89 


plained of as a ''wayward" child and placed on probation 
or committed to the State Board of Charity. This enables 
the court in any case where the evidence falls short of what 
is required by law to prove the commission of any specific 
offence, but shows the child has been keeping bad company 
or late hours, or is bunking out, to hold the child under 
oversight by having a complaint made against him as a 
wayward child. There is a striking instance of the useful- 
ness of this form of complaint in the experience of the 
court. A large boy who was believed, with very good rea- 
son, to be connected with many thefts made good his boast 
that the police could never make legal proof of his connec- 
tion with any wrong doing; but the evidence showed that 
he was well acquainted with thieves, lived apart from his 
parents and was out at all hours of the night. The court 
had him complained of as a wayward child, put him on 
probation and thus caused him to lead a regular and indus- 
trious life until he became too old to be held in the juvenile 

Advantages of Probation. In this connection attention 
should be called to certain features of probation which are 
apparently unknown to the general public. After a fine 
is paid the court loses all control of the culprit, no matter 
how unsatisfactory his conduct may be, until a new charge 
can be proved against him. If the boy is put on probation, 
it is not necessary to be able to prove the commission of a 
new offence against him in order to commit him, and if his 
general conduct is unsatisfactory, he can be surrendered 
at any time and committed. This gives the court a hold 
on the boy all the time he is on probation, which may be 
for months or years. Some police officers fully realize the 
advantage of probation in this respect and prefer probation 
to fines, saying that if they find a boy staying out late, 
keeping bad company, or acting suspiciously in any way, 
they can take him aside, remind him that he is on probation, 


and tell him that they must report him to the court unless 
he changes his habits. Moreover, probation with careful 
oversight such as can be given by the new court with its 
officers is very different from a mere permission for the 
boy to go free so long as he does not misbehave. Weekly 
reports for workers, Saturday morning reports for school 
boys, daily reports for loafers, are distinctly burdensome, 
as is shown in the case of one young man who told his 
mother that he wished the court would fine him and have 
done with it, so he would not be bothered with having to 
report at court. Indeed, it has its effect on parents who 
frequently say, ''Well, when is he going to get through with 
this coming to court!" and in one instance have said in 
open court, "I would rather pay a fine and get through 
with it and not be bothered with his coming down here all 
the time." 

Deterrent Effect of Commitment Overestimated. The 
experience of the last five years tends strongly to make one 
believe that the deterrent effect of commitment is greatly 
overestimated. More than half a dozen instances where 
boys brought to court for stealing had older brothers serv- 
ing sentences at that moment for the same offence go far 
to offset the force of the instances where it is alleged that 
the fining or commitment of a boy or two has been followed 
by the entire cessation for a long time of all disorder in a 
previously disorderly neighborhood. One of the greatest 
factors in the commonly assumed potency of the deterrent 
effect of commitment is shame. This factor is slight in 
the congested districts from which most of the court cases 
come. Arrests of children and men are of common occur- 
rence there. While the great majority of boys, even of 
congested districts, are wholly law abiding and hold aloof 
from lawlessness, law breaking is a common topic among a 
substantial number of boys, and in the minds of that num- 
ber there is no such thing as shame attending commitment ; 


most of them know boys who have returned from a reform 
school to as good a position among their companions as 
that previously held, or perhaps to a better position. 

Increase in Violations of Law by Juveniles in Suburban 
Districts'^ Would Be in no Wise Alarming for the following 
reasons : 

I. The number of children to the acre has greatly 
increased. One has only to look at the way every avail- 
able foot is covered with dwellings to realize this, without 
going out of the way to see the immense new school- 

H. The amount of time each child is in the street or 
away from home where is he likely to clash with the estab- 
lished social order is greatly increased in two ways. 

1. There is no place in the modern apartment for a 
waking child, and no yard outside it, so more of the 
free time of many children must be spent in the street 
or at any rate away from home. 

2. There are no chores to be done in apartments, 
so there is much more free time to spend. 

There is good reason to believe that the increase in viola- 
tions of law by children in the suburbs (so far as there is 
any increase) is due to the increased number of children 
and the increased amount of time they inevitably spend 
away from home rather than to any deterioration in the 
children's moral fibre, or even any decrease in the interest 
or vigilance of their parents. While parents might take 
better care of their children than they do to-day, it is very 
doubtful if they are taking less care than they used to, and 

*The Boston Juvenile Court has no jurisdiction over offences committed 
in any parts of the city other than the North, West and South Ends, and the 
Back Bay. Juveniles who offend in Dorchester, Roxbury, West Roxbury, 
Brighton, Charlestown, East Boston and South Boston are dealt with by the 
ordinary courts of those districts. 


the demand for playgrounds and publicly supervised play 
is as natural and inevitable a result of modern city housing 
as the demand for public water supply. 

Juvefiile Courts only Remedial Institutions. It should be 
borne in mind that the juvenile court at best bears only 
the same relation to delinquency that the consumptives* 
hospital bears to tuberculosis. In combating tuberculosis 
the most important agencies are those organized for its 
prevention. In combating delinquency there are many 
agencies much nearer the seat of the difficulty than the 
juvenile court. The court gets a child only after something 
has gone wrong. The church, the school, the settlement, 
all can do much to prevent anything going wrong at all. 
All agencies which make for better family life through 
better training of parents, better housing, better regulation 
of the liquor traffic, better conditions of work, all agencies 
which make for more suitable education and better facilities 
for play — all these are nearer to the heart of the difficulty 
than the court. The court can do comparatively little 
to avert first offences. When the other agencies reach the 
highest degree of efficiency, then we may look for a reduc- 
tion in the number of offences. 



In the spring of 191 3 Miss Marion Bennett, graduate 
student in probation of the School for Social Workers, 
made an investigation to find what happened after the end 
of probation in the cases of 83 boys who had saved money 
as a condition of probation for gambling. These boys had 
all been under the same probation officer and they were all 
the boys he had, prior to 19 12, on probation for gambling 
with the requirement of saving money. Their probation 
had ended all the way from five years to one year before 
the date of the investigation. All the boys who could be 
located were interviewed and a sufficient number of state- 
ments verified by inquiry at the savings banks to prove the 
general reliability of the answers. 

The results of this investigation are as follows: 

Number of boys found 67 

Number who had saved at some time subsequent to their probation. . . 33 

Number who were saving at date of investigation 22 

Number who had used their savings for necessaries 48 

Number who has used their savings for pleasure 9 











September i, iqii-August 31, 1916 


The Boston Juvenile Court completed its second five 
years on Aug. 31, 1916. During those five years 4,486 
different children were brought before the court, 3»65i 
were boys and 835 were girls. Of these children 3,829 
were delinquent or wayward and 667 neglected. Of the 
delinquent and wayward children, 3,332 were boys and 
487 were girls. 

The figures for the different years were as follows :* 

IQII-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 Total 

Delinquent Boys. . . , 859 

Delinquent Girls. ... 79 
Total Delinquent 

Children 938 

Neglected Children. 156 

* Adding the figures given in this table will give a total exceeding the real 
total of children brought before the court in the five years, because there are a 
number of instances of the same child being brought before the court in more 
than one year. Wayward children are included in this table. 




















1911-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 Total 

Assault and Battery 
(including i case of 
Manslaughter)... 54 98 76 72 43 343 

Robbery, Breaking 
and Entering, Lar- 
ceny, Receiving 
Stolen Property, 
Using V e h i c 1 e s 
without P e r m i s- 
sion. Forgery, and 
False pretenses. . . 464 515 553 480 421 2,433 

Fornication, Idle and 
Disorderly, Lewd 
Wanton and Las- 
civious, Rape (i 
case) Unnatural 
Acts, Exposure of 
Person, Obscene 
Pictures 25 26 31 16 19 117 

Stubborn Children 

and Runaways .. . 51 38 43 49 50 231 

Gambling 81 77 46 55 59 31S 

Drunkenness 8 3 6 2 3 22 

Miscellaneous Statu- 
tory Misdemean- 
ors (including 
Breaking Glass 
and other forms of 
Trespass, Loiter- 
ing at R. R. Sta- 
tions, Begging, 
Disturbing the 
Peace, etc.) 69 99 118 99 62 447 

Violation of City 
Ordinances, such 
as playing Ball in 
the street. Steal- 
ing Rides on cars, 
etc 116 134 200 100 67 617 

Violation of License 

Regulations 99 12 20 131^ 

Truancy 11 13 27 8 5 64^ 

Waywardness 33 52 23 34 29 17 1 

Violation of Proba- 
tion I 12 3 4 8 28 

Arson i i 

1,0133 1,0793 1,1263 q^qS y563 4,9233 

Neglect 156 179 123 137 75 670 

^ The great decrease in the number of complaints for violation of license 
regulations (there were 866 during the first five years period) was caused by the 
operation of the Boston Newsboys' Trial Board, established by the School 



1911-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 Total 

Assault and Battery 1833 15 

Larceny, etc 23 24 61 45 61 214 

Runaways, Immoral, 

etc 56 78 52 51 46 283 

Drunkenness i i i 3 

Truancy i 7 8 

Violation Ordinan- 
ces, etc 2 2 I 5 

84^ 112^ 124'' 102^ 108^ 584 

Neglect 77 80 68 74 38 337 

Committee on October i, 19 10, for the express purpose of dealing with viola- 
tions of license regulations by school children. The number of complaints re- 
corded -before the Newsboys' Trial Board during the five year period under 
consideration is as follows: 

1911-12 igi2-i3 1913-14 1914-15 igi5-i6 Total 
275 464 445 539 389 2,112 

2 A decrease from 267 for the first five year period. Judge Baker's Com- 
ments under this heading in his report for the first five years indicate 
the cause for what practically amounts to the elimination of truancy 
from the court docket. Had another written the paragraph on truancy 
he would surely have given Judge Baker himself much of the credit for the 
changed attitude toward the handling of truancy as an offense among children. 
It was perfectly patent to the disinterested observer that the new method 
inaugurated by Judge Baker for the handling of truants on probation was what 
aroused the School Department to greater activity in the way of suppressing 
truancy. The school teachers would probably be the first to sanction this 
statement. The practice before the Juvenile Court was established was to con- 
sider that when a child was brought to court he had had his probationary period 
and therefore was ripe for commitment. This is clearly indicated by the fact 
that 99, or 84%, of the 1 18 children brought before the former court for truancy 
the year before the establishment of the new court were committed. Judge 
Baker's method was to give the children a trial on probation in the court — a 
method which resulted in a very radical reduction in the number of commit- 
ments. The efforts of the schools therilselves to cure truancy without resort 
to the court proved so successful that it was decided that there was no longer 
need for a truant school. Accordingly the Parental School was abolished. 
Now truants must first be sent to a disciplinary day school before they can be 
complained of in the court for truancy. If they truant there they may be com- 
plained of in court and put on probation, or, if commitment is proved neces- 
sary, boys may be sent to the Suffolk School and girls to the State Board of 
Charity. As a matter of fact, it has never been found necessary to commit a 
girl for truancy in the Boston Juvenile Court. 

3 and 4 yj^g total causes for which children were brought to court in any year 
exceeds the number of children brought to court in that year, because in some 
instances the sam e child came in more than once during the year. 




Delinquent and Wayward Children Ordered Committed^ 

IQII-I2 IQ12-13 IQI3~I4 igi4-i5 1915-16 

Mass. Reformatory 

(boys) 3 2 I 

Ind. School for Boys, 

Shirley 26 24 49 20 13 

Suffolk School (boys) 21 19 12 11 4 

Lyman School (boys) 33 33 28 40 19 

Berkshire Ind. Farm 

(boys) « I I 

Parental School 5 2 

Ind. School for Girls 
at Lancaster 22 21 24 18 16 

Daly Ind. School 

(girls) e I 

House of Good Shep- 
herd (girls) « 8 12 9 12 8 

State Board of Char- 
ity 24 27 33 27 9 









142 139 157 129 71 638 

Neglected Children Ordered Committed 
IQII-12 IQ12-13 IQ13-14 IQ14-1S 1915-16 Total 
State Board of Char- 
ity and Trustees for 

Children of the 

City of Boston^ . . . 







Home for Destitute 

Catholic Children^ 







Home for Destitute 

Jewish Children^ . 








Number of Fines Imposed 



1913-14 1914-15 



Assault and Battery 




















Vio. Ordinances (inc. 

auto regulations) . . 







Violation License . . . 





Violation Probation . 

























Assault and Battery 



Vio. Ord 

Vio. License 

Vio. Prob 












IQII-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 
379 377 308 307 385 


1911-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 Total 
49 29 13 7 27 125 

^ In 72 instances appeals were taken from these orders to the Superior Court, 
and in most of these instances the Superior Court refrained from committing 
and placed the children on probation, or filed or nol prossed their cases. 

* The court has no authority to commit a child to any private institution, 
but in certain cases if parents prefer any private institution, the child is 
placed on probation, making it a condition of the probation that the child 
shall be placed in the institution desired and not taken out without the con- 
sent of the court. 

^ The cases of 15 of these children were appealed. 

^ Children are not permanently committed to this private institution but 
are placed in its care on continuance under Acts of 1903, chap. 334, sec. 3, 
subject to recall by the court at any time. 

' The falling off in the number of fines imposed is explained by the fact 
that in 1915 the practice was begun of xDrdering the payment of costs in lieu 
of fines in most instances in which a money penalty was deemed advisable. 
Thus from April to October, 19 15 costs were ordered in 57 cases, amounting 
to $121.87; and in 19 15-16 costs were ordered in 98 cases amounting to $266.98. 

^° The radical reduction in the number of children placed on probation (the 
total for the first five-year period was 2,646) is explained by the fact that many 
cases were disposed of by filing or the ordering of some money penalty rather 
than by placing the children on probation. This was done not because of any 
feeling that the children would not have been helped by probationary oversight, 
but because a more careful selection of those children to be placed on proba- 
tion was deemed necessary on account of the inadequate number of probation 
officers assigned to the court. 




There were on September i, 1916, 128 children who had 
defaulted and whose whereabouts where unknown; 79 of 
these were delinquent or wayward children, and 49 were 
neglected children. * 


Compilation of the ages in 2,184 cases of children 
brought to court for larceny and kindred offences in the 
five years gives (omitting fraction of a per cent) the fol- 
lowing percentages:* 

Years Per Cent 

Seven i 

Eight 3 

Nine 5 

Ten 8 

Eleven 8 

Years Per Cent 

Twelve 14 

Thirteen 13 

Fourteen. 15 

Fifteen 14 

Sixteen 17 

* Compared with the table of ages for the first five years, these per- 
centages indicate a greater number of little boys brought to court — one quarter, 
instead of one fifth, were under twelve years of age. This suggests that there 
is constant recruiting of the ranks of delinquent children among the younger 
ones, which is bound to go on until really effective constructive agencies for 
the safeguarding of children in the home and on the street are operative. 

Also it suggests, possibly, a recognition of the appropriateness of bringing 
little children into a juvenile court when it would not be considered appropriate 
to bring them into an adult criminal court. From this point of view, the 
bringing of more younger children to court is encouraging; for the earlier a 
child with delinquent tendencies is brought under the influences of that depart- 
ment organized for his protection, the greater the chances of success in cor- 
recting those tendencies. Whether the department organized for his protec- 
tion should be a part of the judicial machinery or of the school department is 
a question that has been much under discussion. 



Repeating in general. Of the 786 children who were 
found delinquent in the year 1911-12, 228, or 29%, were 
found deHnquent more than once during the five year 
period. The details are as follows: 

Two Three Four Five Six 

Times Times Times Times Times 

148 50 20 7 3 

Repeating offences other than violations of ordinances and 
license regulations. Of the 525 children found delinquent 
in the year 1911-12 for offences other than violation of 
ordinances and license regulations 148 or 28% were found 
delinquent more than once during the five year period for 
offences of that same restricted class. The details are as 
follows : 

Two Three Four Five 

Times Times Times Times 

98 29 15 6 

Repeating by children placed on probation. Of the 379 
children placed on probation the first year (1911-12) 143 
or 37% were either committed for failing on probation 
or were found delinquent again during the five years for 
some offence other than violation of ordinances or license 

* Of the children placed on probation, 326 were boys and 53 were girls; 136, 
or 41.7%, of the boys and 6, or 11.3%, of the girls were committed for failing 
on probation, or were found delinquent again in the five years for some offence 
other than the violation of ordinances or license regulations. 





Harvey H. Baker Died April 10, 191 5 

Frederick P. Cabot Appointed Feb. 5, 1916 

Special Justices 

Philip Rubenstein 

Frank Leveroni 

Charles W. M. Williams 
Probation Officers 

Roy M. Cushman 

Joseph Connolly 

John B. O'Hare 

John M. Kingman 

May a. Burke 

Jane E. Stone 

Agent of the Council of Jewish Women attending the court in 
the nature of a probation officer for Jewish children 
Katherine Weisman Resigned May 31, 191 2 

Kate R. Borovoy April i, 1911-May 31, 1913 
Lucy S. Sandberg Oct. i, 1912-May i, 19 14 
Edith B. Koff June i, 1913- 

Jane E. Stone July i, 1914-Sept. 30, 191 5 

Agent of the St. Vincent de Paul Society attending the 
court in the nature of a probation officer for Catholic girls 

Lillian F. Foss Resigned Oct. 31, 191 3 

Margaret Maher Nov. i, 1913-Jan. 31, 1914 

Agent of League of Catholic Women attending the court in 
the nature of a probation officer for Catholic girls 
May a. Burke Feb. i, 1914-Sept. 30, 1915 


Resigned Oct. 




I, 1911-Sept. 




I, 1912- 


I, 1915- 


I, 1915- 


I, 1915- 





The Boston Juvenile Court is administered on the 
assumption that the fundamental function of a juvenile 
court is to put each child who comes before it in a normal 
relation to society as promptly and as permanently as 
possible, and that while punishment is not by any means 
to be dispensed with, it is to be made subsidiary and sub- 
ordinate to that function, t 

The officials of the court believe it is helpful to think 
of themselves as physicians in a dispensary. The quarters 
of the court are well adapted in location and arrangement 
for carrying out that conception. Although they are in 
the main court house of the city, they are adjacent to the 
quarters of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Probate 
Court, in the portion of the building most remote from the 
criminal courts. They are in a quiet corner overlooking an 
interior quadrangle quite away from the notice of passers 
on the street or persons in the court house on other business. 
They comprise a large waiting room, 37 by 25I feet, where 
offenders and all other persons attending the court wait for 
the cases to be called, and the judge's small private room, 
17I by 12 J feet, where all cases are heard. There is no 
regular dock or detention enclosure connected with the 
general waiting room and the children usually sit with 
their parents in chairs placed along the sides of the room. 
Occasionally a boy who is under arrest and likely to yield 
to the temptation to leave without permission is placed 
behind the railing which keeps the general public at a 

* Reprinted by permission from the Survey of Feb. 5, 19 10. 

t "This act shall be liberally construed to the end . . . that as far as 
practicable (children) shall be treated, not as criminals, but as children in 
need of aid, encouragement and guidance. Proceedings against children under 
this act shall not be deemed to be criminal proceedings." Extract from the 
general law prescribing the method of dealing with juvenile offenders in all 
courts in Massachusetts (St. 1906, c. 413, §2). 



proper distance from the clerk and his papers, or a girl is 
placed with the stenographer in the probation officers' 
record room. There are no uniformed officials. 

The statute establishing the court provides that "so far 
as possible the court shall hear all cases in chambers" (St. 
1906, c. 489, §5) i.e., in the judge's private room. The 
judge's room cannot comfortably hold more than a dozen 
persons, and there are seldom that many in it together. 
It is entirely without decorations or objects which might 
distract the attention of a child. The presence of the 
clerk and stenographer is dispensed with, and the proba- 
tion officer is the only court attendant ever in the room. 
With the exception that the judge sits on a platform about 
six inches high, much like a school teacher's platform, there 
is no more formality of arrangement or attendance than 
there is in a physician's examination room. 

The statute establishing the court also provides that **all 
persons whose presence, in the opinion of the court, is not 
necessary shall be excluded from the room" (St. 1906, c. 
489, §5). Acting under this provision the judge excludes 
all newspaper reporters and all other persons having only 
a general interest in the proceedings. The sheltered loca- 
tion of the room, the absence of decoration, the dispensing 
with attendants and the exclusion of outsiders give the 
simplicity which is necessary to gain the undivided atten- 
tion of the child, and give the quiet which is indispensable 
for hearing clearly what the child says and speaking to him 
in the calmest tone. 

When the judge is ready to hear a case the probation 
officer brings in the child from the waiting room. The 
child does not stand in front of the desk, because that would 
prevent the judge from seeing the whole of him, and the 
way a child stands and even the condition of his shoes are 
often useful aids to a proper diagnosis of the case. The 
child stands at the end of the platform where the judge 
can see him from top to toe, and the judge sits near the 


end, so he is close to the child and can reassure him if 
necessary by a friendly hand on the shoulder. The plat- 
form is just high enough to bring the average child's eye 
about on a level with the eye of the judge. 

If it seems likely that the child will be inclined to hold 
back the truth about the affair which has brought him to 
court, the judge sometimes talks with him entirely alone, 
and frequently talks with him in the presence of no one but 
the probation officer. This is done to relieve the child of 
the embarrassment, and indeed the fear, which he often 
feels in speaking the truth in the presence of his parents. 

The judge always has the formal papers of the case in 
his hand, but, except in the few cases where a fine is likely 
to be imposed,* there is no formal reading of the complaint, 
and the child is not required to make any formal answer 
such as pleading "guilty" or "not guilty." The examina- 
tion varies in its details according to the nature of the case 
and the character of the child, but the following will give a 
general idea of the usual examination and adjudication: 

"John, do you know what you have been brought to 
court for?" 

"I suppose it is about Mrs. Doe's money." 

"What have you got to say about it?" 

" I took it, but it was the first time," etc. 

The attendance of at least one parent at court at the 
beginning of the case is of course always insisted on, and 
after the above conversation the parents and the police 
officer in charge of the case, and sometimes the aggrieved 
parties, are brought into the room, if they were not admitted 
with the boy, and the judge says: 

"John says it is true that he took Mrs. Doe's money and 
I adjudge him delinquent, and he has the right to appeal. "f 

* In Massachusetts regular criminal proceedings must be resorted to in 
order to impose a fine on a child (see St. 1906, c. 413, espc. §11). 

t The statutes of Massachusetts give the right of appeal to the Superior 
Court from all inferior courts, because the inferior courts cannot hold jury 


The police officer is then dismissed, the child sent out of 
the room, and the judge talks over the case with the parents 
and the probation officer; and the parents can thus be 
admonished, if admonishment is necessary, without the 
risk of lowering them in the estimation of the child and 
thereby further impairing their already insufficient control. 
Then the child is brought back and informed of the disposi- 
tion of his case, with such comments on his past behavior 
and such admonition or encouragement as seem appropriate. 

If the child denies the truth of the charge against him, 
the judge sometimes talks with him at considerable length, 
reasoning with him, but never threatening him or offering 
inducements to him directly or indirectly, or asking him to 
inform on other children unless they are much older than 
he. The child is told in the course of a free conversation 
between him and the judge that in this court there is only 
one thing worse than stealing (or whatever the child is 
supposed to have done), and that is not telling the truth 
about it afterwards; that children often keep back the 
truth because they are afraid, but nothing worse can happen 
to him if he tells the truth himself than will happen to him 
if the judge believes the officer and witnesses and gets the 
truth from them. He is asked if he is not keeping back 
the truth in the hope that so long as he denies it himself, 
his parents may refuse to believe the witnesses, and he may 
thus escape a whipping. He is asked (if he appears pretty 
intelligent) if he were the judge which he would believe, 
the witnesses or the boy, if the grown-up witnesses said one 
thing and the boy another. He is asked if his story seems 
to be reasonable; if the court is not treating him squarely 
to give him so full an opportunity to tell his story, and 
whether he is sure he is treating the court fairly. He is 

trials, and the right to trial by jury is provided for even in the cases of delin- 
quent children, because it is not clear that the commitment of children might 
not be held to be a deprivation of liberty which, under the Constitution of the 
Commonwealth and the Constitution of the United States, calls for a trial by 
jury. (See St. 1906, c. 413, §5-) 


asked if the boys don't say: ''Never confess when you are 
caught and the judge may be in doubt and let you off." 
He usually admits that that is the case, and he is told that 
it is true that he may get off that way this time, but that 
he cannot always succeed, and if later a court finds him 
acting that way in a case, it will go much harder with him. 

All these pains are taken to get the boy to tell the truth 
himself because it greatly enchances the efficacy of the 
subsequent treatment of the case, first, because the child is 
much more receptive to the advances of the judge and pro- 
bation officers after he has confided in them, and second, 
because his parents are much more ready to accept the 
intervention of the judge and probation officers and coop- 
erate with them when the child admits his fault, for they are 
apt to be quite unwilling to accept the statements of the 
witnesses against the child's denial, and so long as they 
believe in the child they regard the judge as a tyrant and 
the probation officer as an intruder. 

If the child persists in denying his delinquency, his par- 
ents and the police officer are brought in, and the case is 
heard in the ordinary way (except that only one witness is 
in the room at a time), but at a hearing conducted under 
such circumstances as those described above shy children 
talk more freely than in public and bold children cannot 
pose as heroes. 

It should be added that offenders brought before the 
juvenile court have just as much right to be represented by 
counsel as offenders brought before any other court. This 
right is fully recognized, and when counsel has entered an 
appearance no step is taken without consulting him, and 
he may conduct the case in the same way in which he would 
conduct it in any other court, although in most instances 
even counsel who are the most technical in other courts 
actually cooperate with the judge of the juvenile court in 
trying to make parents understand that the court is only 
seeking to do what is for the best interest of the child in the 


long run, and in persuading them to submit to the orders of 
the court. 

In determining the disposition to be made of the case 
the procedure of the physician is very closely followed. 
The probation officer investigates the case and reports to 
the judge all available information about the family and 
other features of the environment of the boy, the boy's 
personal history at home, in school, at work, and on the 
street, and the circumstances attending the particular 
outbreak which got him into court. The boy himself is 
scrutinized for indications of feeble-mindedness or physical 
defects, such as poor eyesight, deafness, adenoids. The 
judge and probation officer consider together, like a physi- 
cian and his junior, whether the outbreak which resulted in 
the arrest of the child was largely accidental, or whether it 
is habitual or likely to be so; whether it is due chiefly to 
some inherent physical or moral defect of the child, or 
whether some feature of his environment is an important 
factor; and then they address themselves to the question 
of how permanently to prevent the recurrence. If there 
is any reason to believe the child is feeble-minded, he is 
submitted to a specialist; if there are indications of physi- 
cal defects, he is taken to a dispensary; if the environment 
seems to be at fault, a change is secured through the par- 
ents by making them realize that the child will be taken 
from them if they do not make the change, or where the 
parents are unable to make the change or are themselves 
the disturbing factor the child is taken away by the court. 
Of course the court does not confine its attention to just 
the particular offence which brought the child to its notice. 
For example, a boy who comes to court for some such trifle 
as failing to wear his badge when selling papers may be 
held on probation for months because of difficulties at 
school; and a boy who comes in for playing ball in the 
street may (after the court has caused more serious charges 
to be preferred against him) be committed to a reform 


school because he is found to have habits of loafing, stealing 
or gambling which cannot be corrected outside. 

Only a very small portion of the children are committed 
to institutions, and in the treatment of the very large num- 
ber who are suffered to remain at home the procedure of 
the physician is again closely followed. If the child's fault 
is not due to any deep seated difficulty and is trifling in its 
character, such as throwing stones in the street, he may 
be sent home to copy an eight-page pamphlet containing 
extracts from the ordinances regulating the use of streets 
and laws which children are likely to violate, and the judge 
sees him only once more, to examine him on his work when 
it is finished, just as a physician might do in the case of a 
burn or a bruise. If the offence is serious and likely to be 
repeated or the conditions surrounding the boy are such 
that he is liable to have a serious breakdown or if the cause 
of the difficulty is obscure, he is seen by the judge at fre- 
quent intervals, monthly, weekly, or sometimes even daily, 
just as with the patient and the physician in case of tuber- 
culosis or typhoid. 

While much stress is laid by the judge and probation 
officers on the analogy of their work to that of the physi- 
cian, they fully appreciate that the analogy is not perfect, 
and they modify their procedure and treatment accordingly. 
The patient attends the dispensary of his own volition and 
is under no obligation to follow the prescription, while the 
offender is compelled to come to court and obeys the orders 
of the officials on pain of the Joss of his liberty for disregard- 
ing them. This makes it essential, in order to avoid any 
appearance of star chamber proceedings, that greater 
latitude be allowed in admitting persons to the judge's 
"chambers" than in admitting persons to the physician's 
examination room ; and while reporters and private citizens 
having only a general interest in the proceedings are 
excluded the judge freely admits public officials interested 
in the preservation of law and order, trustees and officers of 


reform schools, school masters, officers of private societies 
deaUng with children, clergymen and social workers, taking 
care, however, not to have more than one or two present 
at a time. Of course there is the important additional rea- 
son for admitting many of the visitors just mentioned, that 
they can greatly increase the efficiency of the work of the 
court by bringing to bear on it fresh minds and new points 
of view, and the judge takes advantage of this by confer- 
ences with the observers in intervals between cases and 
after the hearings are over. Even the mere presence of 
such visitors in reasonable numbers modifies and tempers 
wholesomely the attitude and action of the judge. 

Furthermore, morals enter more largely and directly 
into the work of the court than into the work of the dispen- 
sary, and therefore it seems desirable to create deliberately 
to some extent an atmosphere of seriousness and solemnity 
in the proceedings. The quietness of the location, the 
plainness of the room, the small number of persons present 
and the judge's platform all contribute to this end. Then 
again it is probably in the interest of efficiency that the fact 
of the court being a department of public authority and 
having power to compel compliance should be indicated 
distinctly (though not so obtrusively as to overawe or 
seriously embarrass) especially where many of those who 
attend the court are ignorant, and for that reason children 
and parents are usually kept standing while talking with 
the judge. The platform contributes to this purpose also. 

The physician never causes his patient pain if he can 
help it, indeed he is constantly directing his attention to the 
avoidance of that incident of treatment. The judge and 
the probation officers, on the other hand, from time to 
time deliberately cause the child discomfort, because the 
discomfort of punishment affords in some cases an indis- 
pensable stimulus or moral tonic which cannot be supplied 
in any other way. The most serious form of pure punish- 
ment to which the court resorts is the confinement of the 


child and his separation from his home for a brief .period. 
Occasionally arrangements are made with parents to con- 
fine children at home or give them corporal punishment. 
School boys are from time to time required to spend parts 
of holidays or vacations copying laws or other appropriate 
matter in the probation officers' record room under charge 
of the stenographer. Fines are sometimes imposed for 
violation of probation or for the repetition of minor offences, 
and made payable in installments out of the child's spend- 
ing money.* The punishments thus administered are 
always considered by the court as subsidiary and incidental 
to its main function of putting the child right, and they are 
not given for retribution or example. 

It is recognized, however, that, while in most cases the 
public interest is best served by doing what is best for the 
individual, there are instances of offences committed under 
such circumstances as to come to the attention of a large 
number of young people where an example may be more 
efficacious, and in such cases punishment pure and simple 
is summarily inflicted. 

Little emphasis has been laid in the course of this descrip- 
tion on the analogy of the function of the judge and pro- 
bation officers to that of parents, because it is believed that 
the analogy of the physician is more thoroughgoing. The 
judge and probation officers in most cases of children on 
probation take the parental attitude to a very great extent, 
but on reducing the proposition to its lowest terms it will 
be recognized that the officials of the court must always 
have in mind that the court is in its essence a remedial 
agency, like a hospital ; that there is something the matter 
in or around the child, else he would not have come to their 
attention ; that it is their business to discover and remove 
or counteract that something; that while in many cases 

* It is found that most children, even though their parents are very poor, 
have from ten to fifteen cents a week to spend for pleasure. Of course it is 
only the children who are earning something who have the larger amounts. 


service like that of parents is what is needed to effect the 
cure, it is not always the lack of proper parental care that 
causes the trouble, and they must in all cases work toward 
the end of discharging the child as soon as there is reason- 
able assurance that he can take care of himself or can be 
adequately cared for unofficially. 

In addition to the foregoing statement of the general 
course of procedure of the court, there are some further 
statements which must be given to make the account 

The cases of girls are handled from the very beginning 
by women and the men probation officers have nothing to 
do with them, except to make sure in cases of arrest that 
the girls are promptly turned over to an accredited woman 
agent or their parents. If a girl is arrested, a woman is at 
once called by the probation officer to the police station to 
take her in charge, unless her parents arrive promptly and 
are considered fit to hold her until court opens again. When 
she comes into the judge's chamber she is attended by a 
woman, who remains constantly in attendance throughout 
the examination. The judge never talks with girls alone 
as he sometimes does with boys. If a girl is committed to 
an institution she is taken by a woman. The court has no 
women probation officers and all the services in the girls' 
cases are performed by the women agents of the Massa- 
chusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 
the Boston Children's Aid Society, the Council of Jewish 
Women, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Boston 
Italian Immigrant Society. After a girl's case has been 
heard she is kept away from the court as much as possible, 
and is not brought to court to report during a term of pro- 
bation except in cases of conduct requiring very serious 

The cases commonly called in Massachusetts ''neglect" 
cases, and called in other jurisdictions cases of ''improper 
guardianship" and the like, although intimately connected 
with the causes of juvenile delinquency are not very closely 


related to the procedure in cases of juvenile delinquency, 
because so far as procedure is concerned the court has little 
contact with the children in neglect cases. The judge sees 
the children for a moment at the beginning of the case, 
and they are dismissed from his room before the evidence 
of the parental unfitness is given, as the proceedings are 
virtually against the parents. The hearings are private 
in these cases as well as in the ordinary cases of juvenile 
offenders, and this privacy is most useful in the many con- 
ferences which are held by the judge with parents and 
relatives as to the proper adjustment of the cases. 

The court avails itself very often of outside assistance in 
other instances than those already mentioned, and there 
are fifty different departments, institutions and agencies to 
which the court frequently turns for help in conducting or 
disposing of cases. 

No handcuffs or similar devices are used on any boy by 
any officer of the court. 

Although an account of probation, which is the most 
important part of the court's work, is not germane to the 
subject of this article, it is desirable to give some informa- 
tion about the probation officers, for they are the sole 
executive officers of the court, there being no deputy 
sheriffs, constables, or other court officers of any descrip- 
tion attached to it. Indeed, the probation officers are the 
arms and, to a great extent, the ears, eyes and brains of 
the court in delinquent cases. 

The ideal probation officer ^should have all the consecra- 
tion of the devoted clergyman, all the power to interest and 
direct of the efficient teacher, and all the discernment of 
the skilful physician. Two salaried probation officers are 
provided by law. They are appointed by the judge and 
hold office during his pleasure. The judge is unrestricted 
in his power of appointment and removal. One officer 
takes care of the delinquent children living north of the 
court house, the other of the children living south of the 
court house. Each investigates the cases of delinquent 


children from his own territory, and attends to those cases 
in all proceedings in court. They each investigate about 
350 cases a year, and supervise on probation about 150 
children at a time. In addition to the regular probation 
officers there is a paid agent of the Council of Jewish 
Women who gives all her time to the court. She is for prac- 
tical purposes a third probation officer and does as much 
work as a regular officer. Even including this agent the 
number of officers is not by any means so large as it 
should be to give adequate service. 

There is no regular corps of volunteer probation officers, 
meaning by ''volunteers" persons not receiving pay for 
their services from any source, public or private. How- 
ever, a great deal of unpaid assistance is enlisted by the 
probation officers in probation cases, the helper being 
usually some relative, friend, neighbor or clergyman of the 
family, who acts under the supervision of the probation 

Offenders do not come to this court after they are 
seventeen years old. 

The court does not deal with cases from all parts of the 
city. It has jurisdiction only over those cases which arise 
in the central parts commonly known as the North, West 
and South Ends, and the Back Bay. These comprise the 
most congested districts of the city, and the greater portion 
of its immigrant population. The number of children 
brought before the court during the year ending August 31, 
1909, was 1,448. 

It must be borne in mind that this account is not intended 
to be a complete account of the work of the court, or even 
of the most important features of the work. For example, 
there is nothing about probation, which is the most impor- 
tant part of the work with delinquent children. It is 
intended to cover only the ''procedure" of the count, 
which means the conduct of the cases by the judge and the 
other court officials in the court house. 



By William Healy and Augusta F. Bronner 

To attempt understanding of success or failure through 
analysis of the causes which lie beneath is the practical 
scientific procedure today in many fields. In various 
departments of the business world, in modern agriculture, 
in all sorts of industries, in making our army efficient and, 
of course, existing as the very backbone of scientific method 
the study of causation has proved itself of commanding 

Understanding must be the scientific watchword, too, 
in all intelligent effort toward solving the problems of 
conduct and mental life. These problems always involve 
reactions, interplay, the response of the individual's mind 
and body to his given world. Such reactions call for 
interpretation of both human nature and environment. 

It is only a step toward understanding response or reac- 
tion when conduct and mental performance are known 
merely by such facts as can be gleaned through ordinary 
inquiry. Nor is adequate understanding of conduct 
achieved even when the mental and physical status of the 
individual is determined by special investigation, highly 
important though this may be. Real understanding in 
nearly every case requires much more, it involves knowl- 
edge of the interplay of causes, of the more or less hidden 
aspects of personality and motive and experience that have 
been impelling forces in the social behavior in question. 

The fact is that if you would know your young human 
being, the person still in the formative period, who is not 
doing well and would understand his behavior, you must 
be willing to go beneath superficial manifestations and 



make inquiry into what underlies readily visible character 
and conduct. Nothing is any surer in this field than that 
there is much more under the surface than appears on top 
and that what seems to he is often not at all a true picture 
of what really is. A multitude of illustrations might be 
given in evidence : important bodily diseases or weaknesses 
may not be apparent upon inspection; mental defect or 
aberration may not be betrayed by features or expression 
or by response in ordinary conversation — nor does a dull- 
appearing face always betoken a dullard's mind; capabili- 
ties most important for the individual's welfare are often 
unrecognized; significant habits may not be more than 
barely suggested to even an expert observer; the parents 
may not be aware of whole regions in their child's mental 
life which are absolutely determining factors for conduct; 
companionships and interests and ideas and "sore spots" 
which are vital centers for engendering misbehavior may 
not be in the least brought out by ordinary interrogatories 
at home or elsewhere. 

That such matters of deepest concern to the young indi- 
vidual, the family and to society may be understood, a 
technical study must be undertaken. This demands a 
thoroughly sympathetic attitude and a patient gathering 
of facts from the points of view of relatives as well as from 
the individual in question. It requires a summing up and 
interpretation of findings and facts with due regard to their 
interrelationships and comparative values. 

A boy, for example, comes with the common charges, 
truancy and stealing on the street, held against him. Met 
in a friendly spirit, impressed by our desire to be coopera- 
tively helpful, the boy and his parents soon themselves 
mirror this attitude. The latter tell us that their boy 
steals frequently from home. After patient gathering of 
necessary data we discuss these for our summary: Exami- 
nation shows diseased tonsils and several decayed teeth; 


are they, bad though they are for his health, any factor in 
his delinquency? Has the father's periodic drinking any- 
thing to do with the boy's misbehavior? Is the fact that 
he evidently has a special defect for arithmetic the cause 
of his truancy? (After we find by testing that this defect 
exists he tells us of his peculiar nervousness in his class in 
number work.) 

But going further — the boy being encouraged to talk 
freely of his interests and troubles — we learn of his earliest 
truancies in company with an older delinquent, who with 
him spent money which had been unlawfully obtained at 
home and who introduced him to the thrilling art of steal- 
ing on the street and who on the same occasions made him 
most unfortunately acquainted with other matters which, 
he tells us, his mind has never been free from since. He 
reasons out with us that his home seems good to him and 
that the hold which misconduct has upon him is due to 
school dissatisfaction and to his impulses derived from the 
effect of recurrent memories of what he learned from the 
boy whom he accompanied on those early excursions. Can 
there be any doubt that the overt facts — teeth and tonsils 
and drinking father — in this case do not form the real 
causation and that adjustments should be made which 
shall meet the boy's deeper needs. Unadjustment has 
already for long led to his repetition of offense, but 
adjustment probably will lead to success, for we know of 
many similar instances in which appropriate measures of 
treatment have successfully, altered the tendencies to 

Or a boy or girl comes accompanied by the report of 
failure in school to the extent that the pupil is considered 
an out-and-out defective. Do we discover previously 
overlooked disabilities of eyesight or hearing that might 
account for nonacquirement of school knowledge? Or 
does an investigation of physical conditions indicate a 


cause for extreme mental lethargy? Or is there indulgence 
in bad habits of any kind that might greatly deplete mental 
energy? By testing is there to be found any proof of 
general mental defect, or is some peculiar disability in a 
specialized field responsible for backwardness? We have 
found just such unrecognized specific hindrances to educa- 
tional advancement and we have known remarkable 
instances of great alteration in the social and educational 
situation of the individual following upon relief of the 
sensory disability or treatment of the physical condition 
or habit. And use of a method of teaching especially 
adapted to the special type of learning disability or to 
compensating abilities as unearthed by psychological test- 
ing proves in appropriate cases of very great value. 

The chain of causal events and the separate links in the 
chain are of intense interest to the student of the problem 
and are items of great practical import. Here, for instance, 
is one sequence showing a few of the many variabilities 
to be found in different cases: 

Stealing — led up to by association with bad companions. 

Association with bad companions — made possible through street life. 

Street life — resulting from truancy. 

Truancy — caused by school dissatisfaction. 

School dissatisfaction — arising from lack of interest in unsuitable 

school work. 
Unsuitability of school work — the resultant of demotion. 
Demotion — a disciplinary measure for misbehavior in school. 
Misbehavior in school — the expression of the activity of a supernormal 
boy (who was already in a grade too low for him). 

The Judge Baker Foundation came into existence to 
render exactly this sort of service, to look beneath externals 
and, attempting to meet the needs in particular situations, 
to go as far as may be practically possible in understanding 
the personality and problems of young individuals whose 
conduct or mental life is not in accord with the norms of 


Judge Baker himself saw clearly, as may be read in his 
report, that the next step in juvenile court work must be 
to try to get at the facts which are really fundamental in 
a diagnostic sense before prescribing and carrying out 
treatment along any lines. The value of the court taking 
the parental attitude in handling young offenders, the 
necessity of separating them for this from adults had long 
ago been perceived, and then came the framing of a juve- 
nile court law. Juvenile court procedure and technic, to 
which Judge Baker made such a notable contribution, of 
necessity must have been developed next. But few of the 
ideals of practical accomplishment can ever be realized 
without reaching out for the diagnostic issues which alone 
contain the germs of success. 

It is not that the inquiry starts from the premise that 
any particular type of trouble in all likelihood will be found 
forming the causative background — neither adenoids, 
feeblemindedness, degeneracy, original sin, smoking, or 
anything else that has been stressed by enthusiasts for 
reform of the world. Any one or more of hundreds of 
conditions, experiences, or habits may be involved. The 
individual must come as an unknown quantity and 
it is in confessed ignorance of the true underlying 
facts that one begins properly and patiently to find 

One who would understand must first lay aside the nat- 
ural preconception that the boy is simply a small man, 
the girl a small woman, and consequently subject to the 
same interpretations of behavior impulses and tendencies 
as the adult. Now, as a matter of fact, the whole of modern 
child-study is built up on the definite findings that children 
do differ from their elders in much more than in matters of 
quantity or size. It is not a question of gradual growth. 
There are distinctions which represent totally different 
attitudes, appreciations, and points of view. Knowing the 


adult does not mean knowing these younger ones, as if 
they were merely the same in lesser degree. 

And that children are alike enough to be pigeonholed 
into a few general classifications is another preconception 
to be given up. We particularly would insist that the 
differences between children, even of the same age, are 
immense and are vitally important to know for their 
successful moral or educational treatment. There are 
essential variations in emotional tendencies, intelligence, 
habits, experiences, and physique. If, without recogni- 
tion of what these have meant and what they portend 
judgment is rendered on the individual, such judgment is 
absolutely shallow. 

A rational study of human differences must always 
include the grading up that corresponds to the best possi- 
ble accomplishment, as well as the grading down that 
follows discovery of innate disabilities. Both sides of the 
shield need to be known for a practical diagnosis. Partic- 
ularly do we need to discover latent potentialities in all 
cases, even those with well defined physical or mental 
defects. This being fair to the whole make-up of the 
individual is a matter of social import, of the child getting 
the best chance to develop into a happy, nondelinquent, 
self-sustaining adult life. The loss to the person who is 
baulked in enjoying the full measure of his mental birth- 
right is only to be measured by the loss which, through the 
failure, is sustained by society. 

After a fairminded study has been made of the young 
person, recommendations are necessarily in order if the 
work done is to achieve results. These include, of course, 
the widest variety of suggestions; it may be that we sug- 
gest farm life and placing in another family, or continuance 
in the home circle with better confidences and different 
mental interests, or some surgical operation, or special 
educational training or more physical exercise to take care 


of dangerous superabundant energy, or institutional life, 
or any of hundreds of other possibilities for the individual. 
As the mental, the physical, and the social aspects of the 
case have to be studied, so they all must have their place 
in recommendations and treatment. Conclusions have to 
be clearly stated, conferences and counsellings have to be 
conducted and repeated, and gauges taken of the successes 
or failures of the measures set in action. 

What definitely has to be undertaken in the way of 
curative or preventive treatment by the State or by welfare 
organizations is inevitably costly and it is the part of shrewd 
wisdom to have the expenditure of time, effort and money 
as well directed as possible. The cost of such diagnostic 
and advisory effort as we indicate is as nothing in com- 
parison to the cost of an unmodified career of failure or 
misconduct and appears very slight by the side of actual 
outlays for unadapted therapeutic measures frequently 
carried on unsuccessfully over months or years of time. 

The minimum study that any of our problem cases 
deserves requires considerable time and the tests used must 
be of a range sufficient to bring out possible capabilities and 
adaptabilities of various practical sorts as well as to grade 
according to age-level or so-called intelligence scales. To 
this must be added a survey of the physical needs and 
capacities in general as well as in the special sensory fields. 

Then the significance of the characteristics of many 
individuals cannot be known without acquiring informa- 
tion about their development in earlier periods of life, so 
this has to be gone into with care, as well as facts of heredity 
which may have bearing. It is never safe to omit inquiry 
about peculiar social or mental experiences, either, or any 
influences which may have counted in formation of the 
tendencies or traits which are under question. And a side 
of mental life which is too often forgotten by psychologist 


in sketching estimations and superficially developed prog- 
noses must never be overlooked. This has particularly to 
do with the dynamic qualities of the mind and their rela- 
tion to conduct. It is to be remembered that there are 
sometimes blockings, irritations, dissatisfactions, sorenesses 
which cause grudges, lack of normal inhibitions, subcon- 
sciously active tendencies to shunt off into misconduct the 
emotional effects of unfortunate experiences ; as well as the 
opposites — freedom of expression of mental life, happiness 
in the output of good effort, buoyancy and the like. 

As a matter of first statement from the Judge Baker 
Foundation — it is fully expected that later there will be 
forthcoming rather elaborate studies of the meanings hid- 
den in this material — it may be said that during the two 
years of its existence 1200 cases have been studied. The 
treatment to follow the first diagnosis has been discussed 
with those responsible for setting in action reconstructive 
social processes. But this does not end the matter, of course. 
What would one think of a physician who, called in to a 
case, diagnoses a malady as typhoid fever, let us say, gives 
some advice about treatment, but never returns for further 
observations of complications, progress of the case or needs 
for other treatment. In a practical spirit already much 
critical supervisory follow-up work has been done on a 
large number of our cases. 

It has been possible to extend our services in this way 
and to this number through the intense devotion of our 
staff to the work in hand. But our measure of achieve- 
ment has been possible only through the warm cooperation 
of the judge and other officers of the court, of officials of 
welfare organizations, and of individual workers to whom 
the chance of making a more effectual effort has appealed. 
Nothing has been more delightful and helpful than our 
relations with these fine-spirited people. 


We find that problems are being brought from ever- 
widening circles and that there is more and more inquiry 
concerning pre-court cases — in fact, the question is some- 
times asked whether the individual ought to be brought 
into court. And then it is of no small interest to note that 
often, stimulated by the rationality of the study of their 
child, parents arouse to a more intelligent attitude — proved 
even to the extent of their bringing other problem members 
of the family to be studied. Through all this the demands 
upon the Foundation are steadily growing. 

We now have one scholarship contributed for the purpose 
of giving expert training; opportunities also have been 
given over varying periods to specially qualified students 
to gain insight into special aspects of our problems and 
methods. We are occasionally able to extend our services 
for teaching and in the future we hope our facilities will be 
developed further in this direction. 


40 Court St., Boston, Mass. 

President Frederick P. Cabot 

Secretary Roy M. Cushman 

Treasurer Charles L. DeNormandie 


The above Officers and Mrs. Jessie D. Hodder 

Miss Edith N. Burleigh Judge Frank Leveroni 
Dr. Walter E. Fernald *Dr. James J. Putnam 
Judge Philip Rubenstein 

Managing Director William Healy, M. D. 

Assistant Managing Director KvGVSTK F. Bronner, Ph. D. 
Case Sociologist Margaret Fitz Barnes 

Assistant Psychologist Viola J. Rottenberg 

Holder of Federated Jewish Charities Scholarship in Applied 

May Bere, 1917-19 
Dorothy Morgenthau, 19 19- 

Student assistants from School of Social Work 

*Died Nov. 4, 191 8. 



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