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Full text of "Jailbait; the story of juvenile delinquency"

THIS BOOK bares the truth about one 
of America's gravest problems. Covering 
the field of child crime and vice, it re- 
ports on gang degeneracy schoolgirl 
scandal teen-age "rackets" and prosti- 
tution. It dramatically presents the 
shocking facts about deliquency, togeth- 
er with a new and penetrating theory of 
its origins. Significant remedies are sug- 
gested, in line with the psychological 
and sociological environment of today. 
Here are disclosures to wake up Amer- 
ican parents! Few realize the extent to 
which degradation grips a good part of 
the youth of this country not only in 
underprivileged urban areas, but also 
among the girls and boys of our small 
towns and farmlands. The author re- 
veals frankly the traps and pitfalls which 
beset children and adolescents of both 
sexes; he shows the "escapes," the psy- 
chological quirks, the maladjustments 
which, too often neglected, lead youth 
into trouble. He shows the seductive in- 
fluence of criminal elements preying on 
America's children. In short, he brings 
the whole question of juvenile delin- 
quency into the open, where it belongs! 

(Continued on back flap) 



From the collection of the 



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Jailbait 



THE STORY OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY 



by WILLIAM BERNARD 




GREENBERG : PUBLISHER New York 



Copyright 1949, by GREENBERG: PUBLISHER, a corporation. 

Published in New York by GREENBERG: PUBLISHER and simul- 
taneously in Toronto, Canada by AMBASSADOR BOOKS, LTD. 

All rights reserved under International and Pan American Copy- 
right Conventions. 



Manufactured in the United States of America 
by THE COLONIAL PRESS INC. 

Designed by FAY TRAVERS 



To Davey W , who made it all the way back. 



Note 



All case histories cited in these pages are authentic, though 
names, places, and other identifying characteristics are generally 
disguised. 

The author wishes to acknowledge the cooperation of various 
Federal and state agencies, and to thank the many workers in the 
child welfare field who have given access to confidential material. 



Contents 



1. STATISTICS OF SIN 1 

2. THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 8 

3. SCHOOL SCANDAL 21 

4. VICE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS 35 

5. THOU SHALT NOT KILL 46 

6. ST. PAUL AND STEALING 67 

7. GREEN GROW THE GANGS 87 

8. SEX EXPLORATION 103 

9. HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 119 

10. CRADLES OF CRIME 139 

11. UNREFORMED "REFORM" 154 

12. ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 178 

13. WHOSE BLAME? 190 

14. WHOSE SHAME? 206 



1 



Statistics of Sin 



WHILE THE COPS WERE PULLING HER OUT OF THE PROWL 
car, kicking and screaming like a hurt animal, 14-year-old Nanette 
tore her stockings. Her only nylons. Gossamer badges, in her own 
eyes, of freedom and adulthood. It didn't matter that her legs 
were too skinny to fill the things, that they curled and rolled 
limply around her adolescent thighs. She had worked for them, 
hard. With them to indicate professional status, to hint of culti- 
vated technique and experience at collecting for same, she could 
now demand a dollar, even two. In fact, she had been busily em- 
barked on her first venture at the new rates when members of the 
vice squad had so rudely broken into the hotel room. 

"You can put her down now, officer," the desk sergeant said. 
"I've sent for a policewoman." 

"Watch out for this kid!" The officer's wrist streamed blood 
where Nanette's nails had gashed deeply. 

"You could have stopped to dress her." 

"She threw everything but those stockings out the window. 
She was fixin' to jump after 'em, but I : 

"No guy?" 

"Two. Both over fifty. Found one hiding in the shower bath. 
The other was . . . say, you'd be surprised! Had to let 'em go." 

The desk sergeant wearily made notations and shooed the cops 
out of the station room. Nanette's child-blue eyes sought his. 

"Put this on, kid." A heavy black police shirt supplanted the 

1 



2 JAILBAIT 

ripped bedsheet wrapped around her. "How did you get into the 
hotel?" 

"Just walked upstairs. They told me their room number. You 
don't think I'm dumb enough to use the elevator!" Nanette's eyes 
returned to the torn stockings drooping over her calves. A dollar 
and thirty-nine cents! She started to cry. 

Impulsively, the sergeant stepped down from his desk to con- 
sole the child. Nanette looked up at him. With desperate inspira- 
tion she slid an arm halfway around his sturdy middle. 

"Listen! For a dollar and thirty-nine cents, I'll well, any- 
thing only a dollar thirty-nine " 

The sergeant had had a hard day. He felt a surge of warm, 
guilty passion. 

Then, more angry at himself than at the child, he slapped her 
across the mouth. "You little slut!" 

Nanette is a juvenile delinquent. 

She stands for sin, but whose sin? Whose shame? No one knows, 
exactly. 

Experts disagree more than they agree concerning the origins of 
delinquency. No man can say for sure who or what is responsible 
for it. 

But this much is certain. Forty thousand like Nanette will go to 
reform schools this year. 

Other hundreds of thousands will brush with the police, be rep- 
rimanded, locked up, paroled, suspended, dismissed, remanded in 
custody of parents, foster homes and sectarian institutions. 

That "hundreds of thousands" is pretty vague. Because we 
simply do not know! We have exact enough information on the 
bushels of wheat or tons of pig iron produced each year, but 
the nation's crop of Nanettes is considered less important. Its size 
has never been accurately calculated. 

From the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor comes 
the estimate that for every child delinquent who actually comes 
to the attention of the police, perhaps ten remain uncaught. Well, 
in a typical post-war year, roughly 100,000 delinquency cases are 
handled by juvenile courts reporting to the Children's Bureau. On 



STATISTICS OF SIN 3 

this basis, the number of boys and girls annually guilty of delin- 
quent behavior cannot be less than a million! 

Now there are, between the ages of ten and eighteen, some 
twenty million Americans. Does this mean that one child in 
twenty is a delinquent? That one American child in twenty has 
committed a crime or definitely fallen below accepted minimum 
standards of conduct? No one has a reliable answer. 

We are not even sure of the number arrested in any given year. 
"When we talk about children held in detention in the United 
States, we do not know what we are talking about . . . The only 
figures we have are estimates," says official Washington. And no 
accurate check on how many youngsters are in reform institutions 
has ever been made except once in 1942, by the Connecticut 
Public Welfare Council. At that time, Connecticut held 76 chil- 
dren in such institutions for every 10,000 in the population. If, as 
the Children's Bureau surmises, ten young offenders go free for 
every one detected, does it follow that one child out of thirteen or 
fourteen in that state was a delinquent? We cannot be positive. 
The only thing certain is that as in Connecticut, so the country 
over. The amount of delinquency was then, and is now, frighten- 
ingly large and growing larger. 

One difficulty in getting precise knowledge of the delinquent 
lies in the lack of any central clearing house for information. Both 
the F.B.I, and the Children's Bureau try to fill the bill, but not all 
juvenile courts and police bureaus report to them. Nor do the 
reports observe uniform statistical standards. Some courts list 
truancy offenses, say, as delinquency; others do not. Many fail to 
report "unofficial" cases delinquents helped without formal re- 
course to law, but bona fide delinquents just the same. 

Further, confusion exists with respect to the terms themselves. 
Who is a "juvenile"? What is a "delinquent"? The Connecticut 
survey and others characterize as juvenile any boy or girl up to 
twenty-one. This book does likewise, though emphasis shall be 
on boys below eighteen and girls below seventeen. As for delin- 
quency, some authorities use it to cover only offenses actually re- 
corded by police or courts. Others include minor misbehaviors 
with which no self-respecting policeman would ordinarily be both- 



4 JAILBAIT 

ered, such as tieing a can to Fido's tail or stealing candy from a 
baby. Here the word shall be used to refer both to offenses caus- 
ing action by police, court or welfare authorities and those which 
would cause such action were they detected. 

In general, people sense accurately enough the meaning of 
"juvenile delinquent"; broadly it applies to any boy or girl who 
gets "in trouble." But it must be borne in mind that "delin- 
quency" is only a nicer word for crime, for transgression against 
society. 



Juvenile delinquents have always been with us. They have been 
with all societies. But the problem did not seem to reach really 
alarming proportions in the United States until the beginning of 
World War II. 

Up to 1939 there had been hope that we were successfully cop- 
ing with delinquency. But at that time the slow downward trend 
of the previous decade sharply reversed itself. By 1943, all the 
barriers and defenses against child crime so painfully developed 
over the years seemed to have utterly broken down. Delinquency 
leaped forty percent above the ten-year pre-war average, and in 
many localities soared even higher than that. J. Edgar Hoover 
of the F.B.I, proclaimed, "It is approaching a national scandal." 

During the first nine months of 1943, arrests of children aged 
seventeen and younger rose twenty percent over the same period 
of 1942, itself a peak year. In 1944, according to the Federal 
Security Agency, 78 juvenile courts in communities of 100,000 or 
more alone handled nearly 90,000 cases! 

Those were the years, you remember, when San Diego reported 
delinquency up 50 percent for boys, 355 percent for girls. Indian- 
apolis court officials publicly confessed panic before the rising tide 
of delinquency; Atlanta magistrates nervously advised calm. 
Cleveland, Norfolk, Brooklyn and Pendleton, Ore., were among 
the cities reporting murders by schoolkids. Arson flamed across 
the country, destroying a munitions plant in New Jersey and 
movie theaters in California; the F.B.I, complained of more trou- 



STATISTICS OF SIN 5 

ble from juvenile saboteurs than from enemy spies! Students at a 
famous old New England school launched a crime wave of their 
own, stealing railroad tickets and then riding to various towns to 
pillage and pilfer. Miami and Boston led a hundred other cities in 
setting up special police squads just to handle child crime. Great 
gangs of kids waged war on the streets of Washington, Los An- 
geles, San Antonio, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New 
York. Congress began an investigation. 

Particularly disturbing was the rise in offenses among girls 
nearly doubled, according to local authorities and the F.B.I., in 
those categories covering vagrancy, drunkenness, disorderly con- 
duct, prostitution and sexual waywardness of all kinds. "Victory 
Girls" sold themselves for small change to any uniform. In Port- 
land, the Union Depot swarmed with 12-year-old girls offering 
themselves to sailors; in Indianapolis and Cleveland the bus and 
railroad stations blossomed with 15- and 16-year-olds as anxious 
to accommodate soldiers. From Sacramento to Detroit, from 
Seattle to Mobile, teen-agers solicited in drugstores over their 
malted milks. The great ports of embarkation crawled with giggling 
semipros in bobby-sox; Manhattan's Central Park, San Francisco's 
notorious Turk Street, Chicago's Michigan Avenue, all reeked of 
precocious sex. 

Civilian lads, too young for the services, held orgies when and 
where they could find girls; typically, in the box of one Bronx 
theater a girl of seventeen was raped by eight boys. And the 
hysteria seeped down, with crime appearing, so to speak, in dia- 
pers. A 6-year-old Philadelphia child crawled under movie seats 
to open purses, giving himself away by flashing large bills before a 
pair of S-year-old girl friends. Children from nine to fourteen 
derailed trains in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland . . . 

All over the country makeshift local remedies were tried in vain, 
until Magistrate Mark Rhoads of Indianapolis Juvenile Court 
publicly despaired: "The hell with the future that seems to be 
our philosophy. Definitely the problem has grown too large for us 
to handle adequately! " 

How right he was . . . 

In 1943, the "future" was 1948. And in 1948 not fewer than 



6 JAILBAIT 

759,698 persons were arrested and fingerprinted. The predominat- 
ing age of these major violators, according to the F.B.I.? Twenty- 
one! 

These hardened 21 -year-old criminals were the juvenile delin- 
quents of 1943. Thus we reap the whirlwind. 



Is the situation getting any better? 

Everyone assumed during the war that "morals" were bound 
to slide. The restraints were off! Things will improve, we said, 
when peace comes. And in 1946, the first full post-war year, this 
prediction seemed justified. Two hundred and twenty juvenile 
courts reported a continuation of the slight drop which had ap- 
peared immediately after the war's end. The F.B.I, also reported 
a decrease that year in arrests of girls under twenty-one. 

But the number still exceeded the pre-war average by forty per- 
cent! And while juvenile crime as a whole had decreased some- 
what in frequency as compared to the year before, it showed a 
trend to the graver and more violent offenses. 

Judge for yourself. The F.B.I., in 1946, announced a ten-year 
peak for American crime with a major offense occurring every 
18.7 seconds around the clock. Compared with the previous year, 
murders were up 23 percent; rape, 5 percent; burglaries, 11 per- 
cent. "The juvenile delinquents of the war years," said J. Edgar 
Hoover, "are graduating from petty thieves to armed robbers and 
into the field of more serious crime." 

In 1948, "serious crime" maintained its pace, with an over-all 
increase of nearly five percent over 1947. Each day averaged 36 
persons slain 463 autos stolen 1032 places burglarized 200 
victims assaulted or raped. In larger cities, as compared with the 
pre-war average from 1918 to 1941, rapes were up 50 percent; 
burglaries, 17 percent; murders, 14 percent. New York City alone 
hung up this tally: 315 murders and non-negligent manslaughters, 
1515 robberies, 2810 rapes and assaults, 2726 burglaries, 7713 
larcenies, 10,091 automobile thefts! 

Remember, the "predominating" age of those committing these 



STATISTICS OF SIN 7 

major offenses was twenty-one years. All too often today's delin- 
quent grows into tomorrow's hardened criminal. Juvenile delin- 
quency is not only a grave problem in itself, but root and father 
to a graver one. 

And while one or two of the post-war years have shown slight 
regressions, again child crime is dangerously on the upswing. In 
1948 and the first six months of 1949 it appeared to exceed pre-war 
levels by a solid fifty percent. Further, the youngest group of 
offenders, those below the age of fourteen, once more is showing 
the increases characteristic of the war period, exceeding the old 
averages by from five to thirty percent in cities across the country. 

These younger delinquents of today are a strange, cold crew, 
often vicious where their predecessors were merely adventurous. 
One Child Guidance Bureau psychiatric worker in New York 
attributes their rise to the same social upheavals which spawned so 
many child offenders during the war. "Those disturbances also 
affected parents, and through them were passed on to the crop of 
infants at the time. Now the infants have matured, with the dis- 
turbances ripening into delinquent behavior." 

With the growth of these saplings, delinquency seems again to 
be climbing on every police graph. Definitive figures are lacking, 
but the trend is unmistakable. Child-gang warfare flourishes in 
our big cities and some of the smaller ones. Again newspapers and 
national magazines are running sensational articles on the sins 
and vices of youth. Alarmed warnings come from pulpits; courts 
and welfare departments from coast to coast plead for greater pub- 
lic efforts to stem the growing scourge. And one New York police 
official sadly shakes his head as he tells the press, "It was bad 
enough during the war but we've never seen anything like this!" 

What is the answer? No single or absolute solution exists. 
Some of the many approaches to prevention and cure shall be 
discussed later, but all involve consideration of the various types 
and manifestations of delinquency. So first, let us look straight 
into the face of this most vexatious and potentially dangerous of 
modern social problems. 

For if it is a wise father that knows his own child, it is also a 
wise country that knows its own juveniles, 



2 



The juvenile Prostitute 



A MAGISTRATE OF NEW YORK'S ADOLESCENT COURT, NOT 
easily shocked after years of probing into every sort of juvenile 
depravity, listened open-mouthed to the unfolding of a story of a 
ring of "call girls" aged 12 to 14! Six of the girls stood shame- 
faced in court. Twenty-five others remained to be arrested. 
Fifty men were to be arraigned on charges of statutory rape, most 
of them between 50 and 60 years old. 

What hardened procurer had trafficked thus heartlessly in the 
bodies and souls of schoolgirls? 

Detectives brought the culprit before the court. Redheaded, 
five feet tall, weighing less than a hundred pounds, she stood cool 
and poised in pink sweater, green slacks and white playshoes, 
playing with a gold bracelet as she chatted easily with the matron. 
Her name was Carol. She was barely seventeen. 

Two years before, she had organized her "ring" an accom- 
plished and efficient "madam" at fifteen! 

Yes, at that tender age the enterprising Carol had rounded up a 
few girls willing to visit men mostly elderly Latins in the slum 
neighborhood around Rivington Street. Soon she had a full stable 
of adolescents who, after school or on week ends, became the 
youngest apprentices to the oldest profession. There was no street- 
walking or anything like that. Carol made the appointments. She 
would meet each girl and personally conduct her to the store or 
apartment of the customer. There she would collect in advance, 



THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 9 

usually keeping half the money and giving the rest to the girl. 
Sometimes customers would require a place of assignation. Carol 
made an arrangement with the proprietor of a store on Twenty- 
first Street. She paid him a half-dollar for each customer enter- 
tained in the rear room of his establishment a sum she took not 
from her own share, of course, but from that of the assigned girl. 

Carol kept her kids busy. Some testified that they entertained 
three or four men a night. "Carol would get from $1.50 to $2 
each, and pay us out of that," explained one 14-year-old pupil at 
P.S. 60, on Twelfth Street. This girl had been picked up on re- 
turning home from a schedule so heavy that she had been missing 
three days. 

One girl complained that Carol "paid off in quarters." Yet the 
tip-off on the ring, after two years of successful operation, came 
when teachers noticed that certain girls were attending classes 
with pockets literally bulging with money. In a slum neighbor- 
hood, this was enough to arouse suspicion. The school called the 
Children's Aid Society, which in turn called the police. 

All concerned with the case were dumfounded, yet could not 
conceal a certain admiration for Carol's skill and energy. She 
took care of her girls with technical advice and, when they were 
old enough to need them, with contraceptives. She watched out 
for venereal symptoms, and sometimes treated them herself. She 
worked hard, neglecting no details except, perhaps, income tax. 
Such ability, everyone agreed, if turned to legitimate pursuits, 
would have made Carol an outstanding success! 

At the final hearing, less than a month after her arrest, all 
charges against Carol were withdrawn. She was adjudged a way- 
ward minor, suitable for rehabilitation. Her mother scrawled an 
"X" on certain legal documents, and Carol was committed for an 
indefinite period to a training institution conducted by a religious 
organization. The judge, with that optimism which all must have 
who work with adolescents, told the schoolgirl offender: 

"It is to your best interest, and to society's . . . Everyone 
wants to help you . . . You will be among friends . . . You 
can be made into a useful woman . . . Forget the past and look 
brightly on your future. . . ." 



10 JAILBAIT 

But when Carol is released, what then? Will a girl of her ob- 
vious ambition, nerve and initiative be content to remain in some 
factory or sales job even if, with her record, she can find one? Or 
will she find herself slipping back into the pandering industry? 
After all, how else can a poverty-stricken, unschooled slum lass, 
stated in court to be the "sole support of her family," ever get to 
wear gold bracelets? 



To understand delinquency, we must break it into its parts and 
examine them separately. For "delinquency," like "disease," is 
a categorical term. Just as pneumonia will show neither the 
same symptoms nor the same origins as yellow fever, so with the 
various forms of delinquency. Prostitution gangsterism tru- 
ancy such groupings are admittedly amorphous, impinging one 
on the other, yet each has its own characteristics. And may re- 
quire, possibly, its own cures. 

Our classification begins with Carol's case. It illustrates child 
prostitution that category of delinquency which probably most 
stirs popular indignation and causes judicial eyebrows to be 
lifted highest. 

On the heels of Carol's trial, a similar syndicate of child prosti- 
tutes serving elderly customers was broken up in Newark, N. J. 
Since then, other rings of 12- to 15-year-olds have fallen to the 
law in all parts of {he country. 

Unfortunately, the demand for Carol's sort of merchandise 
shall persist. To what extent males, especially elderly males, feel 
the urge to cohabit with girls below the age of consent is unknown. 
But the constant recurrence of versions of the story indicates that 
it is a stubborn one. Classical and modern literature, as well as 
the daily newspapers, are full of instances, incestuous and other- 
wise. 

Various cultures even today countenance the outright sale of 
children for purposes of prostitution, and find nothing amiss in 
marriage of girls of 14 or younger. In the United States, however, 
adult-child intercourse out of wedlock is held highly reprehen- 



THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 11 

sible, and in a majority of states prohibited even within wedlock. 
We may accept this as right and proper. The moral issue involved 
is not so much that in itself the thing is sinful, as that too early 
an introduction to sex may inhibit the social, ethical and even 
physical development of the individual. Of course, this view has 
been rather sharply criticized in recent years with growing recog- 
nition of the sex needs of young people and alarm at possible 
damage due to sex repression. But even those who take this ad- 
vanced stand seldom deny that when prostitution is involved 
when young bodies are bartered for money or other goods the 
child is being deeply injured, at least ethically. Hence the public 
shock when a girl sells herself, its intensity varying inversely with 
her years. 

Fortunately, exploitation of children by adult procurers is not 
common in this country. Most sex involvements of even criminal 
adults with adolescents are dictated by the passions, not by profit 
motives. Definitely a certain squeamishness in this respect exists 
among the worst as among the best of us. 

Occasionally an adult does turn up who has a stronger stomach 
than the rest of the world. About the time of the Carol affair, for 
example, a heavily rouged procuress of forty-seven years was ar- 
raigned for soliciting in the streets for a number of schoolgirl 
prostitutes. But the case is not typical. Organized vice does not 
go in for child labor. Even the fringe enterprises leave it alone, 
for it simply is not profitable: the kind of man who keeps the 
brothel busy wants more for his money than a skinny schoolkid. 
And the kind of roue who wants a skinny schoolkid generally 
does his own promoting as we shall see. As adolescents approach 
the age of consent, of course, they become more interesting as 
prey for organized vice; yet here it is difficult to distinguish, ex- 
cept in a legal sense, between woman and juvenile. More impor- 
tant as a threat to juvenile morals, probably, is a certain type of 
enterprise which does not sell sex as such, but uses it as a blandish- 
ment. 

We refer to roadhouses, night clubs and "bebop" joints which 
infest every town and highway, whose main attraction is the strip- 
tease. Minors are not officially admitted yet often enough they 



12 JAILBAIT 

cram these places. Here under the influence of liquor and nudity- 
inflamed importunities, many a girl has yielded to the ultimate 
push of a ten-dollar bill. 

There are also "businesses" which make attractive offers to 
unwary adolescents, including the bait of "traveling expenses," 
and after luring them from their homes make capital of their 
charms. 

One 17-year-old girl from Houston, an engaging and husky 
blonde, did not seem to mind. She had arrived in St. Louis so pen- 
niless that she offered, in a bar, to exchange her embraces for a 
place to spend the night. She told the man she approached who 
happened to be a city detective "It was good while it lasted. 
We sold ties and things from door to door around colleges, and 
whenever we got a couple of fellows alone, we made a big sale, 
you bet. I got to be crew manager. The boss died, but I'm go- 
ing to start my own business as soon as I get together a little 
money." 

Other girls, when caught up in such rackets, strenuously object. 
As in the case of Dora. 

Her boss, an elegant dresser of forty-six, one day found him- 
self held for $15,000 bail at General Sessions Court. The charge 
was coercion of twenty pretty girls into prostitution. Their ages 
ran from seventeen to twenty-three. There was reason to be- 
lieve that many had falsified their ages in order to get the job ; cer- 
tainly they looked younger than they professed to be. These girls 
had been hired as "solicitors for magazine subscriptions." Dora 
told newspaper reporters this story: 

She had noticed an advertisement in her local paper asking for 
young ladies "willing to travel to California with a chaperone." 
Expense money and a drawing account were mentioned. She an- 
swered the ad, and during the interview was queried as to 
whether she would be required to return home by a specific date, 
whether she had any close ties, whether she had family assistance 
or was really dependent on a job. Out of six candidates that day, 
she alone was hired. Introduced to a man called only "the 
boss," she found herself installed in a hotel and was told to sell 
subscriptions to magazines. 



THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 13 

The girl objected that she lacked experience. He instructed 
her that the best way to sell was to stop people on the street, par- 
ticularly servicemen, and "finger" them. "That is I was to run 
my hand over their face, chin, chest or any other part of their 
bodies to make them stop and listen to me ... When I went out 
the first day, I don't remember whether I sold any subscriptions 
or not. I just couldn't bring myself to use his methods." 

After two or three days he assigned another girl to work with her 
and smarten her up. The girl advised Dora to leave town and go 
home. 

She was ashamed to. She didn't want to return a failure. 

"After a while," Dora said, "I did make some sales. The boss 
asked me to his room. He complimented me on my progress 
and told me a lot of things I don't ever want to remember. 
Then . . ." 

Then: the boss informed her that when subscription sales were 
not up to a certain mark, the best thing to do was to sell herself, 
charging as much as she could get. The proceeds were to go 
half to her, half to him a split similar to that of the subscription 
deal. Either way, she would have to turn in a certain amount each 
day. 

When she did not live up to this "quota," she was fined. 

Dora continued: "Many times, to prevent my leaving town, he 
would leave me with just a bit of money. I was almost always in 
debt. A couple of times I couldn't pay my hotel bills and he'd 
move me to another place. He told me the first hotel was holding 
my clothes as security, but I learned later he had paid the bill and 
kept my clothing. He always saw to it that I had only one or two 
dresses so I wouldn't try to leave the city. 

"Sometimes he'd accuse me of holding out on him. If I came in 
late for work he'd fine me five dollars or more. There was a time 
when I thought he owed me around forty dollars. When I told 
him so, he said he had fined me for coming in late one morning 
and had forgotten to tell me about it." 

After a while Dora got up the courage to announce to the boss 
that she was quitting. "He became very angry and hit me." She 
was beaten on other occasions, too, as on the evening she had en- 



14 JAILBAIT 

tertained some musicians and had brought back too little money. 

"When he saw I was really leaving," she went on, "he accused 
me of giving someone venereal disease. He threatened me by 
saying he could prove it and make trouble for me. 

"Later I found out I wasn't diseased. As a matter of fact, of all 
the girls working for him I think only two were infected." 

Dora's release from her boss came only after he was arrested. 

Here the lure of being "away from home," "on her own," led a 
girl to accept a condition little better than slavery. 



Still another kind of enterprise, though not organizing child 
vice per se, sometimes acts as a focal point and center of encour- 
agement, and at any rate draws benefit from the traffic. Coming 
under this head are the unscrupulous "tourist camps," and hotels, 
or employes of such places who procure as an avocation. Tourist 
camps are almost impossible to control in this respect, as they do 
no more on the face of it than sell legitimate accommodations. It 
is not theirs to go deeply into the ages or other circumstances of 
couples supplied with beds, and in this country people are not 
required to show passports, police cards, marriage licenses, birth 
certificates and similar papers to secure lodgings. Besides, your 
tourist camp collects no bonus, no direct wages of sin. With 
offending hotels, however, the situation is often quite different. 

In one large city, for example, three justices sit down to try 
three prominent hotel men, each operating a separate establish- 
ment, on charges of running bawdy houses. The hotels are not 
hideaways or dives, but large, well-known enterprises in the busi- 
est part of town. Seventeen-year-old Camille testifies to daily 
entertainment of men. One of many such girls, she began register- 
ing at one or another of the hotels at the age of sixteen. Bellboys 
steered clients to her, for a share of the five to twenty dollars she 
collected from each visitor. Some of the money taken by the bell- 
boys found its way to the management or higher employes. 

Here is a more detailed account of one such girl, bringing out 
several points. First, suburban juveniles as well as city ones can 



THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 15 

find their way into organized prostitution. Second, it can be diffi- 
cult for a young girl to work as an independent. Third, a hotel, in 
any case, comes in handy. The following is paraphrased from two 
lengthy reports of juvenile court workers: 

Jean's parents were divorced before she was 10. Her fa- 
ther considered her mother "loose," and Jean never heard 
from her after the divorce. The father sent Jean to live 
with her grandparents in a comfortable suburb in a neigh- 
boring state, not much different from her former home. 
Her father married again, moved to a distant city. At 12, 
Jean ran away from her grandparents' home. Picked up 
and brought back, she ran away twice more, each time be- 
ing returned by police. She claimed that she wanted to 
look for her mother and father. 

The grandparents were average people, and did not put 
unusual restrictions on Jean. There is evidence that at the 
age of 14 she was seduced by a village boy in the fields. Far 
from feeling shame, this exhilarated her, and her desires for 
independence were strengthened. She ran away again. She 
looked older than her age, and got a job as a waitress after 
hitch-hiking hundreds of miles. When 15, she was ap- 
proached by a man who promised plenty of money, fine 
clothes, easy life, etc. He transported her across a state 
line to a brothel. By this time she had had several sex ex- 
periences, and did not object. 

On the first night of her employment, Jean served seven 
men. The following night she was assigned to a different 
house, but the management took most of her earnings, re- 
ported at $30 to $40 per night. Convinced there was no 
future in the brothel, she decided to prostitute on her own. 

At 16, Jean became discouraged by unstable returns, fa- 
tigue, police restrictions on soliciting. She was quite ready 
to give up her "independence" for comfort and conven- 
ience. She made contact with a hotel, with whose call girls 
she had been competing. She also registered at another 
hotel, where she kept up an appearance of respectability, 



16 JAILBAIT 

doing all work at the first hotel only. Youth and looks 
brought her many calls from the latter 's highly transient 
clientele, steered to her through bellboys. . . . 

At about this time, police raided a much smaller hotel of only 
sixty rooms at a nearby address, and discovered twenty unregis- 
tered girls. They also discovered the surprising fact that some 
rooms were being rented out four and five times a night. 

Goaded by public indignation, the police next raided Jean's 
hotel. That was how Jean came to be picked up. When arrested, 
she was seventeen, had little money, and suffered from a venereal 
infection. In the course of the trial, a chambermaid testified that 
Jean was one of a hundred girls similarly available to keep the 
hotel's clientele happy, not to mention the penicillin industry. 
The proceedings against the hotel brought out that the manage- 
ment derived profit, over and above regular room rent, from the 
traffic. According to Jean's testimony, she received up to twenty 
dollars from each client. The latter, in addition, paid for the hotel 
room at twice the regular rates. Out of every five dollars she col- 
lected, she paid two to the bellhop who had referred the customer. 
The bellhop captain, whose salary was a nominal "$1.14 per week," 
testified that deals with prostitutes were so profitable that boys 
were required to pay the management about fifteen dollars a day 
for the concession a fee that was doubled in busy seasons! 

The proceedings led to the arrest and conviction of the man 
who first had delivered the young Jean to a brothel. Sentencing 
him, the judge said: "You simply are no good. You have no moral 
concepts. The only fit place for you is behind prison bars." 

Did Jean, by this time, have moral concepts? 

Only one stark fact need be mentioned to indicate the degree to 
which she had absorbed her particular education. While she was 
being held pending disposition, she made immoral propositions 
to her fellow prisoners. 

However, Jean had cooperated with police and the prosecuting 
authority. In the hope that she would return to rectitude, she was 
handed over to her father. He, at this late date, undertook to re- 
construct her social outlook in a place far removed from the scenes 



THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 17 

of her delinquency. It was thought possible that an affectionate 
relationship with her father and stepmother might serve to re- 
orient Jean. 

Within two weeks, the father felt obliged to report that Jean 
was beyond his control; she kept irregular hours and consorted 
suspiciously with men. Soon after, Jean was again apprehended 
and, now a young woman, sentenced to a reformatory. 



Concerning individual or unorganized child prostitution, little 
can be generalized. Instances are so numerous and so widely en- 
countered in common experience that they need not be labored 
by itemization here. It has been woman's privilege, since Eve, to 
trade on her attractions if not for money, then for security, 
social position and other rewards great or trifling, including psy- 
chological ones. How far the trade may be carried, and at what 
age it may start, is not only a matter of individual idiosyncrasy 
but also of general custom. Is a child considered delinquent if she 
accepts a candy bar in exchange for a pat on the head from that 
nice old man? No. If she accepts a ball for a kiss? Hardly. A 
quarter, after she sits on his lap? Well maybe. A dollar for 
going to his apartment with him? Definitely! 

It is widely accepted that juvenile prostitutes emerge from 
homes of generally poor morality, and of desperate need. So they 
do. No one questioned counsel's statement in behalf of young 
Carol that "the environment was not conducive to proper con- 
duct." But what of the dismaying myriad of cases marked by 
juvenile sex participation where the environment is conducive to 
proper conduct? 

At this point, enter the villain. It takes two to make sexual 
traffic. Or a recruit to prostitution. What chance has the nice, 
unsuspicious, unknowing child against the fatherly male skilled 
in seduction? How is the virginal schoolgirl to interpret his ten- 
derness as something more than friendship? 

The technique is old, and so, generally, are its practitioners. 
Usually it goes something like this: the lecherous Lothario acci- 



18 JAILBAIT 

dentally encounters a young girl on her way home from school. 
He can ask her to help him across a street, to carry a package for 
him, to take him home, perhaps, because he is not feeling well. He 
may have a highly respectable address. If his invitation fails the 
first time, he will try again later, after a number of encounters 
in the street have made the two nodding acquaintances. The 
sequel nearly always is the same. He will at once create an image 
of himself that cries out for pity. He is lonely. The girl reminds 
him of his niece, or his poor, deceased daughter. If only she would 
visit him sometimes ! He offers her gifts. He is so grateful. Obvi- 
ously, he really is lonely, and in need of kindness. What else is a 
decent and quite flattered child to think? 

This line of attack, so often successful even with mature women, 
on the record has betrayed many a childish trust. The girl returns 
to visit him. There is desultory conversation. Sweets are served. 
The old man establishes the habit of a parting paternal kiss. Of 
course, he has sworn her to secrecy. He will visit her parents some 
time, in the future, but right now it is she in whom he is inter- 
ested. Others might not understand, he explains, and the girl 
nods thrilled assent to the conspiracy. He takes to giving her 
money. His kiss becomes warmer. If she feels embarrassed at the 
growing ardor of his embrace, she explains it away as part of his 
devotion. If she objects, he attributes it merely to his warm affec- 
tion. Then at some propitious time he may persuade her to taste 
wine in honor of, say, his birthday. But with or without stimulant, 
he will prey upon any girl's normal proclivity to, and interest in, 
sexual excitation. Pleasure, or more tangible rewards, encourage 
her to repeat her visits. 

The denouement? Complete or partial capitulation. Or, with 
girls of tougher fiber, sudden defeat for the Casanova. 

But, in the case of the failure, the very fear or shame which 
blocked capitulation serves as assurance that the child will not 
reveal the offender. She blushes at the thought of what people 
would think if ever they should learn of the dangers she courted. 
And the non- failures? Until the rake tires of them, they collect 
money or other satisfactions. Then he passes them on to new 
benefactors or they must seek their own. 



THE JUVENILE PROSTITUTE 19 

This narrative of seduction is standard. Thus, on occasion, are 
our daughters trapped into prostitution, or in those cases where 
monetary reward is not the prime motivating factor, something 
resembling it. The calling may or may not be carried on in later 
life. 

Differing considerably is the kind of free-lancing so popular 
during the war. The "Victory Girl" craze which saw thousands of 
girls of 12 to 16 years throwing themselves at uniformed boys 
has never been adequately explained. Patriotism? Why didn't 
the kids just sell bonds? Financial reward? Not at those prices 
and besides, most families were relatively well off! Well, could it 
be that the kids really didn't have families, with home life as dis- 
turbed as it was? Unquestionably this played its part in provok- 
ing the hysteria. And what about excitement, adventure? These 
too, we believe, furnished a main motive. 

But looking back at the pinched girls, the tawdry finery, the 
often pathetic stories, we can glimpse something else in the causa- 
tion pattern. One underlying characteristic featured a surprising 
number, probably a majority, of the cases: the chief satisfaction 
they were getting from their escapades was simply fellowship! 
It was as if their families had failed them in filling their needs for 
affection. So, by lending their bodies, they created an atmosphere 
of affection, if only a transient and spurious one. They were 
wanted, needed, made much of at least for a moment. 

Victory Girls are no longer with us. Does today's lass who 
gives herself to boys in the neighborhood, with roof or cellar for 
a setting and a few cents for reward, display any similar pattern 
of craving for fellowship and affection? Study of case histories 
shows that she does. Every welfare worker knows the drab girl 
whose eyes light up as she recounts her crimson adventures. In 
each one, some boy wants her, perhaps desperately. Neighbor- 
hood lads seek her out, chase her, compete for her. If they can't 
give her money, they give her what they can, maybe a nice walk 
in the park or a bus ride uptown. "Nobody bothers about me at 
home. In school I'm in the dumb class." How different when 
panting Johnny strokes her, kisses her, enjoys her ... in short, 
loves her. 



20 JAILBAIT 

When all is said and done, then, three basic considerations 
emerge from our brief investigation of prostitutional delinquency. 

First: in the words of Dr. Karen Homey, "The neurotic need 
for affection often takes the form of a sexual infatuation or an 
insatiable hunger for sexual gratification." Parents who fear for 
their daughters would do well to ply them with tenderness and 
care, rather than preachings. 

Second: where desperate need exists, desperate measures re- 
sult. A girl hungry for money, adornment or simple excitement 
is not always amenable to moral argument. Especially when she 
lives in an environment characterized by jungle law. 

Third: until the gap between public morality and private be- 
havior grows less, juvenile prostitution in more or less degree must 
continue to exist. It is not just that hypocrisy sets a bad example 
for youngsters. Nor that a relative handful of elderly rakes act 
as recruiting-sergeants for the profession. The fact is that if there 
were no customers, there would be no child prostitutes! 



School Scandal 



MOST OF US HAVE A TOUCHING FAITH THAT OUR CHIL- 

dren are pretty safe at school. And so, in the main, they are. 
Supervision and inspection are almost always adequate to root out 
the grosser evil influences which might "impair the morals" of 
school children. 

Yet anybody who reads the newspapers must notice disquieting 
things. Tales of rowdyism and vandalism appear with almost 
monotonous regularity. Occasionally more sinister stories crop 
up of school gangs tyrannizing smaller children through miniatures 
of the same techniques made famous by adult "mobs" tech- 
niques for which perfect manuals are widely available in news 
stories, comic books, movies. And once in a while reporters un- 
earth a nest of sexual misbehavior. 

Such reports point up the stubborn persistence of a second 
major type of delinquency delinquency occurring in, or associ- 
ated with, the schools. Ask yourself how often you have seen such 
newspaper items as this: 

. . . Brooklyn high school students may be denied cus- 
tomary free admittance to Dodger home games in Ebbets 
Field. Associate Supt. Ernst has received complaints that 
on each of five occasions this year high school students did 
not conduct themselves properly . . . 

N. Y. Post, May 26, 1949 

21 



22 JAILBAIT 

The complaints specified "noisy conduct, foul language and 
breaking of seats." This is a case of rowdyism. Only a couple of 
days before, one of the more common kinds of school vandalism 
had been reported: 

Police of Stagg St. station were pained to learn that van- 
dals had got into P.S. 36, half a block away and across the 
street, and made a shambles of nineteen classrooms. 

The cops hadn't seen or heard a thing although the 
marauders must have made enough noise for an old-fash- 
ioned Fourth of July celebration. The exuberant prank- 
sters not only had made merry with books, papers, ink, and 
paints but had smashed desks, chairs and benches, shat- 
tered window panes and heaved some of the broken equip- 
ment out of the windows. 

N. Y. Daily News, May 24, 1949 

Mark Earth, the school principal, said that his "was not a 
tough neighborhood," and somewhat plaintively complained that 
he couldn't understand it; nothing of the kind had happened be- 
fore during his twenty- three years as principal. One cop offered 
this solution: "Probably the kids were tired of looking at the 
seventy-year-old building." 

This hoodlum misbehavior, though troublesome and often vi- 
cious enough, is not the true stuff of delinquency. Often it is mere 
expression of exuberance, of simple "gross motor activity," on the 
part of unmannerly youngsters "showing off" to each other. Have 
we not all seen infants play quietly with a toy for some time, 
then suddenly throw it on the floor and begin stamping on it vio- 
lently, at the same time uttering loud noises indicating great glee? 

Even the occasional misconduct of schoolmaster or schoolmarm 
with girl or boy pupil, as sometimes reported in the press, signifies 
no special school reprehensibility. A certain amount of aberration 
must be expected when millions of individuals are thrown into 
daily contact. In every large group there are those who cannot 
withstand the temptations of opportunity. 



SCHOOL SCANDAL 23 

But the really disturbing goings-on are not often mentioned. 
Genuinely tainted schools, those contaminating children and 
adolescents, do not generally make the papers even when known 
to teachers and case workers. This is due in part to the latter's 
reticence about publicizing professional inadequacies along with 
hesitation to uncover situations reflecting on superiors who can 
make things unpleasant for the tattler. There is proper zeal, too, 
in avoiding any stigma which might become publicly attached to 
a child. Of course, immorality-shot conditions in the schools are 
infrequent relatively infrequent, that is. But shocking cesspools 
of iniquity do exist, usually in quieter corners. And some, not 
quietly hidden at all, brazenly foul whole school districts. 

One example notorious in the professional literature is a high 
school for girls in a great eastern city. 

Built to accommodate 2,000 pupils, it has a current attendance 
of some 4,600. 

It stands in a neighborhood once rather upper-crust, and which, 
while gone to seed for a good many years, is not yet quite a slum 
district. The location is near one of those sharp lines of demarca- 
tion suddenly occurring in large cities; to the north runs a large 
Negro population, to the south, a white one. Students are chiefly 
Negro, but with a good admixture of whites of Latin parentage. 

Delinquency in all its forms is supposed to run rampant in the 
classrooms, corridors and particularly the washrooms. Yet, on 
examination, most of this boils down to wilful mischief to minor 
quarrels and feuds among various stocks and color segments to 
inevitable disharmonies resulting from crowding, the tenseness 
of overworked teachers, the disturbances carrying over from teem- 
ing streets. One major type of delinquency flourishes, however. 
Sexual misconduct. 

How ingrained this has become at R High School may be 

judged from the fact that many of those best acquainted with the 
situation believe it to be virtually impossible to root out. Teachers 
and welfare workers, grown accustomed to it over the years, are 
inclined to take it for granted. It has become traditional, like the 
daisy chain at Vassar. While police and Board of Education infor- 



24 JAILBAIT 

mation is kept pretty secret, the author was kindly permitted an 
off-the-record glimpse at a few of the case histories compiled by a 
private welfare group. Here is an excerpt: 

Celia, 16, native white extraction, general health good 
except for myopic condition. Refuses glasses. Grades fair. 
Very strong. Excels in gymnasium. Religious upbringing. 
Queried on complaints of other girls, replied: "Why pick on 
me? I got it when I was a freshman, now I'm dishing it 
out. Doesn't hurt anybody." Not shy of boys, according to 
mother, but directs sex play at girls only. 

The author was able to accompany a volunteer worker for one 
of the Negro welfare groups, visiting a girl stubbornly truant. She 
had reason to be. Slim and well-formed, stockingless but other- 
wise neatly dressed, she answered questions with angry frankness: 

INVESTIGATOR: You used to like school, Mae. Why, you're very 

bright. Tenth grade at fourteen! 
CHILD: I won't go, no. How can I go? 
INVESTIGATOR: You mean because of what happened? Mrs. 

(principal) told me. . . . Something in the gym, was it? Oh, 

yes, the washroom 

CHILD: Why doesn't she tell it over the radio? 
INVESTIGATOR: Don't feel that way. No reason for you to feel 

ashamed, Mae. Sometimes things happen 
CHILD: This was the second time. The first time they just 

grabbed me and tickled me. All over. I bit one that Sarah 
INVESTIGATOR: When was this? The same girls? 
CHILD: About last month, some time. These were different kids. 

They said they would initiate me into their bunch. They took 

my dress off and made me walk up and down. They were 

laughing and kissing me. They were feeling each other and 

laughing and touching me. Two were hugging on the floor, sort 

of, and they 
INVESTIGATOR: How many were there? 



SCHOOL SCANDAL 25 

CHILD: Five well, six, I think. They were from gym class. So 
I was fighting, but one took down her bloomers and they made 
me 

INVESTIGATOR: Why didn't you scream? 

CHILD: They would of killed me, man! They said to keep my 
mouth shut or they'd kill me. They knew Mr. (on cor- 
ridor duty) couldn't come in. He must of heard something or 

somebody snitched, he called Miss . So she ran in and 

everybody ran away. She said to me: "Get dressed, what's 
the matter with you?" and she took me to the office. 

INVESTIGATOR: Look, Mae, we've sent Gussie away. Elaine, too. 
We'll get after Sarah. You don't have to worry. It won't hap- 
pen again. 

CHILD: Man, I won't go back, no! 

INVESTIGATOR: I tell you what. We'll get you transferred to an- 
other school. 

CHILD: I won't go, no. I'm afraid. (Crying) I won't go. 

These cases are typical of dozens and perhaps hundreds, many 
wholly unprintable, on the record cards of city and private case 
workers. Despite all that school authorities can do, the condition 
persists from year to year. "Before the war we had a lot of pilfer- 
ing and other stuff, too," a school official told the author. "Most 
of that has died down here. Even this vice is beginning to fall 
off. There's a better organized community effort to combat delin- 
quency, and it's showing results." He added, "I think things 
generally began to improve the day they appointed more Negro 
teachers to the school." 

"But sexual irregularity persists?" 

"Well, less of it. It's quieter, less overt." 

"How much of the school is exposed to this sort of thing?" 

"I've heard guesses that as many as one in ten of the student 
body come in contact with it. Three to four per cent would be 
nearer correct, I would say." 

"To what do you attribute it?" 

"The whole moral tone of the area is low. Sometimes you see 



26 JAILBAIT 

men in the streets, maybe in cars, waiting to pick up girls after 
school. Did you know that two dope peddlers were caught near 
the entrances this year? Marijuana." 

The "tone" of the area might indeed be "low." Yet here as in 
the best neighborhoods a great majority of the youngsters are 
perfectly nice kids. The tragedy lies in the exposure of such chil- 
dren to humiliation, sexual terrorism and plain seduction into 
"bad" ways. Where is their protection? 

Nor is the institution in question unique. What a careful city- 
to-city survey would reveal is anybody's guess, but in at least 
fourteen schools known to the author, in various parts of the coun- 
try, a similar problem exists. All are in populous urban areas, all 
are sadly overcrowded except one a girl's high school in a proud 
Gulf city. 

This school is housed in a huge, ramshackle building dating 
back to the days of Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt! Although 
drafty and with few modern facilities, it is unquestionably spa- 
cious. So spacious, indeed, that teachers complain they find it 
impossible to patrol. As a result, weird incidents flourish in the 
basements and even on stairways. 

Witness this, from a local police record: it seems that on the 
principal's complaint a 15-year-old girl was picked up by detec- 
tives for examination. A teacher had discovered her on the stairs, 
disheveled, her blouse torn off. She had refused to answer the 
teacher's questions, and it was her generally sullen attitude which 
had caused her to be turned over to the law. The record described 
her as very obese, poorly dressed and "non-cooperative." Finally 
she responded to persistent examination by a policewoman as- 
signed to the local juvenile court: 

I was going on an errand to the office for Miss L . I 

was taking my time. Coming up the "gate" (little-used- 
staircase connecting main building and junior high school 
annex) I ran into two girls and one was smoking. I told 
them they'd better get back to class or they'd be in trouble. 
They said, what was I doing out of class? I showed them 
my pass. One said, did I want a cigarette? She put her 



SCHOOL SCANDAL 27 

arm around me and started touching me. She said, stick 
around and have some fun, Fatty. 

I was scared. I figured they were Florabels. I tried to 
run. One grabbed me from behind. She tore off the blouse 
I was wearing, my sister's. She squeezed me and did bad 
things. They said they would stick cigarettes in my eyes if 
I didn't do bad things with them. They heard someone 
coming and ran. I ran but the teacher caught me, I'm so 
fat. 

Inquiry revealed this to be the only case of the kind on the 
police record in two years. As a rule, teachers and school authori- 
ties preferred to cope with such incidents as best they could with- 
out calling in police or other agencies. Perhaps they felt, with 
justification, that correction of the matter lay more within the 
province of the schools than the courts; perhaps they merely 
feared scandal. At first the principal refused all information to an 
interviewer (not this author), but after exacting a written promise 
not to divulge places or names, he answered interrogation as 
follows: 

Question: Are there many such incidents in your school? 

Answer: This is the seventh reported this year. (1948-49) How 
many go unreported, I don't know. 

Question: Would coeducation help? 

Answer: I'm not sure. I have reason to think so. 

Question: In one city we know of, much of this trouble goes on 
in an all-colored school. What about the segregated schools here? 

Answer: Nothing of the sort is going on in the Negro schools, 
so far as I know. They have their own troubles, but not this kind. 

Question: To what do you attribute the trouble? 

Answer: Hard to say. It sprang up during the war years, with 
all kinds of people coming in from all over, living under all kinds 
of conditions. You've got to remember, we must take care of the 
good kids, some teaching has to go on ! We simply haven't enough 
manpower to cover all parts of the buildings at all times, just for 
the sake of a handful of bad apples. 

Question: Don't they spoil the rest of the barrel? 



28 JAILBAIT 

Answer: To a certain extent. But most who get into trouble are 
rather curious and willing to begin with. They come from the 
same shack neighborhoods as the Florabels. They've heard about 
it. And the innocents that are pulled in well, what can we do? 
They hardly ever talk. Scared to death of the Florabels! When 
we do catch one we punish her, maybe get rid of her. 

Question: About manpower, have you tried student assistants, 
monitors? 

Answer: Maybe that would work with boys. Here student moni- 
tors get coerced or beaten up. 

The police, it turned out, were familiar enough with the " Flora- 
bels." "Call it a gang or call it a secret club, like," a newspaper 
reporter was told, "but one thing sure . . . the girls are bad ones! 
Mostly from one neighborhood. We watch the kids in the streets 
and keep 'em from giving much trouble, but in the school not our 
job." 

Whose job is it? This particular city, this pride of the South, 
had greatly mushroomed during the war; so had juvenile delin- 
quency of every kind. The war's end found school population 
increased practically twice, school personnel hardly at all. Only a 
bare semblance of youth welfare or reclamation work is carried 
on at present writing, most of it of the volunteer "mayor's com- 
mittee" type. The sole closely organized anti-delinquency effort 
seems to be that of Catholic groups serving chiefly the Negro and 
foreign-speaking elements, but even this is severely limited in 
scope and effect. 

In a certain smoky coal-and-iron metropolis, traditionally boss- 
ruled, conditions in two school districts got so out of hand that a 
disgusted social worker for a private foundation went over the 
heads of her superiors directly to the local newspapers. She 
offered dozens of case histories in evidence, demanded that some- 
thing be done. 

The first paper informed her, frankly, that the material was too 
raw; it prided itself on being a "family" newspaper. The second 
paper, as frankly, stated that publication might be taken as an 
attack on the Board of Education, the city administration and the 



SCHOOL SCANDAL 29 

powers-that-be generally something it didn't care to risk. A 
third daily insisted that publicity would only make things worse, 
as had an expose of the city's notorious red-light areas it had tried 
some months before. Said the city editor: "This is a tough town. 
We've been handling delinquency pretty well! What can you 
expect from those drunken, no-good families . . . ?" 

This same case worker privately told the author: "The things 
happening in locker rooms and lavatories are unbelievable! We 
don't have access to school premises, so our bureau can't cope with 
it no one seems able to, or is even interested!" 

Doesn't a certain amount of homosexual play crop up even in 
the best places, she was asked. 

"Not on public property, with unwholesome effects on dozens 
of adolescents who otherwise would never get near it! And it 
isn't play. It's systematic ... A group or groups of girls who 
indulge simply terrorize others into doing likewise." 

What was the practical answer? 

"Some day society may eliminate the fundamental personality 
or environmental origins. Meanwhile, stronger old-fashioned con- 
trol would at least protect innocent girls. The kids should never 
be left unsupervised except briefly; every corner in the school 
should be watched. But classrooms are overflowing. Doubling up 
of classes is common, and children are always moving about by 
themselves. Double the number of teachers and you still wouldn't 
have enough." 

From all this we see a pattern emerging. Schools in crowded, 
badly housed or slum districts lack of clean, modern school facil- 
ities want of plentiful, qualified supervision and teaching and a 
"bunch," a gang or "club," a "group" of girls. Acquiring recruits 
through seduction or force, the latter perpetuates vice from year 
to year, maintaining "membership" even though older ringleaders 
are being constantly graduated or otherwise eliminated. 



So-called "gangs" among girls are not common. They number 
statistically about one girl gang to three hundred boy gangs! 



30 JAILBAIT 

Cliques, groups, clubs and tight circles of acquaintanceship, of 
course, are myriad as the stars. It is only when these get out of 
hand, when they function in defiance of mores and custom, that 
they acquire the "gang" designation. 

Such gang-groupings are frequent enough among boys, so much 
so that in a goodly number of American cities they are the rule in 
many parts of town rather than the exception. Street-gangsterism 
and the compulsions behind it will be discussed later. Here we 
are concerned only with gang phenomena as a function or con- 
comitant of schooling. 

The gang which persists in a school for long periods, despite 
anything authorities try to do, generally is held together by power- 
ful glue, by a strong raison d'etre. This may be defense or offense, 
racial tension, rebellion against some authority or condition, supe- 
rior organization for marauding or pilfering, or, as in the case of 
the Florabels, plain sex. Despite the high incidence of street- 
gangs, gangsterism of any great proportions is relatively infre- 
quent in the schools. It seems to be more a function of idleness, of 
crowded streets and unpleasant homes, of sheer boredom. How- 
ever, school gangsterism does exist even at quite early age levels. 
Every big-city teacher knows the experience of talking to some 
shaking child of nine or ten, robbed of a baseball glove in the 
school yard or adjacent streets. "I won't tell," hysterically re- 
sponds the child, pressed to name his assailants. "It's the such- 
and-such gang! You talk, and they break your arm. Maybe kill 
you!" 

Of course, much of the terror lies in the child's imagination. 
Sensitivity, immaturity, make him take threats pretty seriously. 
Yet there is no denying that small-fry gangs readily evolve even 
well below the sixth grade. 

For tykes admire and imitate their elders. Thus, when the 
recent death of a 15-year-old member of Brownsville's "Black 
Hat" gang brought its boys much publicity and police attention, 
even 8- and 9-year-olds wanted some of the glamour. 

"They made up the most obscene password you could think of," 
said a teacher, referring to such a gang at P.S. 56, Sutter Avenue 
and Legion Street, New York. "They are only fourth and fifth 



SCHOOL SCANDAL 31 

graders, but extremely impressionable." She reported that they 
concentrated on what they called "bull-dozing." "The gang walks 
along, forming a solid mass to push pedestrians off the sidewalk." 

Junior high schools in so-called "delinquency areas" are prone 
to more serious infection; sometimes even teachers are terrorized. 
In metropolitan high and vocational schools the tendency begins 
to run the other way: group activity tends to take less destructive 
directions perhaps because education to the social ideal has had 
more time to sink in, perhaps because the worst offenders have 
been weeded out in the earlier grades and sent to special classes, 
or have dropped by the wayside and are out in the streets. 

Arson, when it occurs in schools, is generally an individual 
matter an expression of bitter resentment, or simply a thrill 
crime. But wilful destruction of school property, sneak thievery, 
injury to persons considered non grata, these are as often as not 
genuine gangwork. Among boys, no systematic homosexualism 
in the public schools is known to exist as among girls; the worst 
offenses are occasional mutual masturbation and maybe pretty 
rough treatment of a lad's private parts during a gang raid or haz- 
ing. Nor do gangs as such in public schools, at any rate go in 
for group molestation of the opposite sex. Indeed, from the best 
figures available, it would seem that coeducation has an inhibiting 
effect on adolescent crime if not on adolescent "sin." The better 
record, however, may be a statistical accident. Coeducational 
schools are more frequently found in prosperous than in under- 
privileged neighborhoods. 

One of the most common delinquencies of the school gang is 
extortion, a nickel or a soda, say, being the price of personal 
safety. One case which recently made the papers (possibly be- 
cause of the large amounts of money involved) had a peculiar 
twist or two. We quote Guy Richards, of the Hearst newspapers: 

Three years ago, investigation shows, Betty was "overly 
shy and sensitive." Since her mother was away from the 
house during the daytime, Betty was given 50 to 75 cents 
daily to buy lunch (at school). 

Almost every day on her way to school Betty was held 



32 JAILBAIT 

up by two boys and two girls who took the money. Some- 
times they left her 10 or 15 cents. They told her, accord- 
ing to a welfare report, that "they'd beat her up if she 
didn't keep her mouth shut." 

For a whole school year Betty lost weight. Her mother 
took her to a doctor to find out what was " devouring" her. 
But Betty in that year of fear and shyness never told. 

One day Betty was taken in hand by a girl who con- 
vinced her she needed the protection of another gang. 
Betty joined. Her personality changed rapidly. She en- 
tered into rivalry with another girl for leadership, the test 
resolving itself into which of the two dared assault one of 
the boy leaders, now in the hospital. 

Betty's crime? She beat up this boy member of a rival 
gang, then hammered him with a knuckle-fitted milk can 
handle, then shot him through the toe with a home-made 
"zip gun." Twice she has been in court for committing 
mayhem on girls. She comes from a good family. . . . 

At the time of the assault, Betty was fifteen. Did her school 
fail her? Yes . . . but only insofar as all society failed her; her 
parents, her home, her environment, her cultural orientation, the 
influences shaping her personality. 

How much, then, of the delinquency in and about schools is 
actually the schools' fault? A good deal of it, is the answer yet 
only in a secondary sense. The school is not an independent 
entity; it is an expression of the community which gives it funds 
and direction. It can only do what it is equipped and authorized 
to do. 

Certainly if all classes were small enough, if teachers were plen- 
tiful enough, if quality of personnel were improved by paying 
higher salaries, if there were more and better facilities, delin- 
quency would be set back. Certainly if there were more guidance 
workers, psychologists and psychiatrists attached to school sys- 
tems, more could be done to correct delinquent tendencies arising 
out of the personality of the child or the deficiencies of his envi- 



SCHOOL SCANDAL 33 

ronment. But all this depends on the desire of the citizenry. They 
get more than they pay for, as it is. 

Admittedly, the school is not wholly blameless. More could be 
done, doubtless, in the way of reshaping curriculums and adjusting 
organization for handling pre-delinquents, and for protecting the 
general student body from actual delinquents. (The term pre- 
delinquent applies to children considered potentially delinquent, 
or predisposed to delinquency.) 

Where an exceptionally forceful and interested school executive 
takes over, sometimes miracles occur. We might mention, for 
example, a notorious junior high school located on New York's 
lower east side, formerly considered one of the worst "delin- 
quency" spots in the country. Boys were completely unmanage- 
able. Every type of crime and vicious mischief was common. 
Teachers were so involved in discipline problems that little time 
remained for anything else. Then the school was turned over to a 
young assistant principal who by fearless, conscientious effort, 
and intelligent understanding, instilled group pride and a modi- 
cum of good behavior into his boys. Some of his means were 
radical. He found outlets for the animal spirits of his charges, 
instead of trying to bottle them up. He encouraged responsibility, 
appointing some of the worst offenders to class and group leader- 
ship (this trick often works). He held the facilities of the school 
open after school hours, to keep the boys off the streets. He 
reached into their homes through personal contact. 

In the short space of a year this school, while not yet exactly a 
model, had taken its place among the best to be found in similar 
neighborhoods ! 

One important factor contributing to delinquency, all authori- 
ties agree, is daily absence from home of both parents. Children 
of working mothers called "latchkey kids" among teachers- 
constitute a problem of major proportions in communities large 
and small throughout the nation. Supervised playgrounds provide 
a partial answer in many cities; but these are far too few. The 
school is expected to contribute, in some places, by extra-curricu- 
lar activity, by "clubs" for dancing, drama, picknicking and the 



34 JAILBAIT 

like. All too often, teachers are unpaid for this overtime drain on 
their physical and nervous energy. Paid teachers exclusively as- 
signed to such club work, as in four underprivileged New York 
City school districts, accomplished better results; local "latchkey" 
kids have a place to go where they may play constructively, and 
so perhaps keep out of trouble. 

On the whole, it may be stated teachers individually are doing 
as much as can be expected of them, and a lot more, with respect 
to combating delinquency. As much cannot be said for the school 
systems they serve, nor for the communities of which the school 
is an instrument and expression. 



4 



Vice in Private Schools 



SO FAR WE HAVE TOUCHED ON THE RELATIONSHIP ONLY 

of the pubic schools to juvenile delinquency. What of non-public 
schools? Have they any special culpability for the climbing juve- 
nile crime rate? 

America, particularly in the New England and Middle Atlantic 
areas, boasts an educational coat of many colors. It sports a 
patchwork of parochial, private and institutional schools of every 
style and size. Take your pick! Here are establishments for poor 
and rich. Boarding schools range from "preparatory" institutes 
for the scions of our best people to "homes" for backward or way- 
ward children. There are military and "finishing" schools. Is 
your son deaf, crippled or simply unwanted? You can send him to 
a special alma mater, if you have the price sometimes even if you 
haven't. Are you particular about what your daughter is allowed 
to learn or not learn? You may choose from among great parochial 
systems maintained by religious denominations, lesser ones sup- 
ported by political sects, or from schools conducted by fringe 
groups of all kinds, by foundations or individuals some non- 
profit, others out for every dollar they can get. 

Inevitably, delinquency plagues these schools just as it does 
public ones. Yet it must be conceded that the "private" record is 
better. At least on the surface. 

Why not? The problems of badly crowded classes insuffi- 
cient staffs less frequently exist. 

35 



36 JAILBAIT 

Control and authority are absolute, often extending over even 
the non-classroom hours. 

In the case of parochial schools, offenders are quickly passed on 
to denominational "welfare" and "correction" facilities, or simply 
thrown back into the laps of the public schools which take on all 
comers. 

And from the standpoint of predisposing background, only the 
Catholic schools in crowded eastern areas face a delinquency sit- 
uation comparable in extent to that confronting the public schools. 

But while they may reach ,the surface less frequently in and 
around the non-public school, this is not to say that delinquency 
and pre-delinquency, when they appear, are better handled. On 
the contrary. The public school, by its very nature, gives kids 
more chance to blow off steam, to adjust themselves naturally for 
better or worse, to get rid of personality quirks by simple attri- 
tion. In this respect, most private institutions are better at re- 
pressing and suppressing than at curing. If predisposing factors of 
delinquency are present in him at all, many a product of these 
schools, once escaped from their confines and disciplines, ex- 
plodes from inner pressures. 

There is no reason to believe that schools under religious or 
private auspices are doing any better than the public schools. 

In New York State, for example, about one-third of the pop- 
ulation is Catholic. But roughly two-thirds of all inmates of re- 
formatories and similar youth penal centers are Catholic. Of 
these, more than sixty-five percent attended parochial schools. A 
survey at Elmira Reformatory some years ago revealed that close 
to ninety per cent of the Catholic inmates had attended either 
parochial schools or Catholic corrective institutions. A somewhat 
similar situation prevails in Massachusetts and other states where 
Catholic populations are large. 

Now, all this has nothing to do with religion. It traces chiefly 
to the fact that large numbers of those who live in slum and delin- 
quency areas happen to be Catholic. But the point remains that 
in Catholic as in other parochial and private schools, education 
has failed to meet the challenge of delinquency. There are numer- 
ous Catholic agencies devoted to the "bad" boy or girl; despite 



VICE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS 37 

religious scruples which stand in way of adopting certain psy- 
chiatric techniques or perhaps because of these very scruples 
some progress is being made each year. But this progress does not 
keep pace with delinquency's present spread. The same is true 
of Protestant and Jewish groups maintaining settlement houses 
in crowded areas, as well as reform homes, camps, correction farms 
and the like. What the anti-delinquency fight requires is not less 
participation by organized religion, but more. The Catholic 
schools, certainly, have been remiss at times in coping with gang 
warfare in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New York, Boston, Detroit 
and elsewhere, involving large numbers of Catholic youth, and 
often shot with an undertone of religious or color prejudice. 

As for genteel, non-parochial institutions, everyone remembers 
the wave of delinquency which spread among even the most re- 
spectable private schools during the war. Such cases as this one 
became almost standard reading: 

Four 16-year-old students at a famous New Jersey acad- 
emy are being held in Warren County Jail at Belvidere, to- 
day, three charged with arson and all four with larceny of 
automobiles. The boys burned a barn and attempted to 
burn an adjoining farmhouse. They were apprehended by 
state troopers. 

This academy ranks among the most respected institutions of 
its kind, generally having managed to avoid even the sex and 
drinking excesses which commonly trouble "prep" schools. An- 
other typical case involving private school adolescents so typical 
that almost its very twin appeared in newspapers every day all 
over the land involved three girls reported missing from a well- 
known and expensive New England girls' school. 

A detective located the first girl soliciting in the streets. He 
watched her tease a prospect a merchant seaman into going 
with her to the fifth-floor room of a hotel. "The sailor offered her 
five dollars," testified the detective. "She took the money and re- 
moved her clothes. I then entered the room and made the arrest." 

The second girl, a 15-year-old, also was picked up by a detec- 
tive. He offered her five dollars. She accepted. He arrested her. 



38 JAILBAIT 

The third girl was picked up by police while soliciting in a bus 
terminal. 

Three kids from one of our most ladylike finishing schools! 

Now, such offenses were the order of the day during the war 
years and immediately afterward. So much so that our good citi- 
zenry hardly took notice of them except to smack lips over the 
gory or titillating details. Professional viewers-with-alarm, civic 
groups and police, even J. Edgar Hoover himself, might be much 
disturbed, but the reaction of the man in the street was more or 
less: "So many homes unsettled. Soldiers and sailors out for a 
good time. Easy war plant money. You have to expect wraps 
off ... Morals are always bad in wartime!" Perhaps so. But 
the war is over. Why does delinquency persist, even in "good" 
schools? Why is delinquency, despite temporary setbacks and 
fluctuations, on the increase everywhere? Do the conditions of 
the war years remain with us? 

Not all of them, of course. But bad and insufficient housing, 
one of delinquency's greatest allies, continues on every hand. The 
easy money is beginning to be replaced by lack of money more 
than 4,000,000 unemployed at this writing, and some 6,000,000 
not working a full-time week. Jobs for teen-agers, part time or 
otherwise, are growing scarce as the ham in drugstore sandwiches. 
Impoverishment, and attendant idleness, are far greater hand- 
maidens of crime than prosperity ever was. 

Further, there are certain moral hangovers from the war. Or, 
viewed another way, the moral climate which makes both war 
and delinquency possible is still with us. Millions of men, though 
out of uniform, preserve attitudes toward sex and violence ac- 
quired in the armed services. Millions of girls retain the "easy 
come, easy go" views on virtue believed appropriate during the 
war years. Most of these have grown beyond the age limits con- 
sidered "juvenile," but their younger sisters and brothers ape 
their outlooks, as no doubt their children will. 

With patriotism out as motivation and excuse, the modern 
schoolgirl may ask and receive a higher price for her sex infla- 
tion being what it is. In better-class private schools, where money 
is no object, she may trade for social triumphs, dates with foot- 
ball idols, simple excitement, or even a passing mark. 



VICE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS 39 

But sex is far from the only excess troubling juvenile officers. 
Nine murders (several linked with homosexualism), one hundred 
and nineteen injuries requiring hospitalization, twelve off-campus 
larceny cases, three arson offenses, forty-three vandalism raids 
above the mischief class, three rapes, fourteen statutory rapes, one 
hundred and forty-nine "seductions" worthy of court interest, 
various extortion-type situations, and eighteen assorted crimes 
such as the carrying of blackjacks these were recorded last year 
alone on police and court records of New England and New York 
State, on the part of students attending private schools. 

Considering the large numbers of students at such places, some 
would not regard these figures as too disturbing. Maybe they are 
right. The really disturbing thing is the extent to which student 
bodies as a general practice are imitating the let-down in stand- 
ards all around them. Lying, cheating, fornicating, unsportsman- 
like conduct, never giving the other fellow an even break, all the 
things frowned on by decent people, these would seem to be toler- 
ated to a greater extent than during the pre-war years. We do not 
mean to say that the youth of America is rotten. Far from it! It 
is a more vigorous youth than ever before, healthier physically 
and mentally, more intelligent in attitude and action. But it in- 
cludes a greater segment than ever before of boys and girls lacking 
the stringent moral precepts by which a society retains its honor 
and health. 

How can kids take "fair play" seriously, for example, when they 
note so many examples of doubtful practices in business giving 
the least for the most, making extravagant claims for shoddy 
goods? How can they cultivate independent thought when they 
note penalties for independence on every hand? Better to move 
with the mob. Better to accept the hypocrisies of modern life, 
whereby millions decry conditions publicly which privately they 
foster. 



On the whole, then, the crime problem of private schools ap- 
proximates that of public schools. It varies in degree, perhaps, 






40 JAILBAIT 

but very little in kind. Institutions serving underprivileged 
students drawn from a broad population base run into the usual 
patterns of gangsterism, theft, marauding. Where students are 
more selective, as a result of wealth, intelligence, educational 
background or other entrance requirements, offenses may be more 
imaginative, and tend toward sex, "thrill" crimes, wild escapades 
and the like. 

Yet there is one particularly noxious area of delinquency which 
is far more the province of private than of public schools. As pre- 
viously remarked, where millions of students come into daily and 
somewhat intimate contact with thousands of teachers, some de- 
gree of sexual abuse is bound to appear. In private schools, how- 
ever, as contrasted with public ones, teacher-student carnality 
approaches the dimensions of an appalling problem. Why is this 
so? Chiefly because of greater opportunity for the indulgence of 
mature appetites and the awakening of immature ones. 

Private schools, including penal ones, are subject to the same 
general controls as public educational institutions. But such 
schools are many and diverse. They function in all sorts of dark 
corners as well as out in the light of day, so that for one reason or 
another they escape inspection, or get around it. Sometimes they 
are less severe than is wise in judging qualifications of personnel. 
In some types of institutions, the pupils are cut off from the 
protection of parents, may not even have parents. They can be 
got at during odd hours, and in privacy. Facilities, such as beds, 
are available. Further, while most states have licensing require- 
ments for both private schools and private school teachers, these 
vary greatly, in many cases are not effective. The result is an an- 
nual crop of such incidents as these, all from recent records: 

( 1 ) At a New York orphan asylum, two employes were charged 
with immoral practices on inmates of both sexes. One, 58, had 
been engineer at the home for twenty-six years. The other was a 
staff teacher. During Grand Jury investigation twenty-seven boys 
and girls, 8 to 16, appeared as witnesses. Conducted by a Protes- 
tant church group, the asylum at the time housed a total of fifty- 
one children. 

(2) At an institution for rehabilitation of the deaf, conducted 



VICE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS 41 

under state auspices, three girls were found by a visiting doctor 
to be pregnant. Two were 13, the third 14. All three, under ques- 
tioning, cited the father to be the assistant superintendent. 

(3) Four instructors, three male and one female, at a swank 
Connecticut school, were arrested on complaint of the landlady of 
a wealthy student, aged 13. When this boy's apartment was 
raided, authorities found two instructors in bed with two boy 
students and a girl, the other pair of instructors in bed with two 
girl students. One 14-year-old student was so drunk she had to be 
carried to the patrol wagon. 

In addition, there occurs each year a certain number of cases in- 
volving recreational and Sunday school pupils, rather than those 
attending "schools" in a more formal sense: 

( 1 ) A West Virginia minister slays a choir girl with a hammer. 
She had threatened to disclose immoral practices between the 
minister and various girls attending Sunday School. 

(2) A minister of White Plains is held on charges of carnally 
abusing two boys, brothers and members of his parish. He admits 
the crimes, says he is a "damned fool." 

(3) A one-time champion tennis player is jailed for a second 
time on charges of immoral acts conducted in broad daylight in 
public places with students at his "tennis school." 

(4) At a large military institute, three instructors are fired and 
three students expelled. They were in the habit of bringing in 
prostitutes and sharing them in a dormitory. One of the instruc- 
tors was 70. 

But we are concerned here with juvenile, not adult, crime. 

The question may well be asked: how are the juveniles involved 
in these cases to be construed "delinquent"? Are they not more 
sinned against than sinning? The answer is yes, and as much may 
be said for most delinquents, whether sexual offenders or not. But 
the significant thing is the effect of these school abuses, the in- 
fluences contributing to the birth and spread of delinquency. 
What we glimpse is a Fagin-like source, and a kind of transmission 
belt; among the backwashes of education, children are being 
taught or forced to tolerate sex conduct considered evil. If 
the inoculation takes, the students themselves then spread the 



42 JAILBAIT 

virus upon graduation or release. They embrace "sin" and teach 
it, even as their betters did. Once infected, each one may become 
a carrier, a Typhoid Mary of depravity. 

The foregoing discussion may bring to the reader's mind that 
notorious English school, Horsley Hall, widely discussed in Amer- 
ican newspapers before it was finally shuttered by authorities. 

At this remarkable institution, teen-aged students were en- 
couraged to do "whatever comes to them naturally." 

"My boys and girls go into each other's bedrooms," said Robert 
Copping, headmaster, "but I see nothing wrong with that." They 
also smoked if it suited them, and used four-letter words. Official 
tolerance tended to cut down smoking and swearing, claimed 
Copping. His pupils rose and retired when they pleased, studied 
only when in the mood. 

Unfortunately, the bearded, 29-year-old headmaster admitted 
in court to having spent a week end in London with a student of 
sixteen. 

And the court accused Charles Reynolds, partner of Copping, 
of utilizing his living room as a bedroom for two girl students. 
The crown prosecutor also claimed that in Reynolds' presence, 
one boy dared another to seduce a certain girl pupil. According 
to the prosecutor, Reynolds said: "I bet you a pound to a penny 
you can't!" 

The incident, however, which first attracted official notice was 
none of these. It seems that Copping invited one Eric A. Wild- 
man, who supplies schools with canes for punishing malefactors, 
to visit Horsley Hall. Copping then arranged for his pupils to 
beat up Mr. Wildman with his own canes a bit of poetic justice 
which promptly brought court investigation, and closing. 

Well, the Copping idea of liberal arts may be a bit broad for 
general application. But milder variations of it are plentifully 
encountered in this and other lands. In "self-expression" and 
"progressive" schools of high and low degree, adolescents are en- 
couraged to live by the rule of conscience rather than that of 
authority. 

Is that bad? To be sure, the trust is not always repaid. Es- 
pecially where it is convenient for the sexes to mingle. A nice 



VICE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS 43 

prep-school boy obtaining mutual sex experience with a nice fin- 
ishing-school girl may not be a crime in the eyes of nature; but 
it remains delinquency by generally accepted codes. These persist 
in holding intercourse a crime unless indulged in at certain ages, 
and after certain ceremonies. 

Yet an investigation by no less august a body than the New 
York Academy of Medicine, conducted among college students, 
led it to this estimate: a majority of such males experience the sex 
act by the age of sixteen. The Kinsey report yields somewhat 
parallel indications for non-college males below twenty-one. At 
any rate, it would seem that the precocious sex indulgences of boys 
and girls of school age are so common as to hardly be regarded 
as more than technical delinquency. 

Even early prostitution, unless involuntary, is not inevitably to 
be considered crime per se, for it rarely hurts or deprives. Rape 
and robbery, on the other hand, where force and injury rule, are 
patently criminal in our society. By extension, schools tolerating 
the freedoms or even excesses with which youth matures are not 
to be classed therefore as delinquency breeding grounds. Not so 
with institutions and schools which give courses in forced sub- 
mission, equivalent to rape. To what extent foulness can flourish 
is illustrated in the Balles case commented on at length in the 
press a couple of years back. 

Late one winter's Saturday a man of 33 sat in a parked car near 
Norristown, Pa. With him, supine and yielding, was a girl. A 
young girl. Eleven years old. 

A passing police car stopped to investigate. The cops did not 
relish what they saw. They ordered the passionate parker to start 
up his motor and follow their car to a police station for question- 
ing. The man and child drove after the police car for a short dis- 
tance, then suddenly swung off at an intersection and fled. 

Later the two were discovered hiding in the home of a neigh- 
borhood friend. The girl was taken to Abington Hospital. The 
man, having admitted molesting her, was locked up in Montgom- 
ery County Jail. Subsequent grand jury and court proceedings 
brought out a tale as harrowing as any in the history of private 
schools. 



44 JAILBAIT 

The man? George W. Balles, headmaster and owner of the 
Warminster Academy, later characterized by the court as a 
"School for Immorality." The academy operated in a 23-room 
converted farmhouse at Three Tuns, not far from Norristown. The 
student body consisted of twenty-eight boys and girls of middle- 
class families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, ages 
ranging from 7 to 14 years. 

Questioning of the children and the headmaster brought facts 
to light that were so shocking as to turn the stomachs of the ex- 
aminers. 

Almost no depth of sex degradation, it seemed, had not been 
plumbed by Balles in the company of his students, both boys and 
girls. These children were taught to submit voluntarily to every 
bestiality, or were forced into it. Up to the time of the school's 
closing, the kind of creatures being manufactured at Warminster 
can only be imagined. Nor was that the worst of it. Perhaps the 
most unnatural part in the proceedings was that attributed to the 
man's wife, Laura, a woman of 35. She was accused of partici- 
pating in the orgies and forcing children to submit to her husband. 

The court charged George W. Balles with statutory rape, as- 
sault and battery, contributing to the delinquency of minors, 
corrupting public morals. Mrs. Balles was charged with contrib- 
uting to the delinquency of minors, corrupting public morals and 
compounding a felony. 

Six months later, on appeal, Judge Harold C. Knight denied a 
new trial to Balles, sustaining conviction on charges of rape, 
morals and contributing to delinquency. He faced a sentence of 
up to forty-eight years. To Mrs. Balles, however, who could 
have been sentenced to more than twenty-two years, the judge 
granted a new trial. Referring to the tale of a 14-year-old who 
had testified against her, he found it "too unnatural to warrant 
belief!" 

George W. Balles represented himself as a minister. He and his 
wife had a child five years old. To all appearances, they and their 
school were perfectly respectable. So once again we see that the 
conduct of private schools in this country should never get too 
"private." No state or local authority can afford to relax its vigi- 



VICE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS 45 

lance. Inspection should reach at regular intervals into the prem- 
ises and practices of every school, no matter how large or small, 
no matter how well-reputed, and no matter how unobtrusively 
located. 



5 



flow SUt N* KHI 



FEW TRAGEDIES HOLD MORE SORROW THAN THE DEATH 
of one child at the hands of another. The slayer is hardly less a 
victim than the slain, hardly less to be pitied. 

We wonder what torture of mind, what bitter twist of circum- 
stance, could have driven a child to kill. We doubt whether the 
offender realizes the enormity of his crime. We are not sure fre 
so much as knows right from wrong, especially under the passion- 
ate stresses prevailing at the time of the assault. The courts re- 
flect our attitude. Usually they hold the adolescent not sufficiently 
responsible to incur the punishments meted out to adult killers. 

Yet numerous enough instances are recorded of children under 
16 being made to suffer the fullest penalties, including death. 

A recent New Jersey case serves as an example: 

So swept by emotion it is doubtful he heard the court's 

words, 15-year-old Fred S was sentenced to between 

25 and 30 years in New Jersey State Prison by Hudson 
County Judge Stanton. The prosecuting attorney had 
called on Judge Stanton for a "severe sentence" on the 
grounds of "vicious, premeditated murder." The boy's at- 
torney was in the midst of an eloquent plea for mercy when 
his youthful client sobbed and his knees buckled. Fred 
said he murdered his playmate, 11 -year-old Jackie, to 
"prove I am no sissy." He said he had been compelled by 

46 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 47 

his parents to perform household tasks he considered fit 
only for women. 

On the average, children up to 16 commit murder and malicious 
manslaughter 97 percent less often than do older persons chil- 
dren and adolescents aged 21 or younger, 70 percent less often. 
But the favorable ratio does not derive from any lesser inclina- 
tion to kill. 

The fact is that youngsters feel the killing impulse and obey 
it more often than do adults! 

It takes less powerful stimuli to arouse them to violent re- 
sponses. They give less thought to consequences. Social penalties 
are not so deeply perceived, mores not as deeply implanted. No- 
torious are the cruelties, as well as the kindnesses, of children. In- 
deed, the adult murderer is often thought of as a "child who never 
grew up" a person who failed to mature sufficiently to control 
the asocial impulses accepted as more or less commonplace among 
pre-adolescents. 

The big difference is that with children the will, strength, 
and weapons to carry out the job are not often present. Hence the 
impulse to kill, when it does triumph over inhibitory mechanisms 
within the child and prohibitory ones imposed from without, 
usually fades or fails before the purpose is accomplished. In rage, 
the child swings. He misses. His club is taken away from him. 
His quick blow falls short of the damage intended, and once it is 
delivered, resentment may quickly fade or distractions occur. In 
any case, the reflex tends to spend itself with the single blow or a 
few blows, fully murderous in intent though weak in result. 

Just the same, enough successful Cains distinguish the younger 
generation each year to justify a third major classification of de- 
linquency. Major not because of the extent or frequency of ju- 
venile killings, but because they are crimes of direct consequence, 
capital crimes. Conveniently, this class may be subdivided into 
a number of groups, with examples given of each. 

SECONDARY KILLINGS 

This group includes crimes in which killing is not the primary 
intent, but results as a byproduct of meanness, viciousness, care- 



48 JAILBAIT 

lessness or other characteristic evidencing itself in the course of 
the child's play or social life. Maliciousness, if present, only in a 
secondary sense results in the killing, which therefore cannot be 
classed as malicious manslaughter. It more resembles the man- 
slaughter incurred when an adult mean or careless enough to drive 
recklessly runs over another. A 10-year-old boy in a small Ar- 
kansas town provides a distressing and definitive case: 

One fine spring day, Robert was playing hide-and-go-seek with 
three neighbor children Joyce, aged 9; Shirley, aged 6; and 
James, aged 2. The three decided it would be fun to hide in an 
old-fashioned wooden icebox, abandoned by our hero's mother in 
favor of more modern equipment. 

Apprised by muffled giggling of the whereabouts of the chil- 
dren, Robert could not resist the chance to play a trick. He shut 
the icebox door on them. Thereupon the three became the object 
of a long and frantic search. Ultimately they were found, quite 
dead. 

The 10-year-old, questioned by state police, readily confessed 
his part in the misdeed. After locking in the others, he explained, 
he had been unable to get the icebox door open. "My mother 
called me then, to go to the store. Then I j or got!" (Italics ours.) 

Police and courts faced the dilemma of all of us. Said H. R. 
Peterson, police lieutenant in charge of the investigation: "He's 
too young to do anything with even if it had been deliberate and 
I don't believe it was." 

RAGE KILLINGS 

These result from simple anger or loss of temper, closely re- 
sembling similar crimes among adults. They differ from slay ings 
inspired by jealousy and some other emotions in that they may 
have sparse roots or none at all in preceeding grievances again the 
slain. Nor are they akin to killing out of fear, which is almost 
killing in self-defense. They do parallel other emotional crimes, 
however, in that the trigger is usually some frustration. That the 
frustrating factor need not be very strong we can gather from 
such murders as this, reported in Lancaster, Pa.: 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 49 

The father and mother saw no reason not to go on a jaunt for a 
few hours. After all, 14-year-old Millicent had been working for 
the family occasionally, and seemed quite capable of taking 
care of their son Ronald, aged 6. Millicent was instructed to do 
the family wash while the couple was out. 

The girl started the washing-machine. Ronald wanted to play. 
He pulled the plug of the machine from the electric socket. The 
girl pushed the plug into place; Ronald pulled it out again. This 
went on for some time. Then Millicent lost her temper. She 
grabbed a piece of wood "two inches thick and sixteen inches 
long" and beat Ronald about the head. 

Five hours later he died in a hospital. 

THRILL KILLINGS 

Like other types of crime, murder may be indulged in by both 
child and adult solely for the sake of exhilaration. To wish to kill 
another human being simply for the sensation of killing is uni- 
versally regarded as pathological, requiring, at very least, heroic 
treatment by an alienist. The wish to kill birds, beasts or fishes 
for the same reason, however, in many circles is accepted as nor- 
mal. Killing, whether of man or lesser creature, seems to offer an 
expression of power tempting to many. In addition, there are 
killings which occur as a secondary result of other thrill-seeking 
behavior, thrill being here used to denote sensual or emotional ex- 
altation. Witness this deed of derring-do: 



While his father, a produce merchant, happened to be in Cuba 
on a trip, a 14-year-old boy ran across a .32 caliber revolver some- 
where about his home. Probably Dad's, he figured; and if the 
head of the house could play with such things, why not the son? 
And why not call in Phillip, a good friend, to share the "thrill" of 
handling an honest- to-goodness gun? 

Phillip, 12 years old, enthusiastically joined the fun. But just 
handling and playing with the weapon wasn't enough. Kids don't 
get hold of a revolver every day! What further sensations could 
the boys aspire to, with such a thrill-productive treasure in their 



50 JAILBAIT 

possession? Remembering a movie they had seen, they decided to 
play "Russian roulette." 

So they placed one cartridge in the gun's chamber just one 
little cartridge. The host spun the chamber first. He pointed it at 
the floor and pulled the trigger. A click. Nothing happened. 
Then Phillip, not to be outdone in bravado, took the weapon. He 
spun the chamber, pointed the barrel at his head . . . and he too 
pulled the trigger. 

He died in Jewish Hospital, Brooklyn. 

Murder, definitely, albeit self-murder. But who was the mur- 
derer? Phillip himself? His friend who found the gun? His 
friend's father who left it where it could be found? Society 
school parents for failing to instill balance and responsibility 
in the boys, or at least a proper fear of death? 

Take your choice of culprits. But this might be the place to 
point out that not all "latchkey" children have working mothers or 
live in impoverished homes. Neglected children are to be found 
in prosperous surroundings as well! 

All too often, little Tommy's mother is so busy with bridge and 
shopping that she pays little attention to him; besides, she can 
afford a servant or two. Tommy has a backyard to play in, and 
"nice" friends, and does not usually come into contaminating con- 
tact with the crass street delinquency of the slums. Yet in the 
absence of parental interest and guidance, he too can burst the 
dams of propriety. When he does, he may become more dangerous 
to himself and society than his bad-neighborhood counterpart. 

The delinquency problem is one not only of quantity, but of 
quality. There are intensities of delinquency, as well as grades 
and types. Tommy, healthier and with more advantages than 
many boys to begin with, when he does take up crime is inclined 
to go to the head of the class. Thus, the Variety Clubs of Amer- 
ica, which have been in the thick of the delinquency fight for 
many years, report that more than 60 per cent of the "really dan- 
gerous" delinquents come from homes of "middle" or "upper" 
class. These are the delinquents whose crimes consist of murder, 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 51 

armed robbery, larceny rather than simple assault, truancy or 
swiping from the five-and-ten. 

"Delinquency," reported J. Edgar Hoover in 1947, "is in- 
creased by parents, who are too busy with their own pleasures to 
give sufficient time, companionship and interest to their children." 
And such delinquency, among juveniles of otherwise good back- 
ground, takes the form of a "thrill" crime far more often than it 
does among the underprivileged. A good many of the latter's sins 
result from needs for something concrete money, clothes, shel- 
ter, food, play space. Your more fortunate child, who has these 
concrete things, commits misdeeds based on wants for spiritual or 
emotional satisfactions; hence the relatively high incidence of 
thrill crimes malicious mischief grown out of its breeches, and 
indulged in, most often, as a result of emotional lack or stultifica- 
tion: 

A police officer found the nude body of a 10-year-old boy hid- 
den in a culvert on a country road. He had been horribly slashed, 
mangled beyond hope of recognition. There was nothing by which 
to identify him, since his clothing could not be found. 

Months of tenacious police work traced the murderers two 
high-school students who had sought to commit a "perfect crime." 
Reading that the police had confessed themselves unable to iden- 
tify their victim's body, the students had brazenly visited the 
morgue to name him ; and they had helped the police in other ways 
just to see if their crime was really beyond solution. 

No other motive existed. Both boys had money and all the com- 
forts of life. Neither had any quarrel with the murdered child. 

A thrill crime. . . . 

When the thrill crime aspires to murder, the question of how to 
handle the culprit becomes an especially delicate one. Ideally, 
shall he be treated like other delinquents retrained for a period, 
and if he responds, told to go and sin no more? Logically, his 
transgression springs, like lesser delinquencies, from a personality 
disturbance. Logically again, should the disturbance be removed 



52 JAILBAIT 

and the offender reconditioned to proper behavior, he becomes fit 
as a fiddle for the normal life. But the logic goes further. Suppose 
the cure is faulty? The best of men make mistakes and the best 
of child experts. The commendable hopefulness of professionals 
sometimes induces even them to assume that disappearance of 
symptoms means cure of basic cause, when actually it may signify 
no more than palliation. Or suppose the cure is apparently success- 
ful, but new environmental circumstances in the "cured" offend- 
er's later life bring back the same or another personality dis- 
turbance? Will the boy again murder? 

Parallel questions were raised in the recent case of a barber 
committed to a Long Island mental hospital under a diagnosis of 
dementia praecox. More than a year afterward, he was pronounced 
cured and his release sought by the hospital. His family, partic- 
ularly his wife, strenuously objected. She feared him. She re- 
fused to accept him in her household. The hospital, crowded and 
put to what it considered unfair expense to retain a number of 
similarly "cured" patients, decided to make a test case out of the 
barber and went to court. The judges held in the hospital's favor. 
How could they do otherwise? Two noted psychiatrists swore that 
the barber was completely cured, completely normal. One testified 
that the man was thoroughly fit to go back to his trade ! 

Perhaps so. The point is that even eminent experts can be mis- 
taken. Who would want to sit in a chair with this particular barber 
wielding the razor? 

Similarly, releasing a thrill murderer may be justified by the 
evidence but is all the evidence in, and is it always infallible? 
Certain well-intentioned probationary and psychiatric experts are 
stricken by the injustice of holding a boy who apparently no 
longer has anything wrong with him. They claim that in any case 
close surveillance and control of environment can avoid the con- 
sequences of error. But are thorough controls feasible except in 
some form of custody? A slip might prove costly. 

This is no matter of stealing, truancy or the like the recur- 
rence of which does not drastically curtail life. Nor is it a matter 
of murder committed for reasons anti-social, but in a sense ra- 
tional: to get away from a cop, to rob, to eliminate competition in 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 53 

love. The thrill killing, except to the thrill killer, represents the 
height of irrationality. And irrationality, experts notwithstand- 
ing, in the present state of human knowledge remains unpredict- 
able. Further, it would seem that at least something may be said 
for the old-fashioned idea of imprisonment for its deterrent ex- 
ample to others. In Joliet, 111., for example, lives a plump, 
freckled- faced little girl, thirteen years old, by the name of Susie: 

Susie had been entranced by stories in the newspapers about 
Harold, 14, the confessed thrill killer of a playmate. Avidly fol- 
lowing the reports, Susie read that the judge in Harold's case 
finally ruled the boy incapable of telling the difference between 
right and wrong. He ordered Harold released. . . . 

Susie promptly went out and drowned her own playmate, 7- 
year-old James C , in a drainage ditch. 

"I don't know why I did it," she stated to officers. "He hadn't 
done anything. I just had an urge to push him in the water." 

Before confessing the murder, she helped search for the victim's 
body, and was good enough to take up a collection for a floral 
wreath at the funeral. 

SEX KILLINGS 

Included in this group is that most obnoxious of crimes, the 
murder for purposes of direct erotic satisfaction: 

An unpleasant smell lingered about the old well. As though a 
skunk had been paying visits, or something rotten had been flung 
into its depths. The family owning the property on which the well 
stood were planning to sell. To better their chances, they sent for 
a man to investigate the odor. He climbed down the shaft, re- 
turned in a few minutes, pale and shaking. 

"There's a body down there. Maybe two. I ain't sure," he said. 

Police, investigating, took the decayed bodies of two young girls 
from the well shaft. Finally they arrested a flabby youth, owner 
of a shiny new automobile. 

It had been his pleasure, the police testified during the trial, to 
run down pretty girls with his automobile. He would then rape 



54 JAILBAIT 

the newly slaughtered or still-kicking bodies, and fling them into 
any handy pit. 

Such glaring perversion almost never is found among young- 
sters. It is as if they have not yet had time to develop the deep, 
pent repressions or sexual twists which in aberrational adults can 
find release in such crimes. Emotional disease in a child has not 
yet progressed to the point where orgasm may be assisted through 
the sight of blood, the act of giving death, the infliction of pain. 
Adolescent sadism has no demonstrated roots in sex, despite oc- 
casional protestations to the contrary by certain psychoanalysts. 

No . . . the identifying circumstance of most murders here 
called sex killings is merely that they took place during pursuit of 
sexual satisfaction, or as a result of it but in response to drives 
other than sexual ones. Except for the fortuitous factor of sex, 
they might very well be grouped otherwise under rage killings, 
secondary killings, thrill killings and other categories yet to be 
given. Here is a crime, for example, where the sex element is 
rudimentary; fear or accident being the immediate cause of death. 
It involves one Justin, the youngest person ever to be indicted on 
a first-degree murder charge in his community of nearly a million 
population: 

All Justin sought was information. Like Eve, he bit of the 
apple, trusting that the knowledge thus achieved would eventually 
lead him to the sexual satisfactions every male pursues. It began 
when his parents decided to go out with a neighboring couple, 
leaving Justin as baby-sitter with the neighbors' 3 -year-old Celia. 
Justin, aged 14, was known as a responsible boy. His elders en- 
trusted him with the task of putting Celia to bed. 

This was too good a chance to miss. Giving Celia her bath, 
Justin succumbed to curiosity concerning anatomical details about 
which his parents or school should have more fully informed him. 
To fill the gaps in his knowledge, he poked and probed at little 
Celia, examining her in great detail. 

What followed remains obscure. The younger child vigorously 
objected, and perhaps cried out in a way that filled Justin with 
fear of discovery. Perhaps she threatened to tell her parents that 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 55 

she was being maltreated. But in any event, the ensuing scramble 
proved too much for tiny Celia in the water-filled bathtub. When 
her parents arrived home from the movies they found Celia dead. 
Drowned. 

If Justin drowned Celia out of fear that she would talk, he was 
following a pattern by no means unique. Fear whether of dis- 
covery or exposure accounts for a good many of the "sex mur- 
ders" thought to represent aberration or perversion on the part of 
the juvenile perpetrator. 

Other emotions also are guilty of some of these sex crimes, 
particularly rage at being rejected, at being foiled. Such mur- 
ders recur in the history of every generation. Virtually standard 
are episodes of the kind involving, respectively, James who killed 
out of terror, and Percy who killed in anger. Both crimes took 
place in rural areas: 

James, 13, had been sent by comfortable parents to vaca- 
tion at a summer camp in Vermont. Wandering away from 
its confines one day, he ran across apple-cheeked Betty 
strolling down a path near her home. He called greetings. 
Betty, aged 10, was a friendly sort, and curious about the 
boys at the camp. She was glad to join him for a bit of 
conversation, maybe a bit of play. 

The play got rough. James sneaked a look around. No 
one watching but the birds. Anyway, this country bump- 
kin wouldn't mind. He threw her to the ground and as- 
saulted her. 

It turned out that Betty did mind. She shrieked. When 
he had satiated himself and released her she darted off, 
yelling for her parents. James, in mortal fear, ran after her, 
caught her, shut her mouth forever by strangling her. 



Percy, a country boy, had been watching the dogs and 
horses, not to mention his elders. At 9, he did not know 
why he should not investigate certain phenomena for him- 



56 JAILBAIT 

self. Nobody had bothered to explain anything about it to 
him, either at home or at school, where he attended third 
grade. 

So Percy propositioned his neighbor, the 3 -year-old child 
of a soldier absent on duty. The infant didn't understand. 
When Percy tried to force his attentions on her, she pre- 
sumed he wanted to fight and gave back almost as good as 
she got. The resistance enraged Percy. He beat her on the 
head with rocks until, suddenly, she stopped moving. 

"I don't know why I did it," Percy later told investiga- 
tors. He meant that he had wanted only to love her, not 
kill her. 

These types of sex murder are not limited to young children; 
and, as a matter of fact, occur with somewhat greater frequency 
among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 21. It is almost 
always the boy, driven into an emotional corner after he has acted 
in response to his powerful sex drives, who commits the killing. 
The following history is a compilation from court, police and news- 
per reports: 

Rosemary, blithe and blue-eyed, could claim to be one of 
the prettiest and most popular girls in her large northwest- 
ern town. A sweet and lovable girl, too, active in church 
work and Episcopal parish affairs. 

One Saturday, while helping to clean a recreation hall 
where a church dance was to be held, she opened the door 
of an unused closet. A bird, which had somehow got itself 
trapped in the closet, flew out and escaped through an open 
window. "You all had better watch out," joked Rosemary 
to friends present. "That means death!" 

A few evenings later, she went out on a date with two 
girls and three boys from a nearby college. Rosemary left 
them early, to attend a youth meeting at the Episcopal 
church. But the crowd had gone off on a picnic and Rose- 
mary found herself alone. Almost alone, that is. 

We can imagine her hearing a footstep. She turns un- 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 57 

easily. Two attacks on women had been reported in that 
vicinity some weeks previously. 

Before she can make out the intruder, she feels a stun- 
ning blow on the top of her head. Her thick hair saves her. 
She staggers, but fights desperately as she feels strong arms 
tearing at her dress. She claws with her nails, bites, 
screams for help. Her attacker, in alarm, strikes again. 
Still she fights and screams, manages to twist away. Now it 
is the assailant's turn to feel terror. If only he could shut 
her mouth! With all his strength, he plants a third blow on 
Rosemary's torn scalp; at the same time he twists a gunny 
sack about her neck . . . tighter . . . tighter. Rosemary 
is dead. 

Stunned by his own deed, the killer stumbles out of the 
church into the night. . . . 

The crime comes to light the next morning, but police 
find themselves stymied. The only thing they have to go on 
is the fact of a terrific struggle; furniture in the church 
room is upset and broken, shreds of skin and flesh cling to 
the dead Rosemary's finger nails. They broadcast an alarm 
for a person whose face is scratched. Meanwhile, at the 
local high school, good-looking Charles, the same age as 
Rosemary, appears in class with a countenance that looks 
as if cats had been fighting on it. A friend, who had been 
unable to keep a date with him at the church the night 
before the night of the murder cries, "What happened?" 
"Oak poisoning," explains Charles. This does not satisfy 
one of the girls in class, who happened to have heard the 
police broadcast. She gets word to an officer. Charles is 
picked up at school. 

Under questioning, the boy admits hazy recollections, 
vague yet horrible memories as if out of a dream. The 
whole town is profoundly shocked. Charles is more than 
handsome: he is a star athlete, a prize student, a choir- 
singing acolyte in the very church which served as the 
scene of the crime. "Everything we know about him is 
good," reports the church rector. "I never saw him lose his 



58 JAILBAIT 

temper or self-control about anything," states his football 
coach. 

But under the pressure of the police, Charles leads them 
to a gunny sack and a broken pop bottle. He shows them 
his stained clothing. . . . 



Sometimes the emotional atmosphere may not become super- 
charged until well after the incident which identifies the crimes as 
belonging to the sex killings group. Nor need the object of the 
sexual drive be the object of the emotional one the fear, anger 
or jealousy culminating in murder: 

As the long Milwaukee winter began, young Seymour 
found his attentions to pretty Shirley, then 17 or 18, grow- 
ing rather ardent. The girl did not discourage him. On the 
contrary, she welcomed the companionship of Seymour, a 
handsome lad and an honor student at school. Affection 
quickly developed into intimacy. Before spring had come, 
Shirley learned she was pregnant. 

That scared both kids. They were too young to get pa- 
rental consent to marriage without revealing their misstep, 
which Shirley, particularly, was ashamed to do. Keeping 
their heads, they decided that the best thing would be to 
elope. But where could they go? How would they live? 
And would they, so young, find someone willing to marry 
them? Elopement would require thought and planning. 
Shirley took into confidence her 16-year-old sister, Frances. 

The kid sister did not react exactly as expected. Not 
that she wasn't sympathetic, but the secret gave her intoxi- 
cating power over Shirley and Shirley's lover. Perhaps she 
was jealous of his passion for the older girl, or loved him 
herself. At any rate, she teased Shirley a bit, and Seymour 
unmercifully. She took to constantly threatening him with 
exposure. And from later testimony it would appear that 
she did finally tattle to someone parents or friends. 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 59 

Then one day Frances disappeared. A month later, by 
purest chance, dredgers hauled up her body out of the Mil- 
waukee River. She had been shot twice in the head. At- 
tached to her leg, for a sinker, was a 38-pound concrete 
block. 

Two days before, Shirley and Seymour had also disap- 
peared. Police located them in Minneapolis, where they 
had succeeded in getting married and were looking for jobs. 
In testimony later stricken from the court record, Shirley 
was quoted by police as saying that all through the honey- 
moon she had been thinking of her sister and at night 
would cry herself to sleep; she had had "a hunch ever since 
Frances disappeared that Seymour had a part in it." But 
under further questioning by the police, and later in court, 
she attempted to cover up for him. 

Her loyalty did not help Seymour. In an hour and 
twenty minutes a Milwaukee jury found him guilty. There 
is no capital punishment in Wisconsin; he was sentenced 
to life imprisonment. 

Shirley snubbed her mother and others who accepted 
Seymour's guilt. With her baby due in a few weeks, she 
preferred to believe his story to the effect that the killing 
had been unintentional. He had made a clandestine date 
with Frances at the river bank, ran his testimony. He had 
flourished the gun, but just to frighten her into promising 
secrecy about the pregnancy. She had grabbed at the 
weapon, and it had gone off accidentally during the ensuing 
struggle. 

PREDATORY KILLINGS 

Many a mother knows the experience of bringing home a new- 
born child only to find that an older infant becomes so jealous that 
he tries to strike the baby, or even hack at it with scissors or 
kitchen knife. Among juveniles as among adults, the emotional 
crime dictated by jealousy, love, hate, fear or rage need not 
occur in circumstances connecting it with sex. Nor does it have 
to take the form of murder. 



60 JAILBAIT 

Such crimes would differ from those detailed in the sex killings 
group only in that the damage inflicted would be less than death 
or that the fuse of murder is lit by a circumstance other than 
sexual, as in the crimes of the rage killings group already 
examined. 

But a quite different area of delinquency is that which encom- 
passes crime committed in pursuit of robbery or other predatory 
gain. This type of offense, when attaining the point of murder, is 
easily recognizable. Two boys fatally "mug" a third in a hallway, 
so that they can steal his wallet. Or a nervous lad holds up a 
liquor store, someone moves, and out of sheer fright he shoots. Or 
again, a youthful car stealer is challenged by a motorcycle police- 
man. The boy steps on the gas. Pursued, he crashes into another 
car and kills three innocent people. Such examples can be drawn 
ad infinitum from your daily newspaper. 

It may be pointed out that the types of killings previously ex- 
amined were preponderantly the work of children from fairly 
comfortable homes. Predatory killings, on the other hand, show a 
higher incidence of slum-raised offenders, of definitely under- 
privileged kids reared in squalor or want. The pursuit of money 
and what it represents is probably a prime instigating factor. This 
does not, however, rule out emotional considerations. The ends 
sought may be physical, as food or psychic, as power. A child 
who owns a dozen balls still may swipe another from the candy 
store just to see if he can. Here is a killing which took place 
under strongly predatory conditions ; yet who is to say what actu- 
ally motivated it? Approximated from testimony and confession, 
the story goes thus: 

The bus jounced along on the owl run of a freezing winter's 
night. Trying to avoid skidding, the driver kept his eyes on the 
sleet-blanketed avenue. Only two passengers riding a skinny 
blonde in slacks, rather tall, and a shorter, stouter girl, shapeless 
in a thick overcoat. 

Suddenly the driver felt something jammed into the small of 
his back. A female voice said huskily: "Stop the bus and put up 
your hands." 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 61 

The driver eased the heavy bus to the curb. He raised his hands 
and carefully turned. 

The girl in slacks was pointing a gun at him. "Give the cash to 
her," she said, gesturing with the weapon toward the shorter girl. 

The driver handed over his change belt. 

"Now get down on your knees." 

The driver had an impulse to grab the gun. Just a couple of 
kids. But why take a chance? The company was rich enough to 
stand the loss. He kneeled as ordered. 

The tall girl said: "How much did we get?" 

"Thirty cents from the belt," said the other disgustedly, "and 
two dollars from his pockets." 

"Is that all!" 

"That's all I got, lady," the driver told her. "Only had a couple 
of other passengers tonight." 

Without another word the girl pulled the trigger. Three times. 
The man doubled forward, three slugs in his body. 

The tall girl watched him for a minute as he writhed on the 
floor. Then she motioned to her companion and the two stepped 
from the bus. 

The police caught up with them, a week or so later. An officer 
asked the tall girl why she had shot the driver. 

She answered, quite calmly, "I just wanted to see if it would 
give me a thrill." 

That self-analysis by our chilling murderess may or may not 
have been accurate. Anger and chagrin at the slim pickings prob- 
ably helped pull the trigger. A contributing cause might have 
been predatory compulsion, or automatic precaution against later 
identification by the bus driver. She might have been showing her 
companion how tough she was. Or, as she says, she might have 
been merely seeking a thrill. 

In any case, the killing again illustrates that classifying crimes 
through fortuitous association with robbery, sex or other factors 
as being attempted here while convenient, is purely arbitrary. 
The groups necessarily overlap and intermingle. Physical needs 
and psychic ones have been mentioned, but who can be sure where 



62 JAILBAIT 

the physical stops and the psychic begins? Do not undernourished 
glands cause emotional disturbances, and vice versa? Only this 
much is certain that every killing demonstrates some need: 
preternatural need, frustrated need, diseased need and that when 
we become aware of it, we are too late. Murder has already been 
done. 

The situation might be described thus: stimuli of all types cross 
the sensory threshold of the child, evoking responses. He sees an 
apple and wishes to eat it. But sometimes the responses are 
blocked, through flaws in the mechanism of the child or by envi- 
ronmental pressures. He cannot eat the apple because he is too 
small to reach it, or has no money to buy it. Multiply this frus- 
tration too often, add it to thousands of others, and we have a con- 
dition of severe need not for the apple, particularly, but for clos- 
ing the arc of response. It is as if electric current continues to 
flow into one plate of a condenser, building up an enormous poten- 
tial. Finally the accumulation jumps the gap with a flash. The 
boy who never can reach the apple or any other fruit becomes 
frustrated, bad-tempered, aggressive and takes it out on his 
companions. Or one day he smashes the plate glass window and 
takes all the apples he wants. 

Practically, then, the answer to juvenile murder is not to treat 
the offender after the spark has flashed, after the short-circuit has 
caused somebody's death. The barn door should be locked before 
the horse is stolen. If mental or physical flaws keep a boy hungry 
because he cannot respond normally to stimuli, let them be re- 
paired. If environment constricts him, so that he cannot respond 
to satisfy his wants and needs, let the environment be changed, or 
weapons be given him to cope with it or, in an emergency, let 
the wants be anesthesized. 

But is all this possible? Can the potentially dangerous offender 
be dealt with before he offends? Apparently so. 

We shall see in a later chapter that in the schools it is difficult 
to isolate the pre-delinquent or even determine delinquency's pre- 
disposing factors. Schools are teaching organizations, not analyti- 
cal laboratories. But suppose the task were entrusted to properly 
equipped professionals? And suppose they did not look for causes 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 63 

of delinquency as such, but treated indications of any blocked or 
faulty responses of all unfulfilled needs? 

When this is attempted, encouraging inroads into delinquency 
can be made. Under this system, schools and other institutions 
dealing with children serve simply as sentry posts. Whenever 
they notice a child with markedly exaggerated behavior difficul- 
ties they refer him to a central agency, which analyzes the trouble 
and treats it. The agency may use its own therapists and facilities, 
as in the case of the Child Guidance Bureau operated by the 
school system in New York City. Or it may rely largely on co- 
operating facilities and practitioners in the community, as in the 
case of the St. Paul experiment the pilot project of the kind. 

The St. Paul (Minn.) idea was to organize church, charity, wel- 
fare and other local agencies, public and private, into a single 
mechanism to deal with delinquency by handling it in the incipi- 
ent stages. A coordinating center was set up by the U. S. Chil- 
dren's Bureau, with the cooperation of the various local agencies. 
Referrals were made by welfare and church groups, schools, juve- 
nile courts and police to the coordinating center, which would in 
turn determine the proper treatment for the child and refer him 
to the local agency which could provide it. 

Referrals did not have to be on the basis of overt or serious 
delinquency. The emphasis, on the contrary, was simply on be- 
havior symptoms. Thus, the coordinating agency sought any child 
who showed exaggeration of the following long list of behavior 
items: 

Bashfulness Defiance Failure to perform 

Boastfulness Dependence assigned tasks 

Boisterousness Destructiveness Fighting 

Bossiness Disobedience Finickiness 

Bullying Drinking Gambling 

Cheating Eating disturbances Gate-crashing 

Cruelty Effeminate behavior Hitching rides 

Crying (boys) Ill-mannered 

Daydreaming Enuresis behavior 

Deceit Fabrication Impudence 



64 

Inattentiveness 
Indolence 
Lack of orderliness 
Masturbation 
Nailbiting 
Negativism 
Obscenity 
Overactivity 
Over-masculine be- 
havior (girls) 
Profanity 
Quarreling 
Roughness 
Selfishness 
Sex perversion 
Sex play 



JAILBAIT 

Sexual activity 

Shifting activities 

Show-off behavior 

Silliness 

Sleep disturbances 

Smoking 

Speech disturbances 

Stealing 

Stubbornness 

Sullenness 

Tardiness 

Tattling 

Teasing 

Temper 

Tics 

Timidity 



Thumbsucking 

Truancy from home 

Truancy from 
school 

Uncleanliness 

Uncouthness 

Underactivity 

Undesirable com- 
panions 

Undesirable recrea- 
tion 

Unsportsmanship 

Untidiness 

Violation of traffic 
regulations 



Of course, many of the listed items, no matter how marked in 
the individual youngster, may appear trivial, hardly to be con- 
strued as possible precursors to delinquency. Also, some are ques- 
tionable on other counts: for instance, a given amount of sex 
activity may be abnormal behavior for one boy but quite normal 
or even sub-normal for another. Nevertheless, the list serves to 
illustrate the range and complexity of behavior disturbances, 
which, if allowed to fester, may result in juvenile crimes as hideous 
as any committed by adults. 

In Chicago, in 1946, a triple murder came to light well demon- 
strating the issue. It concerned William, a 17-year-old sophomore 
at Chicago University: 

In June, the police caught up with William in a North 
Side apartment not far from the home of 6-year-old Suz- 
anne, who had disappeared some six months before. A 
ransom note had been left behind, bearing fingerprints. 
The fingerprints were found to match William's. 

During the arrest, a flower pot fell on William's head, 
perhaps assisted in its flight by one of the arresting officers. 



THOU SHALT NOT KILL 65 

William feigned delirium for three days. He then con- 
fessed to having got rather drunk at school one evening. 
"It came into my head to go out." He went east, and see- 
ing a window open in Suzanne's home, decided to burglar- 
ize the place. 

Entering, he found himself in her room. She stirred in 
her sleep, and as he moved about, awoke. He strangled 
her. For reasons unclear to him, but perhaps to remove 
the only evidence of murder, he dragged the child's body 
to the basement, where he dismembered her in a bathtub. 
Outside, while dropping the pieces into a sewer, a manhole 
cover fell on his hand and he suddenly seemed to awaken. 
"It came into my head that I had done something wrong." 
He climbed back into Suzanne's room and wrote the ran- 
som note, warning her parents not to notify the F.B.I. He 
thought this would delay search and for a time prevent the 
police from coming after him. 

He confessed also that a few days later he climbed a fire- 
escape ladder and let himself into the apartment of Fran- 
ces, a Wave. He stated he did not intend to rape her, but 
merely to steal what he could find. But Frances happened 
to be at home. She screamed. He shot her, and mangled 
her body with a knife. 

William next confessed that a couple of weeks before his 
arrest he had slashed and strangled a 43 -year-old divorcee. 
She had surprised him during burglary of her apartment. 

The harrowing confession was so unbelievable, and Wil- 
liam himself so queer, that police took him to the scene of 
each crime with instructions to reenact it. This he did to 
their satisfaction, and seemed to enjoy it. But in each case 
there was a period of apparent amnesia. He remembered 
climbing to Frances' fire escape and killing her, for in- 
stance, but could remember no blood or anything else ex- 
cept waking some time later on the floor of her apartment. 
He recalled the older woman's excitement on seeing him, 
and his ramming of the knife into her throat, but could 
recall nothing more. 



66 JAILBAIT 

In jail, William spent most of his time praying. 

He explained to investigators that he got no sexual sat- 
isfaction from the slayings, but did achieve it through the 
burglaries. 

Observation revealed him a marked case of split personal- 
ity of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type. His bad self he 
called "George Murman." He knew that George was a con- 
coction of his own imagination, created about three years 
before, but he said, "George is very real to me." 

The exact motivations and personality quirks behind this hor- 
rifying series of murders would be difficult to unravel. But what- 
ever their nature and cause, they did not appear all at once, 
materializing, as it were, out of thin air. They developed from 
obscure seeds, like a cancer, until finally they drove William to 
kill. They grew out of repressions, disturbances, deep and unsatis- 
fied needs; and while not necessarily pathological in the begin- 
ning, these must have manifested themselves in eccentricities of 
the type listed by the St. Paul experimenters. 

By taking note of such early maladjustment and subjecting it 
to treatment, the St. Paul project made a start at locating and 
curing potential neurotics, psychotics and juvenile murderers. 



St. Paul and Stealing 



THE ST. PAUL EXPERIMENT, COMMENCING IN 1937 AND 
continuing for five fruitful years, marked a radical advance in the 
approach to delinquency. Famous among welfare and guidance 
people, its lessons, nevertheless, remain largely unknown to the 
public at large. 

To understand the St. Paul idea, we need only examine a pair 
of cases chosen at random from those published by the supervising 
authority. 

ANDY 

In the eighth grade at school, tall Andy at 15 was somewhat 
shy with girls, perhaps because of his poor complexion. He wished 
he knew more about sex. His quest for information and outlet 
led him to indulge in sex play with younger boys, and finally he 
was reported to the police. 

Ordinarily, he would have been hauled into Juvenile Court. 
For the first job of the police is to protect the community and 
any repetition of the offense would have subjected them to criti- 
cism. But thanks to the St. Paul experiment, a community service 
for children was available, to which they promptly referred the 
erring boy. 

A case worker was assigned to help Andy, and first visited his 
home to find out if the seat of the trouble lay there. It did. 

67 



68 JAILBAIT 

Serious tensions were found to exist between Andy's mother and 
father, between the mother and Andy. A check with the Bureau 
of Catholic Chanties revealed that these economic and emotional 
tensions were of long standing. But the mother's personality was 
such that little could be done about correcting the home situation. 
The case worker would have to concentrate on Andy himself. 

Noticing that Andy had few recreational resources and could 
find little to do other than play with his father's electrical tools 
and think about sex, the case worker made contact with the 
YMCA, which invited the boy to a party. This experience caused 
him to join a neighborhood club, where wholesome, supervised 
recreation was to be had. Next, psychological tests revealed that 
Andy should have been doing better at school. Tutoring was ar- 
ranged in arithmetic and reading. Andy could not do much with 
the arithemetic, but in three months his reading improved two 
grades! His interest in reading grew much stronger, providing 
him with another effective resource for recreation and self-im- 
provement. 

Most important of all, Andy finally agreed to see "the doctor" 
a psychiatrist. 

He found that the doctor spoke to him about sex as if he were 
an adult! He reciprocated by giving his side of the sex incident. 
This man was a real friend, a fellow you could talk to like you 
couldn't talk to your own father! He gave Andy the sex informa- 
tion he needed, touched on methods of self-control, helped him 
understand what society expected of him. Further interviews 
followed. The psychiatrist was able to report to the police that 
any repetition of Andy's sexual offense was extremely unlikely. 

As a matter of fact, no repetition occurred. In time, thanks to 
the continued effort of the community service, Andy made a nor- 
mal adjustment, found an acceptable place in society. This might 
never have happened but for the help he had received in his school 
work, his recreation, and his personal sex problem. If this help 
had not been forthcoming, Andy could have developed into a 
dangerous delinquent. For reprimand or correctional sentence by 
the court could have scarred him for life, intensifying the very 
disturbances which had got him into trouble in the first place, , , , 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 69 

Despite the encouraging tone of the report, all is not as well 
with Andy as it might be. At the time the project ceased its work, 
he was seriously embroiled in quarrels and tensions centering 
around his mother. He had quit trades school prematurely. Al- 
though for the moment he was happy in a part-time job, trouble 
might ensue from signs of rebellion the psychiatrist thought he 
could detect in him. But unquestionably he had been greatly 
aided, even if he would never come to as favorable terms with life 
as the boy in the next case. 

For Andy came to the attention of the community service after 
overt delinquency had appeared. The St. Paul experimenters at 
first found it difficult to persuade cooperating agencies to refer 
children at an early enough stage, when behavior problems ini- 
tially showed themselves. When this was done, as in the case 
which follows, the project's work proved easier and more effective. 
Potential delinquency was truly nipped in the bud. 



RALPH 

Here was a boy not yet delinquent or seriously misbehaved, 
and who might never become so. Yet at school he was showing 
some danger signs. He had always done poor work, but that was 
excusable, since his parents and teachers considered him rather 
retarded mentally, and he himself figured that he was "pretty 
dumb." The thing was that he had never seemed to care whether 
his work was good or bad. He made no effort to do better, which 
irritated his teachers and got him into trouble with them. Now 
he was doing even worse work. He took no interest at all in what 
was going on in class. When teachers talked to him he no longer 
responded, just stood silently, smiling. 

The community service, after Ralph had been referred to it by 
the school principal, found itself puzzled. Investigation showed 
him to be the second of five children, who got along well together. 
The other kids were all quite bright and excellently adjusted. 
Ralph's father was a good provider who loved his family, and a 
quick and clever person. The mother proved stable emotionally, 
with a warm personality that resulted in ample feelings of support 



70 JAILBAIT 

and security on the part of her children. Why should Ralph, then, 
be a behavior problem at school? 

The answer was provided by a psychologist to whom Ralph was 
referred. Prolonged testing indicated that the boy was not men- 
tally retarded at all; his intelligence lay between high-average 
and superior! He showed particular talent for art. But Ralph 
was less of an extrovert, less demanding, than his brothers and 
sisters. He had not seemed to shine beside them, and his parents 
had paid less attention to him. When the same characteristics 
caused Ralph not to do too well when he first began school, they 
immediately concluded he might not be up to par intellectually, 
and their attitude communicated itself to him. Ralph figured that 
his parents ought to know. Okay, so he was thick. He might as 
well not even try. When intelligence and other grading tests were 
given him later, he made no effort to do well. 

Ralph's confidence in himself was restored not so much by the 
psychologist's findings, but by the new attitude they created in his 
teachers and parents. Special arrangements were made for him to 
catch up in his studies. His behavior problem disappeared. . . . 



The St. Paul experimental project, organized in the form of a 
community service for children, opened new pathways toward 
using existing community facilities. It concentrated on identify- 
ing and treating behavior problems before they could develop into 
serious delinquency and chronic personality disturbance. Its atti- 
tudes, knowledges and findings it passed on to other agencies 
important in controlling delinquency, such as the school and the 
police, thereby helping them meet the problem more effectively. 
It was frankly experimental, elastic and ready to improvise; and 
it operated in a limited area of the city. 

How well it succeeded may be judged from the following tables 
(from the Children's Bureau publication, Children in the Com- 
munity). The yearly figures are reduced to an index number for 
easy comparison: 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 



71 



I. Table showing number of boys arrested in project area as 
compared with the number arrested in the city at large* 



Year 


Project area 


City of St. Paul 


Number 


Index 


Number 


Index 


1937 


161 
159 
120 
100 
136 


100 
99 

75 
62 
84 


1,547 
1,603 
1,857 
1,672 
1,994 


100 
106 
120 
108 
128 


1938 


1939 


1940 


1941 





Data from St. Paul juvenile police division 



II. Table showing number of cases reaching Juvenile Court from 

project area compared with number from 

Ramsey County (St. Paul) 



Year 


Project area* 


Ramsey County** 


Number 


Index 


Number 


Index 


1937 


52 
30 
25 
18 
20 


100 

58 
48 
35 
38 


462 
405 
481 
510 

458 


100 
88 
104 
110 
99 


1938 


1939 


1940 


1941 





* Data from Ramsey County Probation Officer 

** Data from Ramsey County Juvenile Court Statistics 



72 JAILBAIT 

III. Table indicating effectiveness of treatment 





Improvement 








in factors 


Improvement 


Improvement 




affecting 


in behavior 


in either 


Effectiveness 


behavior 




or both 


of treatment 










Num- 


Per 


Num- 


Per 


Num- 


Per 




ber 


Cent 


ber 


Cent 


ber 


Cent 


Total cases. . 


404* 


100 


406 


100 


406 


100 


Major improvement. . 














17 


4 


66 


16 


71 


18 


Partial improvement . 


260 


64 


254 


63 


265 


65 


No improvement 


127 


32 


36 


21 


70 


17 



* Two cases did not seem to warrant judgment on basis of avail- 
able evidence. 



Now the table on effectiveness of treatment applies to a whole 
gamut of behavior problems not solely pre-delinquency or delin- 
quency problems. Limited to the latter, treatment would have 
shown less success on the average, if only because in each case spe- 
cific delinquency factors would have been already entrenched. 

Further, the St. Paul method could be expected to avail little 
against a number of prominent types of delinquency; gangsterism, 
for instance, with its base in mob rather than individual psy- 
chology. 

Nor would it help much against rural delinquency. Out in the 
corn belt, no close-knit marshalling of a broad variety of commu- 
nity services is possible. 

Lastly, the experiment was purely local. What might work in 
St. Paul might fail in St. Augustine, where police organization, 
welfare conditions, services available, ethnological and cultural 
backgrounds of the population, are all quite different. 

So the system of attack indicated in St. Paul is far from the 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 73 

answer to delinquency. Yet somewhat parallel findings by the 
Judge Baker Clinic in Boston, the Child Guidance Bureau in New 
York and various other agencies have confirmed the usefulness 
of coordinated catharsis of early disturbances. In the previous 
chapter it was suggested that conceivably such prophylaxis could 
stave off murder. Certainly it seems just what the doctor ordered 
for certain minor delinquencies on the style of misbehavior at 
school, truancy, running away and the like. To wit: 

For more than two months, puckish Donald, IS, had 
fooled the Lake County officials. Picked up while wander- 
ing the streets of Evansville, Ind., late at night, he first 
told Probation Officer Walter Hammond that he could re- 
member nothing except having been a hobo for a long time. 
He then said he was an orphan from Gary, Ind. Next, he 
concocted a story about his parents having been killed in 
an auto accident. Since he would not give his real name, it 
was difficult to check on him, and he was placed temporar- 
ily in a detention home at Crown Point. 

He managed to escape. He got all the way to Calhoun, 
Ga., before police caught up with him and returned him to 
Crown Point. By this time, Lake County authorities had 
learned that Donald was a refugee from the Chicago Paren- 
tal School. 

It turned out that he had escaped from that institution 
and two others. He had been institutionalized after run- 
ning away from no less than six foster homes! In all, Don- 
ald had been fleeing for five years, traveling through fifteen 
states! 

The boy was identified b^ a relative of his step-father 
who came down from Chicago. "I wish there were some- 
thing I could do," she said. "But he's incorrigible. He 
must have his father's wanderlust in him ... his father 
just up and disappeared about ten years ago, after he and 
Don's mother were divorced." 

Donald's mother remarried, but died a few years later. 
Donald was assigned to foster parents, and it was then that 



74 JAILBAIT 

he began his series of flights. "You know, he's bright, and 
not basically bad," reported Officer Hammond. "He needs 
to be kept busy and given something to interest him. He 
needs strict discipline to keep him under control, too. But 
not a correctional institution. Unfortunately, like most 
states, we don't have just the place for him." 

Donald did not display much affection for the relative 
who identified him. Asked why he always ran away, he re- 
plied: "I don't know, but I was always looking for some 
place to run to. Somewhere there is a nice place. I just 
know it." 

He was told that he would be returned to Chicago juve- 
nile authorities, but showed no reaction. Asked to promise 
that he would not run away again, Donald said nothing, 
just rubbed his eyes with grimy knuckles. 

Donald's case, though an extreme one, seems to cry out for the 
St. Paul treatment! At any point in the saga, perhaps through 
cooperating community agencies a proper home might have been 
located for him. If not, he would have been strengthened and 
guided in adjustment to whatever home he did find himself in. 
Also, the community service could have diagnosed his special 
difficulties, and recommended the indicated handling to local cor- 
rection officers or foster parents. If he had come to the attention 
of such a service immediately after his first runaway, possibly all 
the wasted years that followed would have been avoided. 

But what of other categories of delinquency, more damaging 
to society than Donald's? Stealing, to name one. Do the St. Paul 
and similar experiences offer anything of value in combating un- 
lawful acquisitiveness? 



Stealing in one form or another ranging from petty peculation 
to grand larceny comprises our fourth major classification of 
child crime. It engages a greater number of children, perhaps, 
than any other of the serious delinquencies. The more or less 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 75 

standard type of armed robbery would go something like this 
example from Brooklyn: 

Their high school classmates were astounded to learn 
that two students, Barry and John, had put across quite a 
crime wave. Police arrested the two 17-year-olds on 
charges of having staged ten stick-ups in four days, for a 
net of $1,500. 

"I could give you 10 to 30 years in Sing Sing," Judge 
Samuel Leibowitz told the pair. "But I'm giving you a 
break." He sent them to Elmira on indeterminate sen- 
tences depending on good behavior and success of retrain- 
ing. 

The boys thanked him, saying that they had learned 
their lesson. "When you get to the Elmira Reception Cen- 
ter," advised the judge, "sit down and write a letter to each 
of your victims, telling them how you feel about a career 
of crime." 

Girls, too, can get pretty rough, indulging in armed robbery 
and emulating the sluggings and muggings practiced by male 
guerrillas. In Albany, recently, three girls aged 14, 15 and 16 
respectively were arrested on complaint of a 56-year-old man. 
Two girls had lured him into an alley, he reported, where a third 
had "mugged" him, grabbing him around the neck from behind. 
Then the first two girls kicked his legs out from under him, and 
went through his pockets while he was lying on the ground. 

Such thuglike methods are not rare among girl thieves, espe- 
cially in our larger cities. But, as to be expected, most young 
ladies prefer less violent banditry. Statistically, shoplifting and 
purse-robbing are the most common forms. The girl in this ac- 
count from a Boston newspaper has thousands of sisters all over 
the country. 

The press of rush-hour crowds in the Park Street MTA 
was a thing of joy to a teen-aged South End lass. Today 
police believed they had discovered the reason and it 



76 JAILBAIT 

wasn't psychiatric. They claim that she is gifted with 
feather-fingers, and has taken advantage of the crush to 
open the handbags of at least 1 1 women. 

Last night, the police charge, she filched a wallet con- 
taining $45 from a woman's handbag. This sort of thing 
might have gone on forever, but while monkeying with her 
victim's handbag the thief dropped her own. It contained 
$6, and papers which led to the girl's arrest. 

The instances given thus far, occurring within a few weeks of 
each other in 1949, concerned adolescents. Many prior incidents 
illustrate that purse-snatching, at least, can be more precocious. 
Thus, in Atlantic City, N. J., the arrest of five girls aged 10 to 12 
solved a puzzling series of purse thefts. The children had been 
operating all summer on the resort's bathing beaches, waiting until 
bathers would leave the sand for a dip, then rifling their pocket- 
books. Scores were victimized, yielding cash and jewelry in excess 
of $1,500. 

Another case from Boston, a burglary, has its lighter side. It 
seems that a teen-ager, caught under suspicious circumstances in 
a South End market, complained to police that he had bumped 
into an older competitor upon entering the building. "Who are 
you, a cop?" demanded the youth. "No, you fool," replied the 
other. "I'm a burglar. Go find your own place to rob." After 
some argument, it was decided to go over the place jointly. But as 
the police were arriving, according to the youth, the man fled, 
"leaving me alone without divvying up." 

Either this lad was a colossal liar, as delinquents often are, or 
he was one of the almost countless number of wayward kids vic- 
timized by older criminals. Such victimization, however, usually 
is by a "fence" or other behind-the-scenes operator who uses chil- 
dren as cat's-paws. A representative affair concerns the proprietor 
of a candy store: 

Receiving stolen goods was the actual charge. Detec- 
tives had been suspicious for some time, but were unable to 
pin anything on him until one day a drugstore in the neigh- 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 77 

borhood reported itself looted of soap. The missing soap 
bars were found in his establishment, in the company of a 
10-year-old boy. Questioning implicated two other boys, 
one 12, the other 14, as participants in robbery. 

Investigation brought out that this man had been mak- 
ing a practice of assigning children to steal from five-and- t 
ten-cent stores, drugstores and chain groceries. No matter 
how high the value of the pilfered item, he would usually 
pay a penny or two for it, although on several occasions he 
had been known to pay a nickel. 

Family and friends, when of criminal tendencies, can also be 
the Fagins using kids as dupes. In Ozone Park, L. I. definitely a 
"better class" neighborhood police arrested the mother of three 
for selling a revolver to a 15-year-old boy. Her own 15-year-old 
son connived in the sale. The two taught the purchaser how to 
handle the weapon and gave him other interesting information, 
apparently in hope of sharing in his loot. 

Yet child thieves can get by perfectly well without leaning on 
their elders. Indeed, with independence and resource which would 
be most commendable if put to other use, adolescents can come 
up with projects as elaborate as this: 

A park attendant noticed that shortly after dawn every 
day a trio of youths would enter the public lavatory to 
wash up. On his tip, detectives followed them one morn- 
ing, walking a mile and a half to a spot under Paerdegat 
Basin Bridge, part of Brooklyn's belt parkway system. 
There the boys seemed to vanish into the ground. 

Searching carefully, the detectives finally located their 
quarry in an extraordinary hideout a huge cave under 
the bridge. 

This hole burrowed into the sands of Canarsie, hidden 
from all eyes and "large enough to hold a hundred men," 
was well stocked with canned goods and tea. Here for 
many weeks the three boys had been living on the pro- 
ceeds, the detectives charged, of $6000 in stolen jewels. At 



78 JAILBAIT 

the time of arrest, it was stated, the lads had been induced 
to dig up a chamois bag containing $3000 worth of jewelry 
not yet disposed of. 

Of the three, Robert, 18, and Joe, 17, were arraigned on 
burglary charges. The remaining boy, a 14-year-old, was 
, held for Children's Court investigation. 

It was said that in their catacomb the lads had been liv- 
ing like feudal brigands, now and then throwing wild par- 
ties for friends and retainers. Among these, police located 
two 17-year-olds accused of selling a revolver to the 
14-year-old, who had presented it to Robert. 

What can be gathered from these several examples of the thou- 
sands of cases of juvenile sneak-thievery, burglary, robbery, minor 
extortion, shoplifting, picking pockets, and petty and grand lar- 
ceny which make the records each year? As presented, bare of 
background, they tell almost nothing. Generalization from the 
mere physical facts of a crime is always dangerous. Even with 
fairly complete information, experts can be led into error. 

For a long time it was assumed, for instance, that poverty was 
the one great cause of stealing. The more recent view is that this 
holds true only with respect to the pettier categories; when it 
comes to burglary, armed robbery, larceny in the upper brackets 
and other crimes yielding sizable plunder, a majority of offenders 
come from homes not impoverished. Similarly, there is less chance 
for petty thievery in rural communities; but farm and small-town 
boys are a match for dead-end kids at major pillage . . . and up 
and down the Middle West has run a tradition of countryside 
banditry, from Jesse James to John Dillinger, still showing itself 
in the juvenile crime percentages. 

Yet all farm boys do not steal, nor city ones either. To get at 
the genesis of the juvenile thief, we must abandon the general in 
favor of the individual, peering, if we can, into the particular per- 
sonal circumstances of each offender. Here is a case investigated 
by the New York Journal- American: 

Described as a "svelte brunette from a Park Ave. home," 
16-year-old Mabel had been arrested for cashing 18 worth- 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 79 

less checks in various parts of the city. Mabel states that 
she did it to embarrass her father, "who always ignored me 
in favor of my older sister." She hates him so much that 
she kicks the floor as she speaks of him. "As soon as you 
let me out, I'll start passing checks all over again!" 

Here is another: 

After a series of 12 armed robberies in Brooklyn and 
New York, police finally caught up with tough, thin Frank, 
14 years old. He confessed his crimes, offering no excuses. 
The investigator's report read in part: "Frank . . . is one 
of 23 children his mother has borne to 6 different men, 
only the first of whom she ever married. He is living with 
his mother, his 2 half-sisters and his half-sisters' 6 illegiti- 
mate children." 

A third specimen case began when Marion, at 14, ran away 
with some other girls to Augusta, Ga., a thousand miles from her 
home city. She told Augusta authorities she was 17, whereupon 
they insisted she find work or leave town. She did neither. Marion 
was sentenced to jail. Some eleven days later the Travelers Aid 
Society secured her release and paid her way back. 

But Marion did not return at once to her parents. She wan- 
dered about town on her own until, reported as "suspected of 
shop-lifting," she finally decided to go home. 

In less than a year, she again ran away, this time being picked 
up by police in New York's Pennsylvania Station. Children's 
Court put her on probation. She joined a gang of adolescents 
preying on local merchants, and soon had the police trailing her 
in connection with a shoe store robbery. Sentenced to a year at 
the Hudson Training School for Girls, her conduct won her a 
parole. But she renewed acquaintance with the gang, and shortly 
afterward was again suspected of stealing. 

Then one day, with another young girl, she badly pummeled 
two women and stole the purse of one net proceeds, $11.50. As 
the youngsters fled, two youths came by and chased after them. 



80 JAILBAIT 

Marion wound up in County Court, kicking and scratching so 
viciously that it took three male attendants to hold her. The judge 
gave her a year in the reformatory. 

"Marion's parents are janitors in a tenement" read the proba- 
tion report to the court. "Her father is cruel, and her mother 
drinks. They live in a vermin-infested apartment. Marion would 
share one room with 3 of her sisters. Her brother, 15, is in the 
New York Training School, having begun as a housebreaker at 
the age of 12. Her 7 other brothers and sisters live unsupervised, 
the home filthy and dirty, and they poorly kept." 

These were the "particular personal circumstances" of Marion, 
according to the report, at the time she first left home. 

No wonder she ran away! Any girl of spirit might be expected 
to. And if a lady too young to find work easily, and poorly moti- 
vated toward labor anyway, should decide to make a living by 
stealing rather than some other things she could think of well, 
is it surprising? Anything was better than staying at home. 

Once the ice was broken, once Marion began to steal a habit 
pattern formed. And whom could she find for companions but 
other kids who stole? Her own spirit and her first transgression 
led her to almost unavoidable disaster. 

As with Marion, so with Mabel, the chic and wealthy check- 
passer, and with Frank, the child slum-bandit. In each case, 
something was wrong, very wrong, in the family circle. Such dis- 
turbances almost inevitably show themselves in early behavior 
symptoms, in the school, in the street. But nobody bothered to 
do anything about them. They were allowed to sprout into prob- 
lem behavior, then delinquency. It follows that something can 
be said for bringing all the forces of the community to bear on 
early behavior difficulties as in the St. Paul project! 

Fine. So we are back in St. Paul. But suppose early behavior 
warnings are so slight as to be missed, or do not present them- 
selves at all. Does the same approach work? The answer is that 
if the original delinquency, great or small, is treated before it has 
settled into habit, fair chances for correction still remain. A report 
from the St. Paul records shows how an actual first case of stealing 
might be handled: 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 81 

JERRY 

At 9, this tot was picked up with some other boys stealing 
trinkets from a department store. The police avoided formal 
complaint against one so young, and the St. Paul service took over. 

It was learned that both his mother and father were in poor 
health. Further, they were nervous and highly excitable people. 
When a worker from the city's Child Welfare Department called 
on them, the father promised that he would severely punish Jerry 
so that he would not steal again, but would the worker please not 
come back because it would only make his wife excited and un- 
controlled, maybe hysterical? 

It was decided on this and later evidence that to attempt to help 
Jerry through his family would be futile. What about school? 
The case worker found that he had good ability, that he was some- 
what retarded in reading, but not seriously. But he was over- 
active and erratic, and unpopular with his classmates. He always 
seemed to feel uneasy and, he told the case worker, he now 
thought he knew why. A few days before he had done something 
to annoy his father, and in an angry, emotional outburst the father 
had let fall that Jerry was an adopted child. It was following this 
disturbing revelation that he had let some kids talk him into going 
with them to steal not that he wanted the stuff, or that he didn't 
know it was wrong. 

Investigation showed that Jerry was the illegitimate child of a 
relative. Illegitimacy in the family always gave acute shame to 
his "parents." They had raised Jerry as their own, shielding him 
from outside hurts and criticisms, but greatly demanding and 
over-critical of him themselves. To the case worker all this 
seemed to add up to the fact that Jerry, with the sensitivity of 
children, had felt not quite wanted at home. The insecurity had 
carried over into his classroom behavior. And after finding out 
that he was adopted, thus confirming his suspicions, he had gone 
along with the gang just to feel that someone was on his side, that 
he was accepted. 

Evidence accumulated to corroborate the case worker's analy- 
sis. Take the day she visited Jerry in class. Unlike the other chil- 



82 JAILBAIT 

dren, he did little work while she was there, but made very effort 
to attract her notice. He seemed desperate for attention, for 
friends, for people who would completely accept him and with 
whom he could discuss the many things bothering him. She ar- 
ranged to meet the boy often. . . . 

The report does not end here. But no need to go into the group 
work and other therapeutic devices arranged for Jerry's benefit. 
The point is that through the community service and cooperating 
community specialists in psychology, case work, group treatment 
and whatever else was required, Jerry's disease had been diag- 
nosed and cure made possible. 



What used to be the automobile age is rapidly becoming the air 
age, with youths today as willing to joy ride in the upper atmos- 
phere as on concrete. Of course, this brings the lads new prob- 
lems. Planes are more difficult to get away with than cars. But 
on at least one occasion, juveniles pulled the trick. Their prize 
was a gorgeous two-engined job, formerly the property of the late 
General George Patton. 

Flown to a New York airport after the war from the general's 
old Third Army base in Georgia, the plane had been sold to a 
civilian. Two neighborhood youngsters couldn't stand the strain 
of seeing the great bird lying idle. 

One day they got a rifle somewhere and a few boxes of ammuni- 
tion. Thus armed, and with a selection of sandwiches and candy, 
they sneaked into the plane and pulled a few likely looking 
switches. Managing to get it into the air, they flew it as far as 
Fairmont, Minn. There the gas gave out. They made a belly- 
whopper of a forced landing and walked away unhurt! 

Newspapers throughout the country, delighted with the story, 
made much of the two lads. Bold souls they, hardly to be con- 
sidered delinquents! 

Not so with kids who steal automobiles. These are delinquents 
indeed, eligible for charges of grand larceny. 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 83 

In the United States, a car is stolen every three minutes. Auto 
theft is one of the commonest and most persistent of all crimes. 
Yet law officers ultimately recover more than 90 per cent of pur- 
loined vehicles; partly because few are stolen to be disguised and 
resold. Mostly they are taken for joyriding purposes, or to serve 
as expendable equipment in connection with other crimes a man 
needs a car, and one not to be traced to him, when he wishes to 
make a getaway, rob a bank, run girls or heroin. As soon as the 
job is over he abandons it. 

But it is in the joyriding department that junior excels. The 
spirit of adventure, the release and feeling of power which roaring 
horsepower can give, the love of machinery and chromium peculiar 
to American boys these now drive lads of 21 or less to nearly 
half of all car thefts. They are exactly the motivations which 
made heroes out of the kids crazy enough to steal the Patton 
plane. 

Where stealing for profit is the issue, your delinquent will not 
make off with the car. He will break into the trunk, remove parts 
or tires, sell them to the first junkman who will talk business. 
When it is the thrill of speed, of handling machinery, he is after 
or a private place into which to retire with his girl then he may 
yield to the temptation of an unlocked car door. His driving ex- 
perience is limited, so as often as not he winds up in a wreck, as 
the Patton boys did. Sometimes he never gets started; as in this 
typical press story: 

A pair of 16-year-olds were charged with grand larceny 
today. They were captured by Detectives Thomas Tunney 
and James Green near Fourth St. and Main. The detec- 
tives said they noticed the boys try to enter several locked 
cars, and trailed them. The two got into the car of Wil- 
liam Lloyd, 2 S. King St., and succeeded in getting it 
started by crossing the ignition wires. At this point the 
detectives stepped up. 

Both boys fled, despite warnings to halt. Tunney was 
obliged to fire a shot, striking one boy in the left side. 



84 JAILBAIT 

The latter incident occurred in one of our most crowded cities. 
Your small-town juvenile, when he feels the urge to step on the 
gas, like as not can borrow a jalopy from someone or steal his 
father's out of the garage for a few hours if he does not have 
permission to use it. But to the slum boy a car represents some- 
thing mighty remote, like a hundred-dollar bill or a cruise to 
South America. If he finishes school, and gets a job, and saves 
enough for a down payment, maybe someday he will have one. 
However, he may not prefer to wait that long. After all, he's not 
going to hurt the guy's car if he can help it. What harm in bor- 
rowing it for a while, ditching it when the gas runs out? 

One "incorrigible" car thief, Harry, happens to be one of the 
best friends of the author, and this is said proudly. 

For Harry, even as a lad, showed extraordinary qualities of 
loyalty, guts, and intrepidity. He did not do well in school, partly 
because he grew up in the shadow of an elder brother considered 
more endowed than he, which gave him a feeling of intellectual 
inferiority. But he had only one real fault. He was car crazy. 

At 12, he stole his first one. The cops picked him up as he was 
teaching himself to drive. They let him off with a reprimand. A 
few days later they caught him fooling around under the hood of 
somebody's Studebaker. They brought him to the station house, 
but let him off again. Three months later, he was caught in an 
Oldsmobile with two other boys. This time it was the Family 
Court which let him off, probationed to his own parents. Two 
weeks later he was making off in a Buick when a prowl car gave 
chase. Harry blew a tire and wound up in the ditch. He pre- 
sented such an innocent appearance in court, with his blue eyes 
and baby face, that the judge again let him go without sentence. 
It was on this occasion that the author got to know him, began 
to follow his case. 

Harry admitted he liked to drive. It felt wonderful to step on 
the gas and zoom. But what really got him about a car was the 
motor. Did we appreciate what a motor was, he would demand 
time and again? Intricate, faithful, altogether lovely, much more 
so than human beings. Whenever he got the chance he would start 
taking a motor apart, just to caress the steel and see how the gadg- 



ST. PAUL AND STEALING 85 

ets fitted together. He didn't know yet how to put the thing 
together again, but he was teaching himself; he would learn, all 
right. Maybe he would get a job in a garage after a while. 

By the time Harry was 14 he had a record of stealing nine cars. 
He admitted privately to having "borrowed" others which the 
cops didn't know about. He had served a term in training school, 
where he made friends who found his loyalty useful. On the out- 
side, he provided them with transportation. He was sent again 
to reform school, an up-state "farm." 

This experience scared him. He was 1 7 now, and had no desire 
to spend the rest of his life in prison. No one would give him a 
job with his record, but his family, though disgusted with him, 
kept trying to help. His older brother now worked for a large 
corporation, and managed to get the boy an "office-boy" position 
with a friend in business. 

Harry found the life dull, but stuck and worked hard. He was 
methodical and neat. The boss, though knowing his record, delib- 
erately entrusted him with more and more responsibility. To let 
Harry know that he was considered completely honest, he was 
assigned to handling money. For many months, each Friday, he 
would run the firm's payroll from the bank, quite alone. 

But his prison friends kept looking him up, pestering him. One 
day he showed up at the home of his boss, proudly inviting him 
to take a ride in his new car downstairs. Humoring him, the boss 
went for a trip around the park. Two youths, friends of Harry's, 
had been waiting on the back seat and rode along. One of them 
confided to the boss that the Mercury was "hot." A few weeks 
later Harry was found in an automobile near a candy store which 
had just been robbed by three boys. The car was not his. He 
claimed he was innocent, but his record and the testimony of 
certain unsavory companions who lived in the neighborhood were 
enough to convict him of the store robbery as well as the car theft. 

This time he was put away for a considerable stretch at a re- 
formatory. There, as it turned out, he was assigned to the auto 
shop. He was taught to assemble engines and repair them. He 
learned the use of tools and machining equipment. 

On his release, he could not find a job. His parents staked him 



86 JAILBAIT 

to a set of tools, and he made a living by free-lance repair work, 
pulling down cars in empty lots or in the streets. Then he set up 
a small garage in a village some miles out of town. This enabled 
him to get away from his prison acquaintances. He had just begun 
to do pretty well, when the war came. The Armed Forces would 
not accept him, but on the recommendation of his parole officer, 
and with special permission to leave the state, he was given a job 
in a great airplane factory. Obliged to join a union, he found him- 
self with real companions for the first time in many years, and 
worked hard at union affairs. His mechanical skill, amounting 
almost to genius, was soon noticed. He was given several raises. 

After the war, the plant went back to making automobiles. 
Harry married a highly respectable girl, who bore him a boy. At 
about this time, following a payroll robbery in New York, one of 
the armored-truck guards picked Harry's picture out of the 
rogue's gallery. Cops came to the plant and arrested him. 

Bitterly protesting his innocence, Harry saw all his progress 
destroyed or so he thought. The police had to release him. It 
turned out that at the time of the robbery he had been attending 
a union meeting in full view of several hundred persons! Shortly 
afterward, the plant appointed him to a supervisory post. The 
union elected him one of its officers. 

Today, Harry is a perfectly respectable family man, fooling 
around to his heart's content with his kids and with engines. 

But what trouble and expense might have been saved the state 
not to mention Harry if someone had given him a set of tools 
and some cylinders to work on when he was 12! 



Green Grow the Gangs 



WIRY HAROLD, BETTER KNOWN AS "THE LITTLE Fox," 
had been caught off guard. And, it must be admitted, out of 
bounds. 

At 16, he should have known better than to wander from his 
own block without adequate protection. A couple of "Bishop" 
guys jumped him and gave him his lumps. 

You couldn't let them get away with it! Didn't they know he 
was a "Robin"? Anyhow, they were mooching around too close 
to home . . . Pretty soon they'd be walking in and taking over 
Robin territory. 

The Robins declared war formally inviting the Bishops to 
fight at a set time on a picked battlefield. 

The Bishops accepted the challenge. And so it came about that 
one sultry evening in Brooklyn a group of less than a dozen 
Bishop boys slowly walked up the appointed street. They sidled 
cautiously to within a few yards of the waiting Robins, number- 
ing half a hundred or more. Suddenly a Robin whipped out a 
"zip gun" and let fly. The handful of Bishops turned and ran. 
The whole Robin gang followed in whooping pursuit. 

At the far end of the block, the Bishops melted into doorways. 
Brutal crossfire from roofs and cellars greeted the Robins. Am- 
bush! 

Raked by bottles, paving stones, garbage cans and .22 bullets, 
the Robins for a moment stood their ground, then backed away 

87 



88 JAILBAIT 

in stubborn retreat, fighting viciously. Bishops sortied into the 
street for hand-to-hand battle. At this point the police arrived. 

They found only one boy killed home-made guns don't shoot 
very straight, nor with much force beyond a few feet. But at least 
thirty or forty lads had been pretty seriously injured. 

Police officers reaped a harvest of zip pistols, ammunitionless 
German and Japanese guns, brass knuckles contrived from garbage- 
can handles, blackjacks, baseball bats and knives of all sorts. 
They arrested seventeen boys, aged 12 to 16. And The Little 
Fox? Sent up for manslaughter. It was he who had stabbed the 
dead Bishop. 

So runs the typical juvenile gang episode. Its approximate 
counterpart plagues the cities of America. From Michigan, Mis- 
souri, Illinois, Ohio, Washington, California, Georgia, Alabama 
and a host of other states the reports come in, and from the Dis- 
trict of Columbia. The mountain areas, the coast sections, the 
North, the South no part of the country is exempt from at least 
sporadic outbreaks in the larger, more urbanized communities. 
For gangsterism among youngsters is chiefly an urban problem. 
Its relative frequency increases with concentration of population. 

Now, we hear often enough that all delinquency tends to in- 
crease with concentration of population. The author wonders how 
much of the higher rate is simply a statistical accident, arising 
from the more intensive policing and larger number of children's 
courts available in crowded centers. True, cities have delin- 
quency-breeding slums but farm lands have delinquency-breed- 
ing hovels, and boredom. However, if city delinquency does indeed 
outstrip its country cousin, we would estimate that it may do so 
solely by virtue of the greater urban incidence of gangs. 

Man is a herd animal. It is natural, and good, that he should 
group, whether in the city or the sparsely populated hinterlands. 
The child, on his own volition, begins to do so at about the age of 
four. Early in man's history, perhaps so early that he was still an 
ape or wore gills, he learned to swarm for protection and conven- 
ience. But when one swarm comes into conflict with another, it 
may become aggressive, destructive. 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 89 

Cultural differences different languages, different social habits, 
different economic circumstances, different patterns of supersti- 
tion with respect to the various colors and religions, are thrown 
together in our crowded cities, far more than in open countryside, 
one stepping on the toes of the other. The result? Aggressive con- 
flict between groups. Gangsterism. 

Only in the public schools of certain northern and west coast 
cities, and here sparsely, is cultural separatism beginning to be 
attacked. Helen R. Faust, counseling specialist of the Philadel- 
phia Public Schools, expresses it this way: "If educational plan- 
ning includes delinquency prevention as an objective, special 
consideration must be given to tension areas." 

Schools are the great levelers, the melting pots. Instances of 
school gangsterism, noted in an earlier chapter, have been no- 
ticed to decrease with elimination of color segregation with 
increase in language comprehension as foreign-born rise through 
the grades with more education in religious toleration with 
greater efforts to integrate all individuals culturally into the school 
group. 

Still, even in our most advanced clinics, the young gangster is 
being treated as an individual problem. "John? He desperately 
wants to be part of a group." "Joe is aggressive because he is 
frustrated, and being incapable of individual aggression, he joins 
a group of aggressors." "Mary sticks with a gang for a feeling of 
security." 

All this may be true enough, as far as it goes, but it fails to 
bite into the heart of the matter. John wants to be part of a gang 
group because cultural differences cut him off from the major 
group society. Joe is frustrated because he is black, or doesn't 
speak good English; culture isolates him. Mary feels insecure 
not because she is poor, but because most of the girls at high 
school won't accept anyone so badly dressed, so unkempt; in 
short, so culturally foreign. 

Each is driven to flock with his own kind, inevitably coming 
into conflict with other kinds including the main body of society. 
The tragedy is that the minor groups, quarantined, perpetuate 
their own little cultures their own sets of prejudices, ignorances 



90 JAILBAIT 

and habits. The vicious circle sharpens enmity. And associated 
feelings of persecution and envy make for revolt. 

In New York, where the Robins and Bishops fought, concen- 
trations of population and variations in cultural background are 
numerous. As to be expected, its gangs are many and violent. 
Using them as prototypes to provide a rough picture of juvenile 
gangs everywhere, let us inspect their characteristics more closely. 



Some estimates place the number of New York boy gangs at 
sixty. Others go as high as two hundred. These include only 
gangs which have come to the attention of police, probation offi- 
cers and welfare workers. A count is difficult because the larger 
gangs have "seniors," "juniors," and young auxiliaries known by 
such names as "Tiny Tims." A loose system of alliances runs 
throughout the city, including, on occasion, hook-ups with adult 
thugs and racketeers. Membership may run anywhere from a 
dozen boys up to hundreds. If a list were to include organized 
gangs which had not yet come to the attention of the police, ac- 
cording to one prominent sociologist, Harlem alone would show 
250 gang groups. When a 15-year-old "Black Hat" recently 
killed himself accidentally while preparing his zip gun for a gang 
battle, the Brooklyn district-attorney's office immediately put 
32 gangs under investigation, naming them as follows: 

Bedjord-Stuyvesant section: Tiny Tims, Socialistic Gents, Nits, 
Robins, Little Vikings, Jolly Stompers, Imperials, Dillinger Boys, 
Buccaneers, Brewery Rats, Little Bishops, Beavers, Batchelors, 
the Decatur St. Boys and others. 

East New York-Brownsville section: Black Hats, Bristol St. 
Boys, Musketeers, Comets, Bambinos, Fulton St. Boys and Ges- 
tapos. 

Navy Yard section and Williamsburg: The Allies, Angels, 
Harpo Gang, Latin Counts and Comanches. 

Manhattan and the Bronx boast their own extensive rosters of 
picturesquely named gangs. Queens and Staten Island, where 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 91 

populations are less concentrated and culture more homogenous, 
as yet show no gang problem. 

About seven out of ten gangs are limited to boys of a particular 
persuasion, national origin or color. There are Negro gangs, 
Italian gangs, Jewish gangs. Sometimes the clannishness shows 
in the name: the "Irish Dukes" and "Puerto Rican Eagles." 

The New York World-Telegram reports that gangs have a jar- 
gon of their own. Session means dance. Sneaky Pete a mixture 
of port and sherry, or of either wine with gin. On the bop 
on the prowl for street brawling. It is known that many gangs 
adopt identifying clothing or mannerisms. Robins wear blue hats 
with narrow bands; Beavers, black fuzzy felts. Comanches affect 
studded belts, useful in fighting. Some gangs walk in characteris- 
tic style, with a limp, a shuffle or drooped shoulders. 

The Comanches are one of those groups which have connections 
with adult gangsters who supply money, weapons and advice. On 
one occasion they lent the youths six large automobiles for trans- 
portation to a street fight. 

Typically, a feud between gangs unfolds itself as in the recent 
case of two Harlem gangs the "Sabers" and the "Slicksters." 
Relations between them became so violent that the Homicide 
Bureau was compelled to take matters out of the hands of the 
Juvenile Aid Bureau, the police arm which usually deals with 
delinquency. First casualty was one of the Sabers, 15-year-old 
Joseph, fatally stabbed with a bayonet, an ice pick and a "com- 
mando" knife. Sabers retaliated by attacking a large group of 
Slicksters on Lenox Avenue, and with exactly the same trio of 
weapons doing to death Victor, also IS. Next morning another 
youth was found stabbed at 9 A.M., fifty feet from the high school 
for which he was bound to attend classes. During one of the 
clashes, a girl was wounded by a .22-caliber bullet. In court, 
the assistant district attorney complained, "Each of these youthful 
gangs has its membership graded according to age as Tiny Tims, 
kids, cubs and seniors." He accused suspects of using daggers, 
bayonets, ice picks along with revolvers and what he officially 
called "zipper guns." 



92 JAILBAIT 

Where in the world do children get hold of firearms? 

According to police and city probation officers, one source is the 
reservoir of souvenir guns brought home by war veterans. Some- 
times the youngsters wheedle or "borrow" them from older broth- 
ers. More often they appropriate them in the course of house- 
breakings and burglaries. 

Should money come the way of the youngster by pawning stolen 
articles or via the shakedown route, he finds it easy enough to 
purchase weapons at less-than-particular pawnshops and through 
mail order houses one of which extensively advertises its wares 
in comic books. Ammunition can be bought at sporting goods 
stores, or pilfered at amusement-arcade shooting galleries: "Instead 
of shooting off the whole gun load at the target, you just slip a few 
shells into your pocket." It is said that somewhere Brooklyn's 
Navy St. Gang got hold of a machine-gun and sold it to the Red- 
skin Rhumbas for fifty dollars! 

Home-made, however, are most guns used by the boy gangs. 
With the technical ingenuity characteristic of American young- 
sters, these lads think nothing of converting a toy cap pistol into 
a single-shot arm which will fire cartridges, nails or pins. Many 
fashion their weapons in trade school or high school shops, assem- 
bling them at home. Such jobs consisting of wooden handle 
taped to metal tube, with a filed key to serve as firing-pin and 
rubber bands doing duty to spring the trigger form the famous 
"zip" or "zipper" guns. They take .22-caliber ammunition. 

"We can't stop kids making guns," states Brooklyn's Assistant 
District Attorney John E. Cone, "but we can try to control the 
sale of bullets." He adds, however, that such controls offer tem- 
porary relief at best. "We have to get at the source. Our only 
means . . . lots of plain, simple understanding." 

But understanding is all too scant. The gang killings go on. 



One alarming aspect of the situation is the growth of the girl 
gang. These first became prominent during the war, when they 
invaded the bright-light areas, lured soldiers and sailors into side 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 93 

streets where boy accomplices too young to be drafted would 
"roll" the uniformed men for their wallets. One court report tells 
of a Bronx gang which assigned girl members to waylay the leader 
of a rival Manhattan gang, lead him to a loft and seduce him. 
While the program was under way, the Bronx boys called the 
police, had the Manhattanite jailed for rape. 

According to Bradford Chambers, a delinquency expert who 
made a survey of girl gangs at the time, they showed a low inci- 
dence of venereal disease and illegitimate births. 

This still holds true. But in every other respect the situation 
has become worse since the end of the war. More girls are 
engaged in gangsterism; and they are committing crimes more 
severe. Gang offenses among girls between the ages of 14 and 17, 
in 1948 and the first six months of 1949, ran almost ten percent 
higher than during the peak-delinquency war year of 1943; but 
what police complain of most is that the girls are even more diffi- 
cult to handle than the boys! Bronx magistrates call girl offenders 
more violent than ever before. Manhattan police state, "These 
junior gun-molls are tougher than the guys!" In Brooklyn, an 
emergency meeting in 1949, attended by magistrates, representa- 
tives of the district attorney, police officials and senior probation 
officers, emphasized that the adolescent girl gangster, in that 
borough, too, excelled her boy colleague in sheer viciousness. 

Only rarely does the girl gang function without affiliation. In 
the great majority of cases it exists as the auxiliary of some boy 
gang, to which it gives fierce loyalty. One important duty, as 
described at the 1949 conference of Brooklyn law enforcement 
officers, is to act as weapons carriers to the boys, who thus escape 
seizure and charges. The girls also supply alibis, claiming that a 
suspect boy was with them at a "session" or in bed at the time of 
a crime's commission. Principally, however, the young ladies act 
as camp followers, supplying the lads with such sex as they re- 
quire and fulfilling duties as lures and spies. 

These bands of girls go under such names as "Robinettes," 
"Chandeliers" after a peculiar hair-do and "Shangri-la Debs." 
They comport themselves viciously in street-fighting, although 
rarely using guns. A favorite weapon is the lye can and bottle of 



94 JAILBAIT 

pop. When one girl slept with a boy member of an opposing gang, 
girls of her own group set out to punish her with the lye-and-soda 
mixture detectives, fortunately, interfering before damage could 
be done. On another occasion, during a battle involving boy gangs 
and their respective auxiliaries, one tender lass hurled the mixture 
at a boy enemy. It missed him, struck a wall, bounced back, and 
horribly burned the girl's face, neck and shoulders. Another girl, 
a 1 5-year-old described in the press as "a pretty little miss, appar- 
ently sweet as the breath of heather," was in the habit of attacking 
with broken beer bottles. A week after being paroled for mashing 
up an 18-year-old girl with such a weapon, she was arrested with 
three child companions for beating a second girl, 16, with fists, 
kicking her in the stomach, burning her with cigarette butts. 

The sex practices of these gangsterettes are particularly revolt- 
ing. Homosexualism seems to be unknown, but any member over 
1 2 is expected to give her favors to the boy gangsters. Older girls, 
to curry favor or by command, have been known to procure 
younger ones for the pleasure of their male gang leaders. One 
recorded case concerns a Manhattan girl, a Negress, caught by 
white girls in an East Bronx bailiwick. The girls dragged her to 
their cellar clubroom, where she was forced to submit to fourteen 
young mobsters. 

Probation reports describe the initiation ceremony of the Shan- 
gri-la girls as requiring each neophyte to have intercourse with 
one of the boys of the Tiny Tim gang. Often girls thus initiated 
are no older than 12. It is said that the honor of performing the 
rite usually goes to a specific member of the Tiny Tims known 
to his fellows as "Willie the Lover." 

Judge John F. X. Masterson of Adolescent Court, attempting 
to awaken the public to action, recently released this story to the 
press: 

A prospect was enthusiastic about joining a certain girl 
gang until the induction ceremony was explained to her. 
Then she rebelled. 

The recruiting agent and her friends promptly beat the 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 95 

girl, tied her up and proceeded to brand her chest with 
lighted cigarettes. They got as far as "Bi " in their nasty 
little word game when the girl's screams scared her tor- 
turers off. 

The sordid life of these degenerate girls stands well revealed in 
an incident which took place in the Bronx at about the time the 
enforcement officers were holding their meetings in Brooklyn: 

Warfare broke out between the "Comets" and "Happy 
Gents" at Claremont Community Center, P.S. 55, with 
the stabbing in the abdomen of Carl, a 16-year-old Happy 
Gent. From what police could learn, the trouble between 
the two gangs started when the Comets took some girl 
friends away from the Happy Gents. 

The Comet leader, a 17 -year-old, was held in $15,000 
bail. He had a zip gun in his possession. 

Others held included Leroy, arrested with a sawed-off 
carbine hidden in his trousers leg. He lived with one of the 
girls in the gang clubrooms. Another girl is expecting a 
baby fathered by one of the gang. 

The Magistrate observed that gangster movies and com- 
ics were to some extent responsible for youthful gangs. 
He added about the arrested boys: "They come from sub- 
standard homes . . . possibly from the lowest rung of the 
economic ladder. Ultimately, I suppose, they will be sent 
to jail. That will be punitive action. What is being done 
about corrective action?" 

One form of "corrective action" is the establishment of recrea- 
tional and social facilities, based on a threefold idea. First, such 
facilities keep kids off the streets, where they get in trouble. 
Second, athletic and social events, such as dances, furnish thrills 
and excitement substituting for those otherwise sought in delin- 
quent behavior. Third, a supervised environment is provided to 
make up, in part, for the lack of home life in slum areas. 



96 JAILBAIT 

It will be noticed, however, that the cited battle between the 
Comets and Happy Gents took place in a community recreational 
center. 

All children have a right to play space and play facilities, and a 
society which deprives them of these by compressing kids into 
cities in all fairness should make replacement in kind. Further, 
juvenile play centers can sometimes serve ideally as settings for 
group work therapy. And in the over-all picture, when shrewdly 
conducted and adequately sustained, they will undoubtedly con- 
tribute their ounces of prevention. Nevertheless, recreation, itself, 
fails as a panacea. Nowhere has any significant statistical rela- 
tionship been shown between incidence of play facilities and inci- 
dence of child crime. "Plenty of action at a club is not a cure for 
delinquency, but one kind of preventative medicine," says The 
Child, monthly report of the Children's Bureau, commenting on a 
pre-delinquency program advocated by West Virginia's Governor 
Clarence E. Meadows. And it is "preventative medicine" not 
because of recreational factors but because the latter act as 
honey to attract the fly. Once within the center, the straying child 
must be given the full treatment of skilled analysis, guidance, 
control and social reconditioning or he will stray again, and 
further. 

Thus it often happens that the recreational center actually cre- 
ates and fosters gangs! Gang groups have been known to take 
over the centers physically finding them superior headquarters 
to the usual cellar club, back room or empty lot. 

In New York as in other parts of the country some gang organi- 
zations, it is said, have been rescued for society by means of social, 
athletic or other recreational clubs supported by individuals. Per- 
haps so. A few of these have done some good; the Abe Stark 
project in Brownsville is a well-known example. But for the most 
part these efforts turn out as abortive as they were well meant. 
For the problem is too complex for individual, non-professional 
handling and generally too expensive. And when the sponsor 
runs out of funds, or finally admits he is getting nowhere, in either 
case closing the project's doors its members stray back to gang- 
sterism even more virulent than before. 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 97 

Recreational centers sponsored by experienced private welfare 
groups, rather than individuals, sometimes run into the same dif- 
ficulties. Take the district of the Tompkins Park Neighborhood 
Council, affiliated with the Brooklyn Council for Social Planning, 
in turn associated with the New York Welfare Council, jointly 
supported by Protestant, Catholic and Jewish youth agencies. 
Surely this type of intra-city organization knows, or should know, 
that basic to gangsterism is cultural conflict. But for all its re- 
sources and skill, it meets great difficulty in curing delinquency 
or at least gang delinquency through recreational facilities. In 
the* cited neighborhood, the director of the Lafayette Community 
Center is obliged to report fighting between a "white group and a 
Negro boy." A field worker for the Brooklyn Council investigates, 
and in turn reports: 

Supposedly, three nights before, a trio of Negro gang- 
sters beat up a Puerto Rican boy. Next night, three white 
boys beat up one of the Negro boys. 

Then, on succeeding nights, the groups began to gather. 
Finally a group of 65 white boys threatened to rush the 
community center to seize some Negro boys. These whites 
were reputed to be the "Pulaski St. Boys." They were per- 
suaded not to rush the building and left, threatening to 
return with more boys. 

The Pulaski kids returned, all right. A battle ensued in the 
streets, according to newspaper reports. Though casualties were 
rumored plentiful, no check could be made for as police arrived 
on the scene, the two factions scattered, taking their wounded 
with them. 

In this type of incident, recurring so often in large cities the 
country over, can be glimpsed the origins of some of the rationali- 
zations for gang behavior given by the boys themselves. "Hell, 
if you ain't with the mob, they'll break your neck." "If you ain't 
organized, how can you put them guys in their place?" "They'll 
get you, if you don't run with a gang of your own." "Sure I got a 
gun. The other guys got 'em. You want me to be shot?" "Ain't 



98 JAILBAIT 

safe to walk around without a zip or knife and some friends." But 
the real explanation? Again cultural tension! 

When the recreational project is publicly operated as by the 
schools or police it might be expected to work more potently as 
a delinquency antidote, since it is backed by larger funds, greater 
authority, broader experience. This does not necessarily follow. 
Through inadequate personnel, through mistaken programming 
featuring amusement without accompanying cultural condition- 
ing, or simply through running up against habits too deeply in- 
grained to be coped with except under institutionalized conditions, 
the center may fail to stem the tide, may actually stimulate it. 

Brownsville's Black Hat gang, for example, began as a social 
club a group project for boys showing behavior difficulties, or- 
ganized by directors of the community center at a local public 
school. Directors recall that the boys didn't show enthusiasm for 
the group games basketball, baseball. Never staying long at 
one activity, the boys would "wander aimlessly in and out of the 
school." One director states: 

"Their only interest was in girls . . . not a particularly healthy 
interest at that. They played only rough-house, body-contact 
games. We were always afraid that they'd force one of the girls 
into a darkened classroom upstairs. We tried to watch them care- 
fully." 

The directors saw that the general recreational program was 
failing, that the boys were becoming greater trouble-makers. It 
was then that the decision was made to organize them into a club. 
Three classrooms were assigned to them for meetings, which were 
attended at first by about 75 boys. Under supervision they be- 
haved well enough, and began to develop a solidarity solidarity 
among themselves, not with society. 

Formal meetings dwindled in attendance, but the solidarity 
persisted. Remembering the tales of fathers and brothers who had 
come home from the war just a few years before, the boys organ- 
ized themselves in military fashion. They formed four squads, 
the first being a "striking force of the best fighters," aged 18 
and 19. The second squad was somewhat younger, known as "the 
brains." The third and fourth squads were comprised of 14- and 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 99 

15-year-olds. Each squad had fifteen or twenty members. For a 
uniform, they settled on wearing black chauffeur's caps, hence 
the name "Black Hats." Soon some of the boys took to carrying 
zip guns, objectors being overruled. The gang began throwing 
its weight about, went out into the streets looking for trouble. 
They found it. Other gangs went "on the bop" for the Black Hats. 
A killing occurred, reported as an accident . . . and the rest 
of the story is written on police blotters. 

Apart from the schools, the New York police operate a sys- 
tem of juvenile recreational facilities through the Police Athletic 
League. These are popular, but thousands are turned away from 
the limited gym and play areas available. Police, and particularly 
probation officers, in almost daily contact with the delinquency 
problem, often develop a practical approach which can yield excel- 
lent results if given a chance. An investigation of post-war delin- 
quency by Robert H. Prall, in behalf of the Scripps-Howard news- 
papers, turned up the following case in point: 

Two young Brooklyn probation officers, George Sable and 
Arthur Cohen, voluntarily took it on themselves to do what they 
could about the borough's rising delinquency rate. At Lafayette 
Community Center, in the heart of one of the trouble areas, they 
set up temporary headquarters and invited leaders of the various 
gangs to a meeting. 

As probation officers, they had sufficient authority over some 
twenty-five such gangsters all on probation to get them to at- 
tend. These boys represented eight gangs. They did not greet or 
even look at one another. Officer Sable made a plea that the boys 
jointly agree to stop carrying knives and guns. They made no 
response, just sat silent and poker-faced. Then Officer Cohen 
suggested that introductions be made, and told Two- Gun Rocky, 
one of the leaders, to "stand up and take a bow." 

Rocky rose, stood sheepishly. The others snickered. More boys 
were introduced. Again, snickers. Seizing the chance presented 
by this fleet change of mood, Officer Cohen said, "Look settling 
a fight, you can always get your gun. But ... if you get the 
other guy, the police get you. Or he gets you, and the police get 
him. Either way, both lose. Is that right?" Still more snickers, 



100 JAILBAIT 

and a few giggles. Officer Cohen then suggested that arbitrators 
be chosen to adjust all disputes. "And if the board can't settle 
the argument, then we'll put on a trial by combat, like in the days 
of King Arthur, only with boxing gloves." 

The boys stopped snickering. Officer Sable jumped up and said, 
"Trouble with you guys is that you're yellow!" 

The young gangsters looked at each other. Yellow? Afraid of 
trial by combat? Afraid, as Sable further accused them, of trying 
anything new? 

The two probation men left the room to let the boys discuss 
matters. When they returned, a leader known as "Booby" told 
them: "Okay. The Imperials will go along if the other guys do." 
Slowly the rest fell into line. A board of arbitrators was picked. 

After that, for several weeks, none of the accustomed gang de- 
linquency occurred in the area. Then some of the leaders of the 
senior gangs reported that trouble was brewing among affiliated 
junior gangs. "We've lost control of them kids." 

The probation officers quickly called meetings of the small-fry. 
They induced them to agree to arbitration. At the same time they 
warned senior leaders that they would be regarded as breaking 
probation if they allowed their juniors to step out of line. This 
kept the peace until a few days later, when members of the Tiny 
Tims and Little Robins, a pair of rival junior groups, walked 
into the probation bureau and pleaded for permission to fight. 
"One of the Tiny Tims hit a sister of a Little Robin. We ain't 
standing for it!" a boy told Officer Sable. He advised them to 
pick one member from each gang to settle the dispute with boxing 
gloves. But apart from the gang, the boys weren't so tough. They 
did not relish fighting as individuals. Before an hour had elapsed, 
a Little Robin reported: "We talked the whole thing over. It 
would be kinda silly to fight now. We're calling off the bop." 

The probation officers continued to hold meetings at least once 
a month, at which gang disputes were settled through arbitration, 
or in the boxing ring. More and more gangsters attended these 
affairs. The officers knew enough to remain in the background, 
letting the boys' natural leaders conduct proceedings under un- 



GREEN GROW THE GANGS 101 

obtrusive guidance. They also knew enough to steer the conversa- 
tion around to such topics as sex and racial discrimination, thus 
skillfully achieving a measure of both physical and mental hy- 
giene. They saw to it that plenty of entertainment was provided 
at the center, including jazz bands. 

Thus by easing tensions between the gang groups, by attack- 
ing general cultural conflict, by rendering hygienic assistance and 
using recreational bait the two probation officers without outside 
assistance achieved a result even they had not expected. Within 
six months, almost no arrests were being reported in the district 
for the typical gang offenses assault, disorderly conduct, rob- 
bery, mugging, shakedown. This at a time when such offenses in 
the rest of the city continued at the "normal" rate, or showed 
increases. 

But in all Brooklyn, one of the worst delinquency areas in the 
world, only seven probation officers work through Adolescent 
Court. They handle thousands of cases annually! Under the 
weight of such a load, Officers Sable and Cohen were obliged to 
give up their experiment. Before doing so, they arranged a con- 
ference of state probation officers, judges, a deputy police com- 
missioner, assistant district attorneys, representatives of the school 
system and social agencies, ministers and even one gang mem- 
ber. This work was important. It was getting results. Someone 
should continue it. "We thought the meeting would take up where 
we left off," says Officer Cohen. "But since that time there has 
been no concentrated effort from those sources to do anything 
about it. As a result, even the gangs with which we were success- 
ful have resumed their predatory activities. They are hoodlums 
again." 

Once more the vital lesson: to make inroads into the city gang, 
the requirements are skilled leadership and a sustained program 
aimed at areas of tension. Recreational opportunities themselves 
are not sufficient are not, perhaps, even essential. 

In a climate of larger prejudice, tension and conflict, smaller 
ones become inevitable extending even to recreations and sports. 
Without basic correction, the athletic clubs themselves can degen- 



102 JAILBAIT 

erate into gangs, and often do. To illustrate, we cite court infor- 
mation about one slaying typical of a number which took 
place a few days before this was written: 

The victim, Teddy, 17, was vice-president of the "Light- 
nings," a Bronx stickball team. Testimony is that seven 
members of the "Rockets," a rival team, chased him to 
Union Ave., where he was knocked down, kicked, beaten 
and stabbed. Five shots were fired. A passer-by was seri- 
ously wounded. A bullet still in the body will be checked 
against a .38-caliber revolver and a zip gun said to be owned 
by Rocket team members. Coroner reports that actual 
cause of death was a knife wound. 

Managing to break loose during the fight, the victim 
jumped on the running board of a passing automobile, but 
collapsed on the way to the hospital. He died one hour 
later. Fifty detectives were assigned to the case. Thirty 
boys were rounded up and questioned, leading to arrest of 
five Rockets. The revolver was found On a rooftop, the zip 
gun in an alley; a knife was picked up later in the streets 
which a Rocket boy admits throwing away after the fight. 

The quarrel began when a member of the Lightnings was 
struck by a batted ball, at about 3 P.M. The quarrel 
seemed to be smoothed over, but late that night the seven 
Rockets ambushed their victim as he was leaving a dance at 
Melrose House attended by various Lightnings. 



8 



Sex Exploration 



GIRLS AS YOUNG AS TEN YEARS, BOYS OF ELEVEN OR TWELVE, 

often begin to feel the sex urges of maturity so early has Nature 
herself set the time of puberty. But social law does not always 
conform to biologic law. Later, later, cry custom and morality, 
and the adolescent is left to fight it out with sexual cravings that 
may be more compelling in him than in many adults. With what 
results? In almost any newspaper you may read the equivalent 
of this tragic account from an eastern metropolis: 

Five youths today face prison terms after interrupting 
selection of a jury by pleading guilty to charges of crimi- 
nally attacking a 16-year-old girl. 

The accused include two 17-year-olds, one 18-year-old, 
one 20-year-old, and one 15-year-old. 

The girl charged that the five, with two others still being 
sought, lured her into an apartment where she was allegedly 
beaten and assaulted. 

Now, there are differences of opinion about the culpability of 
simple sexual acts in those years between the time Nature has 
equipped the adolescent for them and the day when society, 
through a marriage certificate, approves. But everyone agrees 
on the horror of rape, whether by juvenile or adult. For it in- 
volves force, plunder, taking without consent all criminal per- 

103 



104 JAILBAIT 

formances quite apart from sex. Not for nothing do most penal 
codes and police statistics class rape among the assaults. Attack, 
rather than sexual consummation, is the real issue. 

Statistically, the incident reported above constitutes a common 
type of joint juvenile rape. Not much can be gathered from a 
bare newspaper story. But in some cases of the kind, greater de- 
tail is available: 

Eight boys, aged 14 to 17, raped 14-year-old Manya last 
night when she went to her roof, clad in pajamas, to air her 
dog. 

The girl's screams caused a tenant to call police, who 
caught four boys after a chase over the rooftops. The 
others were rounded up later in nearby tenements. "I fig- 
ured one more wouldn't hurt her any," said Carl, the 
youngest suspect. "Maybe nothing would have happened, 
we were sort of laughing and one guy kissed her, but she 
got scared and sic'd her dog on us." 

Change the number of boys involved, vary the age and dress 
of the girl, substitute "cellar" or "barn" for "roof," and the tale 
is one which repeats itself endlessly. In the information given, 
and more particularly in the data noted by a juvenile court offi- 
cer, one or two facts appear which are often characteristic of 
joint-rape. Manya, for instance, of Norwegian extraction, lived 
in an Italian neighborhood; four of the boy rapists were of Italian 
parentage. She had matured earlier than most Scandinavian girls, 
and gave an impression of "bursting out of her clothes." The court 
officer also noted that "while she told her story with shame, blush- 
ing, sometimes she would giggle furtively, almost as if she had 
enjoyed the incident." Obviously, this "child" was ready for 
whatever sexual task Nature might have in store for her. Despite 
her tender years, when half-clad and alone she could prove severe 
enough temptation. 

The matter of the dog is also instructive. Most juvenile joint- 
rapes seem to be touched off by some inflaming circumstance, 
some trigger. Here it may have been rage, evoked by the dog's 



SEX EXPLORATION 105 

attack. Any emotion can serve, if only as a rationalization in- 
cluding emotions grounded in racial or cultural differences, of 
which there seems to be some hint in Manya's story. Harlem has 
a case of Negro youths raping a girl they accused of sleeping with 
white men. Alabama and North Carolina have three cases of 
white youth-gangs ravishing white women accused of sleeping 
with Negroes, and two of Negro girls accused of sleeping with 
whites. Or imagine the feelings of a group of frustrated, under- 
privileged, under-cultured and probably low-intelligence slum 
boys coming on an appetizing, expensively dressed lass subject- 
ing herself to her Lord Fauntleroy on a park meadow or in the 
back of a car. To them she may appear fair game with sudden 
emotions of envy and resentment unquestionably entering into 
the beating given the boy-friend and the raping given the girl. 
Rape cases of this variety are routine on police blotters. 

Marijuana has been blamed for adolescent joint-rapes both in 
New York and on the west coast, but the evidence is not reliable. 
Liquor, on the other hand, seems definitely to have been the in- 
flammatory factor in three out of fourteen joint-rapes by juveniles 
in seven cities, reported in the past twelvemonth and in six out 
of nine such cases in rural areas during the same period. Examina- 
tion of eighty-seven cases over a ten-year interval in cities of New 
York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey leads the author to suspect 
that among urban boys the arousing circumstance is never, or 
hardly ever, a dance, petting party or other occasion of erotically 
stimulating contact. These provide their own outlets. If climax 
presses, climax arrives. On the other hand, out of seventeen rapes 
in the rural areas of the same states, fifteen occurred after dances 
or church socials. Perhaps the farm girls keep their boys at too 
great a distance. 

One word more. Juvenile joint-rape is not a frequent crime. 
Many rapes of all kinds are listed by police departments as as- 
saults, sometimes as sex crimes, often without clear indication of 
whether rape was accomplished or intended. It is difficult to ar- 
rive at reliable figures on the number of rape cases which reach 
court, let alone those which never do. Sex offenses of any kind 
serious enough for juvenile court notice, however, would seem to 



106 JAILBAIT 

make up not more than eight percent of all delinquencies. Of 
these, less than two percent are rapes or near-rapes, with only a 
fraction of a percent being recorded as joint-rapes. 

Even among the gangs of the great cities, which, like wolves, 
do everything in packs, a type of morality, shame or caution 
makes boys rugged individualists when it comes to sex assault. 
Although the joint-rape does occur, it is not usually premeditated 
or pre-organized. We have no way of knowing whether poor 
Manya was ravished as the result of a habit of going to the roof 
in pajamas every night with her dog, so that she was noticed, 
and deliberately ambushed by plan. But the chances are that the 
rape was more or less spontaneous, a mob explosion dictated by 
fortuitous combination of opportunity and inflammatory circum- 
stance. 

The conditioning environmental factors must not be over- 
looked, however. The careful opinion of the author is that cul- 
tural tensions and distances create most juvenile mobs and gangs, 
including the raping kind. In New York, tension between Negroes 
and Puerto Ricans can explode into rape in Texas and Califor- 
nia, between Mexican and native-born in New England, be- 
tween Catholic and Jew. But the great offending area is the 
South. In any given year, rapes of Negro girls by groups of white 
youths outnumber all juvenile joint-rapes in the rest of the coun- 
try combined, by a ratio variously estimated at from 3 to 1 up as 
far as 10 to 1. 



Much of what has been said about the joint-rapist applies to 
the individual one. But he is apt to be less a rapist. That is, some 
lady may entice him beyond his powers of resistance, and later 
sorry, ashamed or pregnant claim rape. Or she may tease more 
effectively than she knows, not realizing his low sex threshold. 
Often he is a fellow who wins a girl's consent, only to find that the 
law does not recognize her as old enough to know her own mind 
or body. In which case, he may be charged with statutory rape. 

But considering only ordinary rape ravishment involving 



SEX EXPLORATION 107 

neither the encouragement nor consent of the girl we find again 
that behind it stands some inflammatory circumstance. It may be 
a matter of coming on her when already inflamed by liquor, emo- 
tions or erotic environmental stimuli or when she is in such state 
as to do the inflaming. She is alone. She is naked. She is drunk 
and helpless. She is feeble-minded, and won't know the difference. 
Or, as one psychiatric court worker wrote, "she symbolized the 
boy's unkind mother, and so had to be destroyed, though at the 
same time loved." 

That inflammation which may rise from the girl's circumstances 
accounts in good measure for the rapes occurring in conjunction 
with other juvenile crimes. The adolescent second-story man is 
out for plunder, not sex. But he comes on a girl scantily clad, a 
woman in a scented bedroom. The situation is too much for him, 
especially if he happens to touch her in pursuit of jewelry or to 
subdue her. Lust pulls the trigger and he rapes. 

It is the adult and psychotic rapist who works the other way. 
He plans his attack primarily as sexual, stealing only as a second- 
ary matter when opportunity presents itself, in order to keep 
himself alive for more attacks. 

Among the prior inflammatory influences may properly be 
classed nudity, as at bathing beaches or burlesque shows along 
with comic books, lewd pictures and books, and sexy movies. Yet 
such stimuli may be getting too great a share of blame for rapes 
and other sex offenses. For they not only build up sexual energy; 
they also act as release for it. They drain it off through vicarious 
experience. They provide a partial substitute, as one adolescent 
put it, "for the skin you love to touch." This boy, delegate at a 
high school forum on sex education, remarked: "Movies roused my 
curiosity about sex when I was a kid but later they kind of 
satisfied it." Another delegate told the gathering, "The pictures 
smoothed me up, taught me how to get a girl without knocking 
her on the head." 

Quite possibly, by this logic, the erotic moving picture or 
comic book prevents a far greater number of sex offenses than it 
provokes. 

With rape, at any rate, responsibility would seem to lie in a 



108 JAILBAIT 

quite different area. What would we ourselves do, those of us who 
are male, coming on a tempting girl such as Manya, over pubic 
age, alone and half -clad, in a setting of perfect privacy? Her 
very glance is coquetry, her ripeness a challenge. But we do not 
lose our heads for fear of consequences, such as parenthood 
or arrest. Or we may be satiated, or owe loyalties to another. 
Perhaps we are too preoccupied with the problems of adulthood 
even to notice the girl. We may be physically weak. 

But if none of these deterrents happen to apply, the only thing 
standing between our own selves and rape would be the girl's con- 
sent or conscience! 

Conscience? A voice sometimes of fear fear of God. It may 
also bespeak love, for God and man. But always it is acquired, a 
thing of learning. It is the expression of countless moral teachings, 
warnings, promptings and pressures all the conditioning factors 
which pound the animal infant into a social creature. Ask any 
mother the pains it takes to teach a child to be a respecter of 
persons! The pains have been taken with us. So we do not rape 
after all we have been conditioned against it. 

It is our social teaching, then, our culture, which inoculates us 
against rape. 

Conversely, behind every rape stands cultural failure most 
marked where cultural cohesion is lacking, where cultural ten- 
sions and conflicts emerge. So in individual as well as joint-rape, 
as might be expected, the South leads all the rest. Rapes of Negro 
girls by white boys are relatively highest in Southern rural areas 
the very places where miscegenation is most loudly condemned. 
And since economic differences, as well as those of race or national 
origin, have a separating effect on cultures, scions of rich families 
contribute materially to rape statistics by ravishing servant girls 
in their households. These young rapists are so culturally distant 
that they tend to regard the poor, uneducated and possibly for- 
eign-born or Negro girl as another species, not entitled to respect 
of person or any other respect. 

These attitudes the youngsters pick up from friends and parents 
the latter sometimes going so far as to actually encourage sex- 



SEX EXPLORATION 109 

ual offense. This case, though an extreme one, illustrates the 
point: 

Pale Henry, 15 years old, was arrested today for raping 
a girl of like age. The complaint came from the girl's 
mother, an impoverished cleaning woman. 

The charge against Henry has opened up an array of new 
charges. Henry hates his father who is wealthy, thrice-di- 
vorced and a woman-chaser. But Henry's father supplies 
his son with funds and backs up his absences from school, 
in return for Henry's bringing young girls to their eight- 
room apartment. 

Henry has pleaded guilty to the charge. But it has back- 
fired in all directions. His father now faces trial for impair- 
ing the morals of a minor. And two of his father's girl 
friends, both above 21, and both of whom dallied with 
Henry prior to the present offense, are being sought for 
trial on charges of statutory rape; namely, the rape of 
Henry. 

Nobody knows how many servant girls or field workers are 
raped each year for Dad's bankroll or influence usually can 
hush the matter. Or, as the La Guardia Committee for the Study 
of Sex Crimes put it: "Nobody knows how many low-income 
offenders get caught and convicted because they lack the affluence 
or influence of more fortunately circumstanced offenders." 

For that matter the number of all rapes of or by juveniles is 
impossible to determine or even guess at. Only a comparative 
handful claims the attention of police, courts or gossip circles. 
Penalties in shame and unpleasantness are such as often to seal 
mouths of victims. Families hesitate to brand wives contami- 
nated, sisters less desirable, daughters less marriagable. When 
a rapist successfully operated for eight months around a college 
campus in Tennessee recently to the tune of twenty adolescents 
and women, it was chiefly because many victims kept silent that 
he was able to escape detection so long. And police had reason 



110 JAILBAIT 

to believe that he had raped twice that many, though girlish 
reticence kept them from proving it. 

Incidentally, the La Guardia Committee's report, covering 
rapes and other sex crimes in New York City during the 1930- 
1939 period, remains almost the only statistically exhaustive offi- 
cial study of the subject. Although now dated, the figures de- 
bunked at the time several myths to the effect that most sex 
criminals are homeless vagrants, paroled criminals, Negroes or 
foreigners, or brutish ape-men. The study revealed: 

1. Of 4854 convicted offenders, only 2 percent had lived in 
New York less than a year; only 39 were homeless. 

2. Of 3295 offenders, 39 percent had records of prior arrests 
whereas among felons generally the number with previous crim- 
inal records averages 65 percent. 

3. Of all sex crimes coming to the attention of police, district 
attorneys and courts during the studied interval, 80 percent were 
committed by whites. 

4. Native-born Americans committed 73 percent of New York 
City sex crimes, a high ratio in view of the large numbers of for- 
eign-born residents. 

5. Sex offenders in the period formed no set type, physically or 
mentally. "The majority seem self-conscious and shy, rather than 
aggressive; usually they are of average intelligence." 

One might expect that the ill-favored, the crippled, the 
scarred handicapped in obtaining feminine favors would be 
among the juveniles most likely to rape. The author has been un- 
able to find mathematical verification of this popular view. In the 
previously cited 87 cases from New York, New Jersey and Penn- 
sylvania, no offenders were reported malformed. A study of one 
hundred other boys of 18 or younger detained for rape shows 
one with a clubfoot, two with hand malformations, one a deaf mute. 
I.Q. figures available for 43 of the latter group show three boys 
who might be classified as idiots or morons, and 36 boys with 
intelligence from dull to low-average. This may indicate, how- 
ever, only that it is the dumb ones who get themselves caught. 

The La Guardia report expressed "grave concern" over the rise 
in sex crimes among youths of 16 to 20, This group accounted 



SEX EXPLORATION 111 

for one-fourth of all sex offenses in the period studied. Fortu- 
nately, the boy over pubic age rarely rapes the girl below it. The 
taking of pre-pubic girls seems to be the province of pre-pubic 
boys and of adult rapists. The latter are either too timid to attack 
older girls, or so warped psychologically as to be incapable of 
satisfying themselves except with children. 

In either case, their crimes fall under the head of aberration. 
So do those of the rare juvenile who rapes out of psychotic in- 
ability to enjoy girls except under brutal conditions. This lad 
does not participate in joint-rapes. He infrequently rapes on the 
spur of the moment. On the contrary, his characteristic is not 
only that he plays a lone hand, but that he carefully plans the at- 
tack. This deliberate planning for rape is typical of the aberra- 
tional or pathological rapist. If cure or prevention there is for his 
condition, it lies in the province of psychiatry. 



Aberration used here to denote sex abnormality considered 
criminal or delinquent takes various forms other than psychotic 
urges to rape. But let it again be stressed that regardless of form, 
the aberrational syndrome signifies disease. Sometimes the disease 
is organic, a product of undeveloped sex organs or glands, as in 
certain types of homosexualism involving hormone irregularities. 
More often it is psychological, a warping from pressures without 
or within. 

Any juvenile sex expression, if in frequency or placement 
patently exceeding the norm, tends to be regarded as and incur 
the penalties of delinquency. Yet the excessively sexed and 
under-sexed are equally diseased; both deserve treatment or 
punishment, if the latter is what we wish to reserve for disease. 
Nevertheless, it is solely the excessive sex manifestation which 
gets its day in court or clinic as if potency could hurt the race, 
and impotency not! 

This is based on the surmise that the strong or public sex mani- 
festation may harm or annoy others, or set an example considered 
bad. And so it may. But it can be extremely tricky and unre- 



112 JAILBAIT 

liable as a measure of culpable delinquency. The high school boy 
leaning on a woman in a crowded bus is arrested. What for? Is 
she arrested for leaning on him? Or wearing a low neckline? Or 
being so devastatingly curved that she should know better than to 
poke bust or posterior at a male? 

No; the degree or form of sex behavior gives no reliable index 
of culpability. Consider a rash of homosexual relationships which 
recently broke out among girls at a Long Island high school, 
alarming local civic groups and provoking a local newspaper to 
remark: "When the homosexual problem reaches alarming propor- 
tions, the causes are not individual or internal; they are external." 
Ministers and rabbis in the community took the same view, hold- 
ing for psychiatric treatment of the girls but warning the local 
citizenry that essential fault must lie somewhere in their own cul- 
ture. Parents would either have to improve the general "moral" 
tone and repair psychological weaknesses imparted to their daugh- 
ters or give the kids, as a local physician proposed, " . . . easier 
opportunity to bed with clean, virile boys in which case there 
would be no more of this homosexual nonsense." 

But a majority of prominent residents were shocked less by the 
girls embracing each other than by newspapers and clergymen 
trying to embrace truth. Their view was, simply, that the girls 
were offenders. Hush up the whole thing, and lock them up. Pun- 
ish them. That will teach them better and other girls will fear 
to follow in their footsteps. No need to look to one's self, one's 
society, for the predisposing fault! 

Of course, in all delinquencies there are contributing social in- 
fluences. But the issue here is culpability, guilt. If aberration is 
a matter of doing what in the aberrant more or less "comes natu- 
rally," guilt is not clear. It lies, if anywhere, not in perversion 
as such, but in the uses to which perversion may be put. Should 
it be deliberately exploited for purposes otherwise violating law 
or morals, it becomes as recognizably reprehensible, at least, as 
any other delinquency. 

To illustrate, in New York and a number of other cities since 
the war, boys of under 15 are known to be soliciting in the streets 
as homosexual prostitutes. 



SEX EXPLORATION 113 

These unfortunates probably drifted into homosexual practice 
through sex curiosity or seduction by men. But after developing 
homosexual technique, they begin to frequent bright-light dis- 
tricts, as notably, in New York, Forty-second Street between 
Seventh and Eighth Avenues. There they solicit through bold 
glances and esoteric signs, often lingering in toilets, cinema 
houses and outside bars in the area. More than one sensational 
magazine article has described parties at which these children 
are used. Sometimes they are fed liquor, to heighten clients' 
hilarity. A number learn to blackmail seducing "respectable" 
elderly men, then threatening to talk unless hush-money is paid. 
Police find it extremely difficult to prove anything against them 
combat them chiefly by sporadic drives against "loitering." 

But where does the turpitude lie? Not in the initial missteps of 
the boys; nor in their homosexual necessities, if indeed they have 
them. But rather in the deliberate trading of homosexualism for 
money. 

This is not to say they are more delinquent or more to be 
punished than other kinds of delinquents merely that they in- 
dulge in behavior which is genuine delinquency in the sense of any 
prostitution. Society, by its standards of right and wrong, can 
logically consider them culpable assuming, of course, that the 
boys know what they are doing and know that prostitution is 
"wrong." It can logically attempt to correct them as delinquents, 
if not as sex aberrants. Aberration itself remains chiefly a matter 
for the physician. 



Not so with behavior of the precocious type sex escapades 
considered legally, morally or physically premature. It is diffi- 
cult to know just why morals and law hold juvenile sex criminal 
or "delinquent" merely on grounds of precocity. Where sex be- 
havior develops prematurely as a result of unnatural cultivation 
rather than natural growth, proscription is more understandable. 
But guilt, if any, surely lies with cultivator rather than cultivated. 

Often enough precocity can be thoughtlessly encouraged, in- 



114 JAILBAIT 

deed, stimulated into being, by elders inflaming youngsters 
through erotic pursuits of their own. Thus, two men and three 
women were convicted in the Bronx after pleading guilty to im- 
pairing the morals of minors and possession of indecent photo- 
graphs. Police, raiding on a tip, found the women lewdly exposed 
and the men taking indecent photographs with three children 
present in the apartment! 

But this is only an extreme example of the erotic atmosphere 
which commonly may surround a child in the normal course of 
events. Such an atmosphere is taken for granted in crowded tene- 
ment areas and plantation hovels, where privacy is impossible, 
where children may share the same bed as parents. Incest, rape 
and a precocious sex life are bound to spring from such soil. 

Or the sexual precocity may be deliberately induced by de- 
generate elders, often in quite young children. This constitutes 
true rape in all but the missing element of force, which cunning 
replaces. 

The cunning usually consists, in such cases, of tempting the 
child to an isolated place by offers of toys or candy. Even this 
was not necessary in the many instances on police and medical 
records of adults handling children's parts until desire is created; 
infants so treated cannot be expected to react normally thereafter 
in their sexual responses. The thing is that the sexually preco- 
cious, though perhaps under the necessity of being watched or iso- 
lated for treatment, should be cared for in a way to avoid the 
stigma of detention or "delinquency" or society would be rub- 
bing salt in a wound of its own creating. 

Of course, any man is at the mercy of the child who, acciden- 
tally touched or in sheer mischief, yells, "Rape!" A 49-year-old 
war veteran and his wife, he the employe of a prominent radio 
station in Newark, hanged themselves, after he had pleaded guilty 
to molesting a girl of 8 in a movie theatre. "He is innocent of 
any charge against him," wrote his wife in the suicide note. Who 
knows what peculiar circumstance led this apparently reputable 
husband and father to the alleged crime? Did he take too many 
cocktails that night? Perhaps he mistook the girl's age in the 
darkness. Certainly on the known facts no one can accuse her of 



SEX EXPLORATION 115 

egging him on, but more than once the legal infant has turned 
up whose proclivities for sexual play get herself and others into 
trouble. 

One St. Louis girl of 10 was known to strike up acquaintance 
with a garage mechanic, and visit him eleven times for sexual 
purposes before deciding to complain to police. A maniacal de- 
generate who killed an 8-year-old boy in a western amusement 
park, hiding the body in an unused swimming pool, claimed he 
had been meeting the boy for immoral purposes, and killed him 
only because of the boy's teasing threats to expose him. The boy, 
who came from a comfortable home, had been seen with the killer 
several times by playmates. 

All this must be said not in excuse for criminals or maniacs who 
get themselves involved with children, but in recognition of a fact: 
to wit, certain children, even at early ages, incite elders to sex 
experience even as elders incite them. But only among older chil- 
dren children past pubic age are deliberate incitements under- 
taken with sufficient frequency to be admitted a widespread prob- 
lem. Here we come into the recognized delinquency pattern of 
the "wayward" girl. 

Again, the report on any one case duplicates almost line-for- 
line the reports on thousands: 

San Francisco police yesterday booked five men of vari- 
ous ages from 17 to 30 on statutory rape charges and an- 
nounced they were looking for eighteen or nineteen others 
suspected of having relations with a 14-year-old girl. 

Detective Hawley Edward said the girl, who ran away 
from her Oakland home a month ago, had been sharing a 
furnished room with a man for the past two weeks. Police 
are searching for him. Detectives picked up the girl and 
questioned her, after having observed the five suspects en- 
tering and leaving the room at various times. 

The girl's mother, a widow, saw her daughter in deten- 
tion yesterday. When told the girl would probably be con- 
fined as a juvenile delinquent, the mother said: "That's 
good maybe it will be better that way." 



116 JAILBAIT 

Are such girls really "delinquent"? Surely they are either path- 
ologically nymphomaniac or congenitally feeble-minded. In 
either case, the codes by which the rest of us live pass them by. 
One cannot say "no" the other does not know when to say it. 
Neither can be expected to take care of herself. Yet in very few 
places is help forthcoming for such children. In most states, after 
stopping for increasingly longer periods at "homes for wayward 
girls," they wind up in reform school, then in the reformatory, thus 
completing a course in how to become a prostitute, thief or worse. 

Most boys and girls, when they precociously engage in sex re- 
lations, are being far more normal than abnormal. Further, they 
are sufficiently beyond feeble-mindedness to exercise a modicum 
of discretion. Only when the discretion breaks down do their 
names make the newspapers as "delinquents." Here is a report 
from a beach resort not far from Washington, D. C.: 

Authorities began a crackdown today on teen-age drunk- 
enness, vulgarity and looseness among unchaperoned high 
school girls and boys vacationing at this Potomac River re- 
sort. Most of the offenders are sorority and fraternity kids 
from Washington, D. C. 

Six youngsters from Washington and Arlington, Va., 
were arrested on disorderly conduct charges in a pre-dawn 
roundup, and fined $10 apiece. Mayor Norman F. Brew- 
ington said arrests would continue. 

The offenses involve nudity, rape, drunkenness, rowdy- 
ism and all-night petting parties in cottages, automobiles 
and on the beach. 

Loudness rather than lewdness brought down the authorities by 
giving the show away. Thirty days previously, public attention 
had been directed to similar revels by an unfortunate happening 
near Buffalo, N. Y.: 

The Long Beach (Ontario) Property Association has 
made an appeal to Buffalo and suburban parents and teach- 
ers to chaperone their children when they slip across the 



SEX EXPLORATION 117 

border to spend the night or longer at fraternity and soror- 
ity cottages. 

It is charged that the Buffalo high school students throw 
"wild parties" in the cottages, marked by nudity, "immoral 
behavior" and sex indulgence. 

The charges follow a fight at a beach party during which 
an 18-year-old Buffalo high school boy was shot and killed 
on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. 

Drunkenness, rowdyism, shootings: these are overtly delin- 
quent, to put it mildly. In these cases, they directed attention to 
sex situations duplicated among high school and other juveniles 
in many American areas. But for the most part sex relations, even 
at parties, are indulged in without breaking the peace. Without 
accompanying misbehaviors, it is difficult to put a finger on just 
where the delinquency lies. 

This gives a peculiar quality to most sex "delinquencies." They 
are not antisocial in essence. It would be hard to prove that they 
harmed individual or racial survival. They do not molest, deprive 
no one of tangible goods. They may do psychological damage, but 
also psychological good; for they are as much acts of giving as of 
taking. Further, sex is no less natural than eating or sleeping, 
and, in the opinion of many juveniles, a lot more pleasant. If al- 
lowed to satisfy appetites in one department, why the starvation 
in another? 

Perhaps the socially dangerous aspect of juvenile sex, after all, 
lies not in its precocity, but in the fact that it achieves bliss 
without beatitude. It lacks the sanctification of marriage. Such 
a view has much in its support. Monogamous society's historical 
development bases partly on the idea that primarily sex is not for 
pleasure, but for child-begetting. Wedlock recognizes that eco- 
nomic responsibility must go with sex, for the sake of mother and 
child. 

Contraception has interfered with the concept, whether we ap- 
prove or not. So has the springing up of a general moral tone 
which, in this as in many past ages, assumes sex to be as much a 
pleasure-giving and soul-satisfying mechanism as one for im- 



118 JAILBAIT 

pregnation. Even where contraception fails or is unknown, cer- 
tain national or class groups accept economic support of mother 
and child, without marriage, as enough. This seems a mistaken 
view. It tends to deprive both mother and child of companion- 
ship, of the strengths and advantages of family life, of the atmos- 
phere of love and close alliance which are among the chief social 
rewards of marriage. 

But if pregnancy can be avoided, it remains as difficult to ex- 
plain to juveniles as to ourselves, adults, just why pre-marital sex 
should be frowned on. As for contending that early relations miti- 
gate against married happiness later on, the reverse is often true. 
They bring to the marriage-bed partners possibly more skilled in 
love and in getting along with the opposite sex, and perhaps less 
prone to temptation since "wild oats" have already been sown. 

So essentially the argument must boil down to a moral one. 

How well the moral approach works shall be examined in the 
next chapter. 



Hayloft and High School 



IN BOTH POPULAR AND JUDICIAL VIEW, THE YOUNGER ADO- 

lescent is not mature enough for the responsibilities of marriage. 
But he may be quite mature enough for sex. Why should he 
oblige himself to wait? Practical considerations, as we have seen, 
are debatable, at least from the standpoint of the youngster. 
Moral tenets must prevail, then. He must control himself be- 
cause it is "wrong" not to do so. 

But such precepts coming from society must have some basis in 
the experience of man, some practicality of their own, or they are 
too metaphysical to affect children except through fear of punish- 
ment or the habit of obedience. Only the timid or meek would 
heed them. 

Perhaps the whole idea of pre-marital sex as delinquent sex 
began in religious or moral intent to instil self-discipline and 
thereby make better human beings like fasting on Fridays. Or 
it may link with some theme of denying present satisfactions for 
the sake of greater future ones. This is not the place to weigh 
the merits of such recommendations, which come backed by the 
accumulated experience of society. The point is that while hold- 
ing the adolescent immature, they demand of him behavior rep- 
resenting the height of maturity! The infant cannot wait. The 
child is learning to do so. It is only the person adult indeed who 
can by will postpone today's physical pleasures for the spiritual 
ones of tomorrow. 

119 



120 JAILBAIT 

So, unless its rewards are supremely convincing and well under- 
stood, many juveniles can only look on sex proscription as a pun- 
ishment for being human. Puzzlement attends it, and resentment. 
Such a background in the child makes it easy for biologic com- 
pulsion to overwhelm social compunction particularly when an 
adult assists the process. 

And a willing adult can always be found, in open country as 
well as crowded city. Children who might hesitate to trust them- 
selves to their own generation have been known to throw them- 
selves at elders in whom they have confidence, and some elders 
have been known not to turn their backs. Cases of this sort are not 
so infrequent as might be supposed: 

In an Oklahoma hamlet parents recently complained to 
state police that four young girls had vanished: Nora, 14; 
Lupe, 15; and a pair of black-haired, gray-eyed sisters, 
Gloria and Victoria, 13 and 11 respectively. Thirty-six 
hours before, Nora had had a date with Luke, a "stubby" 
39-year-old farmhand who drove an old Chevrolet. Ques- 
tioned, Luke readily admitted having taken the girls for a 
ride. He said they all had gone for a swim in Rock Pond, 
a few miles away, but they had refused to ride home with 
him, and he hadn't seen them since. "We had no bathing 
suits," he volunteered, "so we swam in our underwear." 
A few hours later, Nora, Lupe and one of the sisters were 
picked up 90 miles south on the highway, trying to thumb 
a ride in the direction of Amarillo, Texas. The other sister, 
Gloria, is still missing. 

The story was played up by local newspapers, which considered 
the swimming episode good copy. They never got the more per- 
tinent facts: 

Gloria, the 13-year-old sister, was later found lurking 
near the fruit ranch which employed Luke. She had been 
extremely jealous of Nora, whom Luke would sometimes 
take to the movies at the county seat. She confessed that 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 121 

she had invited herself on the ride along with her sister 
and Lupe, a friend, in order to push her attentions on 
Luke. They had stopped for cokes at a service station on 
their way to the movies, and Gloria had suggested they 
drink them on the shore of Rock Pond. There she 
made advances to Luke, which he did not reject, but Nora 
interfered. Gloria then suggested a swim to the others, and 
giggling, they went into the water in the nude. They played 
and splashed with Luke until finally she induced him to 
take her on shore where they had relations. To placate 
Nora, Luke then had relations with her. Meanwhile, the 
11-year-old Victoria, aping her sister, was trying to tempt 
Luke. After another swim, he satisfied her. Luke wanted 
to drive the girls back to town, but they decided to hitch- 
hike to Amarillo, where Lupe had a cousin. Apparently 
they were ashamed to go back to town after what had oc- 
curred. Gloria, however, left them a jew miles farther on 
and started back. 

No psychometric or background information on the girls is 
available, but in the opinion of the sheriff none was particularly 
unintelligent. "Weren't bad girls either. Just full of pepper," 
a deputy stated in court. All were dismissed with warnings, in- 
cluding Luke. 

In another case of orgy, this one from an old east coast com- 
munity of less than a thousand population, the adult central fig- 
ure did not find children throwing themselves at him, perhaps 
because he was close to 65 years old. He succeeded in winning 
their interest, and at the same time locating likely prospects, by 
opening the facilities of his home to adolescents in search of rev- 
elry. The account quoted is from a county newspaper: 

A circle of kids from eighth, ninth and tenth grades in 
the consolidated school have been holding sexual orgies in 
the ramshackle farm near here of one of our best known 
citizens. Arraigned last night on morals charges involving 
children, he was held for the grand jury after admitting 



122 JAILBAIT 

paying two local girls from SO cents to 2 dollars for "small 
favors." 

The girls, 13 and 12 years old, gave police informa- 
tion implicating at least eight other boys and girls in revels 
at the weather beaten farm. The 13 -year-old says she was 
first brought to the house by a boy classmate. After several 
visits with the boy, she was approached by the accused, 
and admitted being intimate with him for 2 dollars. The 
12-year-old stated, according to police, that she went 
there with other kids who were "making hay" on their 
own. She said: 

"A lot of us kids used to go see him he would give me a 
dollar and sometimes SO cents and make me promise not to 
tell anyone about what he did to me." 

The first break in the case came when the mother of the 
12-year-old grew suspicious because her daughter began 
to stay out late, and was getting spending money from 
sources the child refused to reveal. The mother complained 
to township police whose headquarters are only a stone's 
throw from the farm of the accused. Divorced a few years 
ago, he is over 64 years old and has two grown sons. 

It will be noticed that both the cited cases like the precocious 
sex incidents in the preceding chapter were given away by con- 
tributing delinquencies; runaway brought official notice in one 
instance, prostitution in the other. 

It will be noticed also that both cases took place in rural dis- 
tricts. This may be the place to bring up the whole subject of 
rural delinquency child crime in small towns, villages and on 
the farm, as opposed to that in urban communities. 



Rural delinquency constitutes a major class in any breakdown 
of juvenile crime types. Examining it here will be no digression 
since in a measure this will help our probe of sex as prenuptial 
delinquency. For in city districts large segments of the popula- 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 123 

tion look on intercourse prior to, or outside of, the marriage rela- 
tionship with tolerance; so juvenile sex is regarded chiefly as a 
problem of precocity. But in agricultural sections the nubility 
of boys and girls at a much earlier age is taken for granted. Sex 
without marriage, rather than early sex, tends to be regarded as 
the issue. 

By F.B.I, figures, rural crime as a whole was increasing at a rate 
at least three to four times as fast as city crime during the 1947- 
1948 interval. Continuing in the first six months of 1949, the ris- 
ing trend included crimes of juveniles, and in 1948 showed a 4.6 
percent increase in major crime categories over 1947, itself a year 
of increase. It would be a gross mistake to look on delinquency as 
primarily a city problem, a product of population concentration. 
It must be remembered that while rural schools spend only 70 
percent as much per pupil as do city schools, almost one-half of 
all children of school age attend rural classes. A report by the 
U. S. Office of Education in 1945 analyzing the last interval of 
full survey, 1941-1942, showed more than 11,000,000 juveniles 
at that time going to schools in communities of less than 10,000; 
the number would be still greater today. And among this great 
mass of kids every form of delinquency is encountered. 

True, urban conditions sometimes breed, sometimes permit, 
certain characteristically frequent delinquencies, such as shop- 
lifting. However, the farm has its own favored types; runaways 
and truancies, to name but two. And small towns may produce 
delinquencies considered quite exclusively big-city stuff, like 
gangsterism. We quote a statement to the press by Ed W. Thomas, 
Superintendent of Lackawanna Railroad Police 

We had a gang of Pennsylvania high school kids from 
Nanticoke and Glen Lyon. They were real hell raisers, all 
armed and vicious as they come. Before we finally caught 
up with them, they had committed 104 burglaries, 100 or 
so stickups, and stolen 157 cars! They smashed yard safes 
with sledge hammers and ransacked ticket offices; and 
when we got them they had a truckload of rifles and hard- 
ware. 



124 JAILBAIT 

They were caught when one of their stolen cars tipped 
over and we got the driver's license. A little tracing 
brought in the whole gang. Funny thing. They were tough 
and defiant when brought in ; but after they started to talk 
all the bravado went right out of them and they became as 
meek as kittens. . . . 

Shakedowns, maraudings, assaults, all the various iniquities 
of the city, are encountered in the country. And country boys 
show every bit as much ingenuity in getting themselves into 
trouble as do city juniors. In another Pennsylvania incident, 
near Lancaster, one 15-year-old went to the length of opening a 
kind of speakeasy in a secluded spot. Parents noted that chil- 
dren were walking around quite intoxicated, so that an investiga- 
tion was launched by a special agent of the Pennsylvania Liquor 
Control Board. His researches led him finally to the "Kinderhook 
Athletic Association" a shack near the culprit's farm home, 
where he was busily selling stolen beer and whiskey to some 
twenty children from neighboring farms! 

But the one great conditioning element almost universal to rural 
delinquencies is sheer boredom; monotony unrelieved by the 
staccato excitements of city life, discontent with unpunctuated 
day-to-day routines. And the boredom may tend to relieve itself 
in sex. 

Boredom lays a tinder for delinquency among city boys too. 
Youthful energy must be directed; youthful interest guided and 
aroused. Unless stimulation is forthcoming from those around 
him, only the exceptionally imaginative or ingenious child de- 
velops the interests to keep him from ennui. Here parent and 
school responsibility are at their highest; and in rural areas most 
often fail. Boredom, along with lack of local economic oppor- 
tunity, drives large numbers of rural boys from the homestead. 
Some head for the cities where, they are told, the big, fast, exciting 
things happen. Others, following the only calling they know, be- 
come migrant workers. 

The problem of these youthful transients has reached national 
proportions, evoking study in states throughout the midwestern 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 125 

farm belt, in Florida, in the Columbia River valley and the South- 
west. The director of one such study for California, Mary B. 
Perry, Superintendent of Ventura School for Girls, declares of 
the adolescents she has investigated: 

"They were not bums . . . but the kind of pioneering young 
people responsible for building the West. They should be en- 
couraged and assisted in making adjustments in California rather 
than be sent back to their legal homes without an analysis of their 
problems" 

She points out that even in towns where housing and care are 
available to other transient youths, minority group youngsters 
find it "almost impossible to get any help outside of jails." In 
truth, in most states only the skimpiest and most scattered serv- 
ices of the kind, if any at all, are available for kids electing to 
seek work in rural areas. Under such conditions, it is less amazing 
that some get into trouble than that so many manage to stay out! 
The migrant picture, as everyone knows, is complicated by 
whole families of farm workers who endlessly travel Grapes of 
Wrath style after the fruit and vegetable and sometimes the 
cereal harvests. Literally, they range from Maine's potato acres to 
California's truck farms, taking their kids with them. Says the 
National Commission on Children and Youth: 

"Our states and communities have not yet built a system of as- 
suring these migrant families the protection and services available 
to permanent members of the community. Frequently, mothers 
have little care at time of childbirth, children have no health 
services, little schooling, no access to recreation . . . and families 
are housed in unsanitary shacks and camps, often without ade- 
quate protection from the weather." 

Some improvement has been observed since the end of the war, 
notably in New Jersey, Florida, California and a few other states. 
But essentially the child of a migrant family finds himself in a 
climate lushly productive of delinquency. Low living standards, 
low cultural levels, hard labor, pernicious monotony, housing con- 
ditions matching those of any city slum, these make it no wonder 
that behavior problems including juvenile sex problems breed 
prolificacy! 



126 JAILBAIT 

Apart from the migrant, the rural boy in general tends to find 
his foremost delinquency outlet in sex. But he may develop other 
diversions much more easily than the rural girl, who even more 
than the boy finds herself locked in a routine, endlessly bored and 
proscribed on every side. Poor girl! Even if she courts delin- 
quency, almost the only way open is through sex! As one " way- 
ward" child told a Children's Bureau interviewer, "There ain't 
nothin' to do and what there is, ain't decent." 

Thus we arrive again at the question of prenuptial juvenile sex 
adventure as a delinquency. 



Some children run away and find sex in response to blandish- 
ment, in the manner immemorial of maidens taken in by traveling 
men: 

A romance involving a 14-year-old East Keane girl and 
a traveling Carnival official led to an indictment today, in 
which he faces Federal charges of transporting the child 
from Vermont to Columbiana, Ala. for immoral purposes. 

Named in the indictment is the 47-year-old concession 
manager of the carnival. It is alleged that he induced the 
girl to run away last summer to take a job in the carnival. 

As often, perhaps, a girl desperate to get away deliberately traps 
the unwary: 

Wilhelmina appears a wholesome, healthy girl, with a 
milky complexion and a ready laugh. She talks with a 
lisp. Complains that her father "makes fun of me." At 
IS, she ran away with 18-year-old Jacob. They lived in 
rooming-houses and cheap hotels, all paid for by Jacob. 

Recently she gave herself up and reported him, claiming 
he had made her run away. Her father supported the story. 
Later facts showed she told Jacob her family beat her and 
made her miserable, and had induced him to take her away 
by playing on his sympathies. After two months, he learned 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 127 

she was entertaining other men during his absences, and 
left her. She then complained to police. 

Would marriage have aided either of these unions? Funda- 
mentally, perhaps not, but no one can be sure. Possibly the 47- 
year-old man and the 14-year-old maid were in deepest love, 
would have cherished each other to the end. Perhaps the mar- 
riage tie and more patience would have enabled gullible Jacob to 
correct the straying Wilhelmina. Yet these are remote possibili- 
ties. Both couples seem to have lacked the requisites for sus- 
tained and happy partnership. Either marriage, if accomplished, 
would almost certainly have ended as disastrously as it had be- 
gun. Only this would have been achieved: the "good name" of 
each girl would have been preserved. 

But is reputation worth the sacrifice? Too often juveniles see 
that in their own circles the "bad" girls get the attention, the 
excitement and at the same time the deep sensual pleasure of 
sex. What might seem to the girl a perfectly justifiable course 
would be the very one which could end in such tragedies as this, 
from South Carolina: 

Jeannette was 15 years old last July. Blue-eyed, red- 
haired, weight 135, height 5' 6". Extremely attractive. 
Was a drum majorette at a consolidated school. Her father 
is an influential county resident. 

Raymond, 23, admits having a date with Jeannette to 
drive to an isolated mountain cabin near Barok, 14 miles 
north in Cook County. They were to double date with 
Gary, 24, and Lou Betty, 16, girl friend of Jeannette, said 
to be very popular with men. The older girl failed to keep 
appointment due to illness, but Jeannette was "willing to 
go to cabin without a second girl." Both boys under ques- 
tioning, admitted sexual relations with Jeannette at the 
cabin. 

A souvenir 8-millimeter Japanese semi-automatic lay on 
the table. Jeannette had been "dancing and drinking pop" 
and was standing ready to leave. One of the boys picked 



128 JAILBAIT 

up the gun and clicked the trigger once or twice. It clicked 
again and the gun went off, grazing the other boy's hand, 
and wounding Jeannette. 

"I picked her up and ran toward the car. I knew Jean- 
nette was dying. I was with her on the back seat and her 
head was on my lap. We were passing John's Ferry, al- 
most at the hospital, when I knew she was dead. I never 
dreamed the gun was loaded, I didn't think you could get 
ammunition for a gun like that." So deposed the stricken 
boy. 

The father identified the body and swore warrants. Both 
boys ex-Marines. A theory that the shooting occurred in a 
fight over Jeannette is being investigated. 

If the accustomed thing in part of a group, sex indulgence is as 
communicable to the rest as the measles. Moreover, sex to the 
affection-hungry promises a way to comfort and companionship. 
Add these pressures to isolation where sex preoccupation prevails 
for sheer lack of any other, as on a desert island or farm, and even 
the most stubborn girl may fall. Examine these events of last 
winter, near Blackfoot, Idaho: 

Imprisoned for three weeks in a snowbound farm during 
the recent blizzards, three couples revealed in court today 
how they had whiled away tedium by swapping partners 
nightly. The participants included Thornby, 32, farmer; 
his wife Caroline, 30; Harry, 25, a friend; and two girls 
18-year-old Lucy and a 16-year-old whose name was 
withheld. Also present was farm laborer Nathan, who had 
happened to drop in just before the snow. 

Lucy and the younger girl had been sent some months 
ago to help and board at the farm. 

Thornby showed the court photographs of his pretty- 
faced but 180-pound wife in a bedroom with Harry, say- 
ing that he had taken the pictures as a gag. All happened 
to be in the house on February 4 when a blizzard hit the 
crossroads with such fury that it was more than three 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 129 

weeks before snowplows could get through. Details of how 
the swapping started were hazy, but all seemed pleased 
by their solution of what to do on snowy nights in Idaho, 
until brought into court. 

The district court judge sentenced the wife, Caroline, 
and Harry to one year each. Nathan and the two girls 
were recommended for probation. Thornby was sentenced 
to three years, however, whereupon Lucy leaped to her feet 
and cried: "He shouldn't be sentenced to three years. If 
he is, then everyone deserves the same." She burst into 
tears and added, "He was forced into it! " 

The court did not permit her to explain. 

Details of the interlude first came to light some weeks 
after the big snow, when the 16-year-old girl suffered a 
nervous breakdown and was placed in a state home. 

Again the pattern emerges. Each sex delinquency won notice 
not as such, but because of some associated occurrence. The car- 
nival girl incurred search as a runaway Wilhelmina gave herself 
up to police Jeannette's sex life came to light through accidental 
killing the Idaho spree escaped investigation until after the 
16-year-old broke down mentally. To what extent juveniles sexu- 
ally indulge each other and their elders is anybody's guess. But 
the author will hazard that by far the great majority of child sex 
episodes never become violently noticeable enough to cause them 
to be counted. 

In country localities more than city ones, the act of sex tends 
to presuppose that the partners are ready for it. Since the step 
from grace, then, consists only of avoiding the marriage obligation, 
it can be repaired simply by fulfilling the latter and often is, 
under pressure of parents or the local community. In remote dis- 
tricts this kind of "shotgun wedding" results in a surprising num- 
ber of unions at early ages. Another effect is the frequency of 
unions between child brides as young as 11 or 12 and men not 
merely mature, but sometimes in their dotage and, less often, 
between youths and older women. Resolving delinquency in this 
manner (except perhaps where pregnancy is involved) may not 



130 JAILBAIT 

appeal to us, but there is no use being holier-than-thou about it. 
If the marriages fail to work out, divorce or death of the older 
partner is always a rescuing possibility. In any case, it keeps 
both partners within the pale. They avoid the stigma of "immoral- 
ity" or "delinquency" and, as might happen in the case of a 
young girl, the institutionalization which could only lead to worse 
things. 

To "civilized" folk, though admitting that such marriage may 
serve a purpose, the idea fails to appeal for one important reason ; 
it may deprive a child of the rights of childhood. But it must be 
remembered that the adolescent on a Kentucky plantation or in 
the Ozark mountains may not want play and school and lack of 
social responsibility considering himself quite ready for adult 
life, including parenthood. And so he or she may well be, by 
the demands and standards of the particular community. 

Many rural pregnancies among juveniles, particularly, are set- 
tled by marriage. In a good many states the law is such that if 
children are too young for legal marriage, they are probably too 
young for pregnancy. If the male participant is already married 
to someone else when pregnancy reveals itself, perhaps a substitute 
can be found willing to become the husband. But if the girl is of 
evil reputation or otherwise ineligible for marriage, solution of 
illegitimate pregnancy becomes difficult. In the eyes of all, she 
stands manifestly delinquent. The responsibilities of both mater- 
nity and paternity may then become exceptionally tangled, as in 
this instance from rural Indiana. 

When Florence, 17, brought a paternity suit against 
Caspar, 19, the defense attorney wanted to show that prac- 
tically anyone could have been the father of her child. He 
called on ten youths, all farm boys like the defendant and 
all 21 or younger, who testified in court that they had had 
relations with Florence at about the time the baby was 
conceived. 

"This is a terrible situation," said the Circuit Judge. 
"I'm not sure what to do!" 

The paternity case was then dismissed, and all eleven 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 131 

lads were charged with contributing to the delinquency of 
a minor, since Florence had been 16 when the intimacies 
had begun. The testimony stated that it had been a "popu- 
lar sport" to take her riding with a group of boys, then give 
her a choice of walking home or submitting to sexual rela- 
tions. 

At the second trial, rather than deny the previous testi- 
mony and incur perjury, the boys and their parents ac- 
cepted the suggestion of the defense attorney to set up a 
trust fund for support of the infant. The judge acceded to 
the idea, and $1,375 was deposited in the girl's name. 

The deputy sheriff who headed investigation of the case 
said the incident was part of a rising wave of juvenile delin- 
quency in the Ft. Wayne area. "We still are trying to trace 
this mess to marijuana in the village where these young 
people live." He described it as a close-knit farm commu- 
nity of about 500, mostly of French-Canadian extraction. 
"This was a hard lesson for everyone," the deputy said, 
"but every so often in every town delinquency gets out of 
hand. Then you have to crack down hard with an ob- 
ject lesson." 

The girl, reached at her family's farm, said: "I'm going 
to stay right here and raise my baby to be a good boy." 

This lass was lucky. Not because of the trust fund. But be- 
cause she had had a home during gestation, and now would have 
one in which to raise the child. 

On the farm and in the city, when for one reason or another a 
girl becomes pregnant outside of marriage, she needs help badly. 
Often she gets it, from family, friends or the illicit father. But 
many girls must suffer through alone. At present rates, a mini- 
mum of 100,000 illegitimate births occur annually. The maximum 
is another of those "guess" figures so prevalent in estimates of 
delinquency, particularly sex delinquency. Some authorities state 
that for each recorded illegitimacy, another goes unrecorded. This 
would bring the annual total to somewhere near 200,000. But 
the producers of a recent Hollywood movie on the subject claim 



132 JAILBAIT 

that a tour of public and private homes for unwed mothers in 
California turned up figures which, by extension, would mean a 
national total of 200,000 cases annually among girls of 11 to 18 
alone! 

Unfortunately for accuracy though fortunately for the babies 
who thus avoid stigma! only 34 states keep records of illegiti- 
macy. This explains much of the confusion in figures. But in 
1946, the last fully surveyed year, these states showed 95,393 such 
births. And approximately half the mothers were adolescents. 

It would seem, then, that at least two or three of every hundred 
babies are illegitimate, and that at least 40,000 to 50,000 "juve- 
niles" become unwed mothers each year. 

What happens to these mothers of children, who are really 
children themselves? 



Prenuptial sex being generally considered immoral, and this 
view being reflected in statutes which make it illegal, let us grant 
that the unwed teen-age mother is a delinquent. 

But the crime is not so great that society may not consider her 
shame and pain sufficient price for the delinquent act. Also, the 
act is of a nature to make its own restitution. The sinner brings 
society a gift. For the sake of its own health, society may wish 
to accept this gift and give the child as good a start as possible. It 
may wish to guard the mother against further difficulties, her 
trouble meaning trouble to itself. Or it may simply wish to serve 
her and the child out of humaneness. 

So a split has appeared in society's machinery. In most states, 
statutes arbitrarily classifying the mother as a delinquent remain 
on the books but private and public welfare facilities hope no- 
body puts in a complaint against the young lady; they certainly 
won't. 

Thus, in New York City, a paradoxical situation exists. If par- 
ents put in a complaint against a pregnant daughter, the Girl's 
Term in Magistrates' Court and other judicial divisions dealing 
with teen-agers must arbitrarily sentence her. The girl is sent 
away to Westfield State Farm or the correction home of the Sisters 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 133 

of the Good Shepherd. She is allowed one month at a hospital to 
bear the baby, then is sent back to the institution to finish her 
sentence. The baby may be returned to her if the institution has 
facilities for it, or it may spend its first, formative months away 
from its mother in such places as the New York Foundling Hos- 
pital. 

If only the parents would not complain and often the judges 
beg them not to the erring girls would escape spending the preg- 
nancy period surrounded by purse-snatchers, prostitutes, psycho- 
pathic degenerates. Says Chief Magistrate Bromberger: "Such 
girls may be tenderly cared for at home, or through home efforts 
and facilities processed through public agencies such as the Wel- 
fare and Hospital Departments." 

In New York, should the unwed mother avoid being sent away 
as a wayward minor on somebody's complaint, she can get excel- 
lent help from several agencies. The Welfare Department, for 
example, will not preach or ask questions, will assist with financial 
and medical aid, and if called upon to do so may even supply legal 
assistance in suing the father for support. Similar services are 
available in Chicago, Los Angeles and a number of other cities. 
But the same divided approach often prevails, some girls being 
well cared for others winding up in reform homes and institu- 
tions as sexual delinquents. 

The split, of course, reflects a cleavage of opinion throughout 
the population. In a rural area, the girl may have a better chance 
to get the support she needs at home, perhaps because rural fami- 
lies are closer knit and require more to knock them apart or it 
may be just that welfare facilities are not as available as in the 
cities. But many a rural child-mother finds herself obliged by 
stern attitudes to leave home, whereupon she probably heads for 
a city to swell the ranks of girls requiring assistance. In some 
communities, she can get it. Others refuse it on the ground that 
she is a non-resident. In many she is considered strictly a delin- 
quent, eligible for help only through banishment to an institution. 
And in all cities, whether or not they wish to treat her generously, 
facilities are likely to be woefully short. In the whole United 
States, there are not more than 225 listed pregnancy homes to 
which an unwed mother can voluntarily gain admittance. These 



134 JAILBAIT 

can accommodate more than 30,000 annually, but this figure in- 
cludes adult as well as adolescent mothers, the latter often finding 
themselves crowded out. 

As an alternative more attractive than suicide, a certain number 
are driven into so called "black market hospitals" which derive a 
profit from supplying babies for adoption in return for a fee. At 
these illegal, unsanitary dives, the pregnant girl works in return 
for her keep, has her baby at the hands of inept, unqualified prac- 
titioners. The infant is then taken from her, a birth certificate 
forged, and the mother driven into the street. The remaining 
choice is abortion except that most girls have scruples against it 
or can't afford it. 

The situation does not reflect credit upon us. Statistically, un- 
wed mothers represent a cross section of the population. As a 
group they show no special drawbacks in intelligence or other 
inferiority as human material. Often enough it is the relatively 
innocent girl who gets into trouble, rather than "bad" ones who 
know about contraceptives and abortions. And the unwed moth- 
er's crime, if any, is against herself and her baby; she has the 
same social right to be defended from crime as any of us. Justice, 
if not mercy, indicates that she be provided the help she needs. 



Some 5 to 7 per cent of all delinquencies acted on in juvenile 
courts are listed as sex delinquencies. Various rapes and allied 
types of assault are listed in the "injury to person" category rather 
than as sex offenses. Sex indecencies, by their nature, are often 
prevented from reaching court by folks moving heaven and earth 
to keep them private. Further, it is the girls who tend to get them- 
selves arrested for sex indulgence; even the law and its officers 
seem to pursue a kind of double standard, arresting a girl for 
promiscuity but not the boys who have been partners to it. Thus, 
in 1944, 3 percent of all boys disposed of in juvenile courts were 
reported as sex offenders, and 18 percent of girls. In 1945, the 
percentages ran exactly the same. Later breakdowns are not com- 
plete, but it would appear that if participant boys were hauled 
into court along with their girl friends, the number of sex offend- 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 135 

ers would reveal itself as much higher. From this, the author 
feels safe in estimating that sex offenses comprise a good 8 to 10 
percent of all delinquencies. 

But that does not complete the statistical story. Sex offenses 
are highly private crimes. Robberies nearly always are reported, 
bringing reaction from police. Sex delinquencies, far more often 
than not, go completely unreported. Most, as we have seen, would 
never reach public notice at all were it not for some accompanying 
delinquency. 

We may deduce, then, that sex delinquencies raise the total of 
delinquency, and comprise a part of that total, to a far greater 
extent than is at first apparent. The facts on unwed mothers, 
along with numerous though fragmentary figures compiled by 
various social agencies, courts, probation groups, the New York 
Academy of Medicine, and such individual researchers as Kinsey, 
would seem to bear this out. It also must be borne in mind that in 
rural areas, where sex offenses may be relatively most numerous, 
they most rarely reach court. 

In brief, it may not be quite true, as one Chicago daily 
screamed in an alarmed banner, that: MORALS BREAKDOWN 
THREATENS YOUTH OF COUNTRY. But juvenile sex delin- 
quency is far more prevalent than generally suspected. 

Evidently, then, moral proscriptions and prohibitions are not 
achieving any startling success in stemming the sex proclivities 
of youngsters. Why? 

Is it because the promises of later reward seem false, the game 
of waiting not worth the candle? Possibly. 

But we have seen that sex delinquency, in case after case, oc- 
curred in association with other and usually more severe delin- 
quencies or behavior problems. Promiscuous sex, precocious sex, 
sex without marriage, these tend to lead kids into other trouble. 
And illegitimate motherhood, despite every precaution, may ensue 
with all its train of sorrow. These, to a minor, may appear doubt- 
ful objections. Balance and personality-soundness might preclude 
a bit of sex from becoming a wedge for other delinquencies ; moth- 
erhood generally can be avoided, often can be solved by marriage 
if worst comes to worst, may even prove a blessing to those with 
the heart for it. But the answer is difficult to a third considera- 



136 JAILBAIT 

tion. Sex tends to place a juvenile, especially a girl, in a critical 
position in this way: the crime may not seem real to the partici- 
pants, but society considers it so and may exact penalties. Put 
another way, the morality of our time may not be correct, perhaps 
should be changed perhaps is in process of change. Meanwhile, 
however, it remains the one we must live with. Breaking it means 
that we are not going along with society. So there may be certain 
practical advantages to continence, to a temperate sex approach, 
after all! 

The trouble is, a lot of kids just don't believe it. Church, school, 
family, the voices of society, fail to convince. 

Because from what they see, sex looseness would not isolate 
them from society; it would make them a part of it! Too many 
elders preach with word but not with action; the whole world 
around these children screams that its promises and recommenda- 
tions are false for otherwise adults would take them more seri- 
ously! Instead, they indulge in all kinds of sex irregularities, at 
home, in cars, at bars and nightclubs. They talk about sex indul- 
gences themselves, put them on screen and stage and into books. 
Revered elder brothers returned from the wars are full of past sex 
experiences and looking forward to fresh ones. Newspapers are 
filled with lurid tales of sexual horseplay. The fact is that elders 
set up a code for youngsters, and themselves knock it down. Even 
if he comes from an excellent and well-mannered home, the grow- 
ing adolescent can hardly avoid encountering evidences of wide- 
spread sexual promiscuity. Why should he heed preaching? 

Can the situation be corrected through some other means, then? 

Many recommend sex education, of which there is a woeful lack 
both at home and in schools. We may accept the necessity for 
such education as vital. It would render the juvenile happier; 
and certainly safer. Besides, he has a right to sex knowledge, as to 
any knowledge. 

And unquestionably it would help turn the sex urge into health- 
ier channels, avoiding incidents such as the following: 

In an Atlanta, Ga., high school recently, teachers and 
classmates gradually accumulated evidence to show that a 



HAYLOFT AND HIGH SCHOOL 137 

circle of boys had been behaving in a strange way. In- 
quiries met with embarrassed silence, but the teachers 
finally learned that 10 boys had formed themselves into a 
"cult" devoted to obscene practices among themselves. 
These included homosexual practices, mutual masturba- 
tion, investigation of obscene literature and the like. 

All the boys came from good families in comfortable cir- 
cumstances. But in juvenile court, Judge Garland Watkins 
heatedly criticized: "Not a single mother or father of these 
boys had given them any instruction whatsoever in matters 
of sex." 

Possibly, also, sex education would forestall certain types of 
rapes and sex crimes in which innocents permit themselves to be 
led to slaughter: the child responding to an "affectionate" caress 
in a movie theater, the adolescent accepting a ride from a leering 
stranger. "If anybody had told me some men were peculiar," 
writes an anonymous teen-ager in a national journal, "I could have 
been saved the shock of finding it out from a peculiar man." But 
the same boy's discussion of sex education from the teenster's 
angle indicates how carefully it must be handled. "I don't know 
I'm no psychologist but maybe for kids starting out, rape 
and murder and sex should not be connected." He adds, "What 
one (educational) movie showed was venereal disease and how 
it worked on bodies. And a Caesarian operation. Some girls 
screamed and some had to go to the restroom." 

Almost certainly, sex education could lower the venereal rate, 
and not by instilling fear and disgust, but rather by teaching pre- 
vention and cure. And we concur with those who believe it would 
diminish the incidence of unwed mothers though the U. S. Chil- 
dren's Bureau itself does not wholly agree, feeling that the young- 
sters' "emotional well-being" at home would better "reduce the 
chances for unmarried mothers in their generation." 

But as for cutting promiscuity and the extent of juvenile indul- 
gence which so many advocates of sex education say it will we 
feel this to be most doubtful. 

Philosophical admonitions about "spiritual embodiment" and 



138 JAILBAIT 

the beauties and advantages of postponement do not impress ado- 
lescents. At countless forums, discussions and meetings among 
teen-agers, they have tried to impress on the adult world that what 
they mean by sex education is practical education. "The facts of 
life," as the 1949 conference of "boy governors" in Washington, 
D. C. expressed it, "by teachers especially trained." The kids 
want plain talk practical information, in order to make practical 
use of it. In the opinion of the author, sex education would be suc- 
cessful only if it completely removed areas of fear, doubt and igno- 
rance; but these are the very things which keep millions of young 
folks out of each other's embraces! Many a girl remains virginal 
not by inclination, but because she fears a baby. Many a boy is 
continent because he thinks the kind of girl who will indulge him 
may also give him disease. Sex education, to be worth anything 
at all, would have to tell the girl how to avoid the baby and the 
boy how to avoid disease. 

So again we are thrown back to the conclusion that not sex edu- 
cation, but moral education, is the one great counter-force to 
physical urge. And this to a degree is failing because the adult, 
though preaching the lesson, fails to live it. 

The most effective cure for sex delinquency, it follows, would 
be a change in the milieu, the general moral surroundings. But if 
adults remain unwilling to alter their sex manners, some relief 
from juvenile sex offenses might be afforded by: 

1. Lessening of cultural tensions through teaching democratic 
respect for all individuals. This would especially help against 
certain types of rape. 

2. Close attention to early behavior problems particularly 
those indicating faulty inhibitory processes, low sexual thresholds, 
and boredom. This might rescue some children before they could 
seriously stray, and would have the advantage of isolating the 
pathological child before he became dangerous to others. 

3. Building up control and temperance through proving the 
advantages of self-discipline in behavior areas other than sexual, 
where they may be easier to demonstrate. The rounded personal- 
ity inclines toward moderation. 



10 



Cradles of Crime 



HAVING LOOKED AT VARIOUS TYPES OF DELINQUENTS AND 
kinds of delinquencies, we may now go more deeply into questions 
of over-all remedy and prevention. Properly, attempts at remedy 
might be expected to begin virtually as soon as a youngster's 
crime brings him into the hands of the authorities. But what ac- 
tually happens when a suspected delinquent is arrested? How is 
he handled? Are immediate measures taken to set his feet in 
proper paths? Is he put into surroundings conducive to correc- 
tion? 

Inspectors of the Federal Bureau of Prisons recently took a look 
at 3000 state, county and municipal jails in our land. As they 
were merely seeking accommodations for Federal prisoners, the 
inspectors were not being too choosy. Yet they had to report that 
some 2400 of the investigated jails were unfit to hold adult 
offenders. 

These are the very jails which lock up thousands of children 
each year ! 

Here are some of the inspectors' reports, quoted from govern- 
ment sources: 

The X jail was . . . dirty . . . revolting ... I 

found one-fourth of the jail population made up of children 
under sixteen . . . scattered through the jail . . . one 
had been brought in twenty days before by two railroad 

139 



140 JAILBAIT 

policemen. The boy's mother was dead, the father was do- 
ing his best to keep the family together. The boy was 
trying to do his part by salvaging bits of coal from the rail- 
road tracks . 



In a city of almost a million ... no proper place for 
holding children. In jail that day were 72 children, six- 
teen or younger. They sleep in same cells with adults, eat 
in same dining room, associate with them during dragging 
hours of the day. 



. . . Boys and girls crowded into cells. Unusually large 
number of children in this jail in a county where there was 
a juvenile court. Since first part of June, boys and girls 
had been held, waiting for the juvenile court which did not 
convene until end of August. All through the summer for 
24 hours a day these children had been in jail in small 
cells. Most serious charge I could find . . . stealing a few 
packages of cigarettes. Some not more than twelve years of 
age. For petty thefts where a man might be given 30 days, 
they had already served three months without a hearing. 

Another survey yielded the following comment, also from Fed- 
eral sources: 

In a certain city without juvenile detention facilities, the 
jails and county prison farms were used for the purpose. 
A probation officer in this city recently received an inquiry 
from the welfare department of another state, saying, "A 
runaway girl has just been returned to our custody by you. 
Her report of her stay in your county prison farm alarms 
us. We realize that she may have made up the whole story, 
but for your own information and protection you might 



CRADLES OF CRIME 141 

want to investigate." The escaped girl's tale told of terrific 
overcrowding of women prisoners, complete lack of privacy 
and sanitary protection, rampant homosexual attacks, bad 
food, filth, vermin, idleness, craven and bestial behavior. 

The probation officer smiled at the apologetic tone of the 
inquiry, and made this reply: "I don't need to investigate. 
It's everything she said and worse!" 

Remember, most children in such jails are merely being "de- 
tained." In a good proportion of cases, not a thing has been 
proved against them! They are simply being held on charges, 
awaiting trial. 

In many other cases, the youngster has had his day in court, 
but is awaiting with what inner tensions, heaven only knows 
his sentence or disposition. The "detention" stage is merely a 
stop-over on the way to reformatory, training camp, welfare 
agency or, for the lucky ones, probation in their own homes. 

Only a small portion of our youth in jail is supposed to be 
actually serving sentence there. According to Federal Advisory 
Panel information in 1946, every state in the union boasts at least 
one institution for "reforming" or "training" delinquents. It is to 
such places all "detained" juveniles are supposed to be trans- 
ferred. 

Yet we know this same panel estimates that perhaps 300,000 
kids under eighteen are "detained" each year, in jails or tempo- 
rary "detention homes." And Russell Sage Foundation figures 
indicate that the combined population of all state, county, munici- 
pal and semi-official though privately operated "reform" schools, 
reaches some 30,000 to 40,000. 

What happens to the other 260,000 youngsters in trouble? 

Do they engineer successful jail breaks and disappear? Even 
allowing for the thousands declared innocent, returned home on 
probation or suspended sentence, or remanded in custody of rela- 
tives, foster homes and private groups, one thing remains clear. 
Other thousands, each year, whether or not they make the statis- 
tics, never reach the special schools supposed to rehabilitate them. 



142 JAILBAIT 

Simply, they serve out their sentences in detention homes or 
assorted jugs, calabooses and jails! 

Most of which are found, even by hardened Federal prison in- 
spectors, to be utterly unfit for human habitation! 

At least 10,000 police jails alone were counted in America by 
Hastings L. Hart, the penologist, as far back as 1932. 

A recent coordinated effort by Federal, state, municipal and 
private agencies^-with the support of the President of the United 
States and the specific sponsorship of the Attorney General 
failed to determine just how many children languish in such jails. 
In 1946, the National Probation Association compiled various in- 
mate figures, including those of certain of the best juvenile deten- 
tion facilities in the country. According to the rate at eleven of 
the latter, detention over the nation would be some 40,000 an- 
nually. But this represents a minimum guess, for communities 
with advanced facilities are not inclined to jail children at all. 
What the maximum possibility is no one has dared estimate 
perhaps out of shame. 

For this is the twentieth century! How are we, citizens of en- 
lightened America, to excuse ourselves for jailing children at all? 

Nine out of ten juvenile jailbirds are released or moved on 
within a month. But thirty days can be a long time for an acute 
disease to languish without treatment. The disease not only goes 
uncured; it is deliberately aggravated. Kids can learn a lot in a 
few days . . . that all society is against them, for instance, class- 
ing them with assorted burglars, forgers, perverts and thugs. 

At the very time the youngster most needs parental guidance 
or its equivalent family-type conditions mental and physical 
hygiene a feeling that somebody is on his side the very things, 
in short, whose lack made him a delinquent in the first place, what 
is he given? Locks and bars. A turnkey for guide and counselor. 
An assortment of bums and criminals for brothers. 

Read this parole officer's report about a girl in Texas: 

Maria, aged IS, Mexican parentage, was picked up in 
five-and-ten cent store with a group accused of stealing 
jewelry. She denies guilt; admits having entered the store 



CRADLES OF CRIME 143 

with other girls. High-spirited, strapping build, at least 
average intelligence, English somewhat broken. 

Maria's offense, plus continued school truancy, plus 
sullen, angry behavior in court, plus violent attempts to 
resist arrest including injuring police officer by throwing 
hammer seized from counter, brought her a 60- to 120-day 

sentence, supposed to be served out in L training 

school, too overcrowded to accept her. While awaiting va- 
cancy, she is completing sentence in police jail. 

This jail is also crowded, so she shares cell with two 
other delinquents. First, age 17, is being held on prostitu- 
tion charges. Second, age 19, is a third- time repeater, 
awaiting sentence on prostitution charges. Latter venereal. 
Adjoining cell holds larceny prisoner, age 54, awaiting 
transfer to psychopathic prison ward. Other adjoining cell 
populated by procession of prostitutes, alcoholics etc. 

Maria is angry over sentence, appears to believe in own 
innocence. During the first week she bitterly refused 
cooperation; was put in solitary 36 hours, for crying and 
outbursts bothering other prisoners. She emerged from 
solitary apparently bent on revenge, attacked prison ma- 
tron from behind. Put back in solitary, 48 hours. On re- 
lease, she awaited chance, attacked food attendant with 
shoe. Cellmates, amused, egged her on. Given bad beating 
by attendants. 

After this, Maria subsided somewhat but remains easily 
aroused. Knowing this, inmates tease her, calling her 
"greaser," "crook," "whore" etc. Disciplined several times 
for violent fights with inmates. Matron and attendants also 
seem to take pleasure in provoking her to spitfire tantrums, 
then punishing her for same. Claims matron brought in 
two police officers late one night from police headquarters 
(on floor below in same building). Claims matron then 
entered cell and deliberately aroused her to fury by name- 
calling, pinching, ridiculous orders, etc. Claims police 
officers, laughing, then disciplined her, one laying her 
across his knees while the other spanked her, and also 



144 JAILBAIT 

struck her several times with his belt. Cellmates and ma- 
tron deny this incident, but girl exhibited bruised arms, 
buttocks and back. Feels desperate and friendless. 
60-day report: Parole recommended to remove girl from 
present surroundings. 

Parole was denied, on the ground that there existed no evidence 
of good behavior. The author attempted to follow up Maria's case 
some six months later, curious as to the after-effects of her stay 
behind bars. The parole officer had no further information, nor 
had the court originally responsible for sentence. No agency in 
town did follow-up work with released juvenile offenders. Police 
officials would not show even the original records. They were 
quite righteous about it. The girl had evened her debt to society, 
said they, and now was entitled to be left alone. 

In view of the obvious drawbacks, should not all jailing of 
children be prohibited by law? Definitely and in twenty-eight 
states, it is. But often "older" and "more difficult" children are 
excluded from the law's benefits. Or, as in the case of Maria, de- 
tention or rehabilitation facilities are so crammed that not another 
kid can be stuffed into them. In other words, children remain in 
jail because there is no other place for them to go. 

This, too, is a common reason for child imprisonment in the 
remaining twenty states. Some of these require counties to oper- 
ate juvenile detention centers apart from jails, but in the words 
of a Federal panel report, "this does not assure their establish- 
ment." 

This report points out further that since some states pay local 
jails a daily sum for the "care and feeding" of inmates, abuses are 
inevitable. In the United States this very day are children 
being detained simply to keep jails full and the expense money 
rolling in? 

But there is a far greater obstacle to clearing filthy, crime- 
breeding jails of scared kids. Too many of us, alas, still think that 
punishment is cure! This view remains popular even among num- 
bers of police, penal and judicial officers who should be the first 
to know better. 



CRADLES OF CRIME 145 

You may recall a statement widely quoted in the newspapers 
not long ago, coming from a judge in the Middle West: "48-hour 
solitary confinement in jail for every juvenile offender would do 
away with repeaters." His prescription was promptly endorsed 
by a die-hard element from coast to coast, including a prominent 
juvenile court justice in a large eastern city. Yet every statistic, 
every investigation, demonstrates that bars are bad medicine. 
While proper punishments, like proper pills, may have some place 
in a healing process and even that much is doubtful certainly 
confinement in any jail exerts an exactly wrong effect. For it does 
not reform, it deforms. It twists. 

"This is no sob-sister sentimentality . . . jailing a child will 
never frighten or shame him into reforming. We now see that 
when society jails youthful offenders, instead of protecting itself 
from them it makes them the more determined, the more distrust- 
ful, the more cunning and resourceful in their enmity toward so- 
ciety." The italics are ours. The words are those of the Justice 
Department's National Conference on Prevention and Control of 
Juvenile Delinquency. 



Other than jails, what are American detention facilities like? 
These are not to be confused, you understand, with reform schools 
or training establishments. They are merely places where children 
are held away from home, temporarily, pending disposition. 

And there are some good ones. Take "boarding home" deten- 
tion. The best example, perhaps, is found in a New York State 
community of roughly a million population. Less than a dozen 
such homes which are no more than boarding houses privately 
operated by qualified couples, and admitting delinquents exclu- 
sively are able to handle all but one or two local cases a year. 
The latter are pathologically aggressive or mentally unstable, and 
are jailed or hospitalized for safety's sake. The boarding homes 
take in either boys or girls, never both, and two or three serve as 
receiving homes accepting new boarders at any hour, night as 
well as day. These are later transferred to other homes, mean- 



146 JAILBAIT 

while having had the advantage of being spared a number of hours 
in police lockup or jail. The city pays the boarding home proprie- 
tors a fixed rate per inmate, and provides special teachers who 
spend a few hours weekly at each one. 

This plan is in wide use in numerous communities, not always 
with as happy results. 

Disadvantages? Lack of twenty-four hour supervision. A cer- 
tain sparsity of activity, due to limitations of space and material, 
and flagging interest on the part of the boarding parents who 
after all are only human. Also, such homes sometimes prove un- 
successful for offenders over sixten years of age. 

Advantages? Flexibility: Children can be grouped in the vari- 
ous homes by ages or other characteristics and a child unhappy 
with one parent can be moved to the supervision of another. 
Home atmosphere, small groups, tend to quiet aggressive young- 
sters and take the glamour out of being "tough." 

A second type of detention center is the "residence home." It 
resembles the boarding home almost exactly, but is owned or 
leased by the community. Every attempt, at least theoretically, is 
made to maintain homelike atmosphere. Operation is by a paid 
staff; a married couple, for instance, with assistants. This permits 
something closer to around-the-clock supervision than occurs in 
the boarding homes, but otherwise the advantages and disadvan- 
tages of the residence home are about the same. Residence-type 
detention is sometimes called the "Massachusetts Plan" because 
of its successful use by certain large communities in that state. 

Widely relied on, rather than homes, are the detention "institu- 
tions." These vary from mere residence homes grown oversize 
to enormous barred barracks. They may be state-controlled and 
regional, as in Connecticut, or strictly local, as in New York City. 
One city of 750,000 successfully combines boarding homes with a 
small type of institution. Children under twelve, and older ones 
deemed suitable, go to homes. Tougher customers who can bear 
watching are detained in the institution. Nevertheless, the latter 
is without cells or bars, and skilled supervision has been able to 
preserve, if not a home atmosphere, at least a wholesome one. 



CRADLES OF CRIME 147 

If small enough, the well-conducted institution definitely can 
retain most of the good features of a home. The larger it grows, 
of course, the greater the pitfall of demoralizing side-effects. The 
chief danger lies in the distance between the supervision at the top 
and the child at the bottom. The child tends to become a number. 
Activities become mere routines. Impersonalized supervision sub- 
stitutes for intimate, homelike control possible in a small circle. 
Under these circumstances, to again quote the Advisory Panel, 
"conditions are ripe for delinquency contagion, for the develop- 
ment of youth-against-the-world atmosphere, and for spirals of 
aggression." 

Just the same, experiments in several cities have shown that 
careful splitting up into sharply separated units may eliminate 
most of the evils of size. Each unit, complete with living, dining 
and recreational equipment, lends itself to close, personal super- 
vision. Children may be distributed among them according to 
age and other characteristics. Even in the almost insuperable task 
of humanizing large institutions, we see, intelligence and good 
will can work wonders ! 

But to what degree, actually, are intelligence and good will de- 
voted to the detention problem? What share of attention, under- 
standing and public funds are its portion? 



In 1945, the National Probation Association began an investi- 
gation of detention places for minors. It left out the jails. It was 
looking for a few institutions or homes which were working well, 
so that the membership could get some idea of how best to handle 
juvenile offenders. 

The association consists not of professional do-gooders or vi- 
sionaries, but of practical people working around prisons and 
prisoners. They did not expect too much. Knowing that if inves- 
tigators were ordered to visit only model facilities they would 
probably never even have an excuse to leave town, the association 
was willing to settle for homes with even one worthwhile feature. 



148 JAILBAIT 

Seeking such places for its investigators to investigate, it got 
shocking replies from state welfare and correction bureaus. 

Many, as we know, could report no detention facilities save 
jails. Others had one or two detention homes, but admitted they 
rated visits only from slumming parties. Even where states re- 
quired special detention facilities by law, some could suggest not 
a single home boasting a single redeeming feature of the kind 
sought by the association! 

Nice, isn't it? The investigators felt discouraged, for which we 
can't blame them. But they were even more discouraged, later, 
after visiting the places recommended, if not as "best," then as 
"least worst" sixty-eight of them, scattered over twenty-two 
states. 

They reported two characteristic types of detention homes. In 
the first, "poor building, lack of segregation (by age and psycho- 
logical need), under-staffing, lack of trained personnel, and low 
budget throw mixed groups of children unsupervised into bull pens 
and crime schools." In the second, a fine building is kept "as a 
showplace" with an untrained staff trying to serve "twice as many 
children as a trained staff could handle." The result? "A vicious 
system of regimentation at cross purposes with everything we 
know about making useful citizens out of erring youth." 

What is it like inside these detention homes which, remember, 
far from being the worst of their kind, rate among the best that 
the inspectors could turn up. 

In the one kind, bare furnishings add to a pervading atmosphere 
of gloom. Since supervision consists of one or two matrons on the 
ground floor, locked doors and bars separate the girls on the sec- 
ond floor from the boys on the third. Meals and infrequent exer- 
cise jaunts provide some relief, but for the most part the separate 
sexes spend day and night completely cut off and unwatched be- 
hind their respective barred doors. This makes things bad for 
the younger children, including feeble-minded kids and occasional 
babies below nine, locked up indiscriminately with hardened de- 
linquents of sixteen or seventeen. 

Why is this classed among the "average or better" places? 
Well, it does separate children from adult convicts it keeps boys 



CRADLES OF CRIME 149 

away from girls and its locks are plentiful enough to discourage 
escapes. Yes, and quarters are kept dutifully scrubbed even 
though they may be disintegrating from old age! 

Now, let us sample the second type of home the one with a 
"showplace" building. 

This, indeed, is spacious and well-maintained. And here the 
lack of supervision characterizing the other home is not tolerated. 
The children, instead, are watched every second of the day and 
night! No individual activities are allowed, no individual posses- 
sions even a hairpin. This happens to be a detention home for 
girls, from thirty to forty delinquents between the ages of 9 and 
16. Are they allowed to roam around in idleness and worse behind 
locked but at least fairly private doors? Not on your life. 
Here they must be observed every minute and doing something 
every second scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, or playing checkers 
and reading comic books in a guarded dayroom. This routine 
is interrupted several times a day by line-ups to be counted, 
searched, or to use the toilets. There is an hourly play period in 
the courtyard each day, but no equipment or program. If one or 
two girls wander apart to talk or play, they are commanded to 
rejoin the group. Will all this make a girl want to live a better life, 
asks the Advisory Panel report. "Not a chance. It will tell her a 
hundred times a day that the adult world distrusts, despises, 
blames and hates her. She will distrust and hate right back." 

The same report mentions another "fine looking detention 
home" with a well-furnished living room in its boys' quarters. The 
room is proudly shown to visitors, but the boys are allowed into 
it only four hours per week. The rest of the time they spend 
locked in a dayroom with bare benches for furniture "alone 
without leadership or occupation." Adds the report delicately: 
"The attendant who is no rnore than a keeper depends on a 
uniform cap to increase his authority with the boys." In another 
city, the curious dean of a local college was looking around in a 
detention institution, and to her surprise unearthed a goodly cache 
of unused play equipment. "Why bother with it?" an official re- 
sponded to her outraged query. "These kids are all headed for 
reform schools, aren't they?" 



150 JAILBAIT 

But at the same detention home, another kind of toy is popular 
enough the paddle. A doctor's routine examination of a four- 
teen-year-old boy, removed for a court hearing, revealed bruises 
four inches in diameter. Of another home it is reported: "Within 
thirty minutes of admittance, a twelve-year-old had been beaten 
with a belt by older boys because he did not have any money or 
cigarettes." 

In the below-average detention centers, abuses are far worse. It 
is no secret that solitary confinement, bread-and-water diets and 
beatings fall to the lot of hundreds of child-prisoners each day. 



Is the detention picture hopeless, then? Not by any means. 
True enough, conditions have not changed much since the Na- 
tional Probation Association's survey in 1945. But a few pages 
back, we mentioned examples of various types of sound facilities 
in certain communities. And what one town can do, another can. 

A few years ago a certain Michigan city boasted a detention 
home considered one of the worst in the country. Things got so 
bad that suddenly people just refused to stand for it. They threw 
out the administration installed a new one with orders to im- 
prove things, or else. . . . 

Today this very home, of the small "institution" type, ranks 
among the nation's best. The barred cages that once held children 
now store potatoes. Since skilled personnel proved hard to get, a 
training course was set up under staff supervision. Local churches 
and clubs kicked in with paint and decorating supplies play 
and craft materials. 

Again, in 1944 and 1945, with youthful delinquents so flooding 
its private boarding homes that conditions in them were scandal- 
ous, a goodly number of New York City residents yelled for 
action. They were not ashamed to make a noise. For while people 
dispute about practically everything under the sun, on one subject 
they all agree. Kids are swell even if they do go off the beam 
once in a while. 

Most New York detention quarters at that time were operated 



CRADLES OF CRIME 151 

by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The 
society's nice title had been enough to reassure New Yorkers 
until a newspaper series (by Evelyn Seeley, of PM) raised a scan- 
dal. People were aroused to anger. Official investigations fol- 
lowed, confirming the Seeley charges. Public pressure became so 
strong that the city hastily set aside a building of its own to re- 
ceive boys up to sixteen years of age from Manhattan, Bronx and 
Brooklyn. 

Called Youth House, the building itself is a depressing affair, 
located on the lower east side. Its facilities are not exceptional. 
It looks forbidding and gloomy. It gets by on a relatively small 
budget, though it handles a floating population of up to 120 boys. 
At first matters were so confused that during the initial month of 
operation no less than 93 rascals broke out of the place! 

But Youth House has the one most important asset in detention 
care: an enlightened staff. Personnel relies on friendliness, on 
trust. Punishment of any kind is banned. "These kids have been 
punished enough before they get here," believes the director, 
Frank J. Cohen. "Punishment is not a deterrent factor, whereas 
good will and understanding are. Delinquent boys want to be 
considered decent and upright, and respond enthusiastically when 
given trust and confidence." No child is treated with hostility, 
no matter what the provocation ; instead, he is encouraged to talk 
about his problems, to get his complaints and bitterness off his 
chest. Children are divided into groups according to age and be- 
havior characteristics, each group being assigned its own dormi- 
tory and play room. Friendly, encouraging supervisors are con- 
stantly on hand but regimentation is conspicuous by its absence ! 

Under such administration, it took only a few months for Youth 
House to far outdistance most detention facilities in this country. 
Boys who pass through it, treated with neither cloying sentimen- 
tality nor grating harshness, go their separate ways certainly no 
worse off than they were before and in most cases with new hope 
and courage, a feeling that a boy in trouble is not totally friendless 
in this world. 

Nor does this kind of approach enjoy any less success with girls. 
The same hue and cry which caused the establishment of Youth 



152 JAILBAIT 

House led Fiorello La Guardia, then mayor, to open an emergency 
detention center for girls on Welfare Island. This was shortly 
made permanent, under the name Girls' Camp. 

Like Youth House the girls' center has had from the first a 
supervision both inspired and inspiring. In a memorable series of 
articles on children in trouble, Albert Deutsch now of the New 
York Daily Compass, wrote this of Girls' Camp: ''Seldom have I 
seen a staff so driven by decent attitudes . . . realistic under- 
standing." Deutsch made the point that girls arrive at the camp 
"tense and confused . . . helpless and hopeless . . . waiting for 
something to happen, not knowing what, and building up a de- 
fensive devil-may-care attitude. They are susceptible to waves 
of hysteria. Morale is almost completely shattered. Life seems 
pointless and aimless. They develop a mask of indifference and 
even of callousness, to shield themselves from further emotional 
blows. Girls' Camp receives its charges at a critical moment of 
their adolescent careers." 

And at this moment, the punishments, routines, neglects and 
distrusts of the average detention home could easily wreak perma- 
nent damage, rendering a girl proof against reclamation for the 
rest of her life. But at Girls' Camp as at Youth House, such 
cruelties are taboo. In the words of the director, Alice Overton, 
"For once in her life, the Camper has social status. She finds her- 
self in a society which needs her effort in order to function." For 
the population is neither pampered nor spoiled. Far from it. 
They have their daily games and satisfactions but daily respon- 
sibilities as well. Treated with affection, they reciprocate. 

Is all light and sweetness at these best of our detention centers? 
Not by any means. Space is so lacking at Girls' Camp that sleep- 
ing quarters must be used as classrooms. Youth House, physi- 
cally, leaves much to be desired. The inmates are tough and 
twisted, so that the usual two or three weeks at either home may 
not prove long enough. Oh, the kids give plenty of trouble, and 
there are areas enough, assuredly, for possible improvement. 

And to show you what so often happens in the detention field, 
subsiding public interest is already threatening both establish- 
ments. Youth House and Girls' Camp, early in 1949, were di- 



CRADLES OF CRIME 153 

rected to move. They are actually privately operated by cooper- 
ating denominational groups, though the budget is chiefly borne 
by the city; and it seems that the facilities are required for other 
uses. 

In the end this may turn out for the best. The Community 
Service Society in its 1949 report urges the city to revamp all de- 
tention, setting up a properly constructed central home under the 
Welfare Department. 

Youth House and Girls' Camp, however, have hammered home 
a lesson: 

Juvenile detention, no matter what the local difficulties, need 
not be one of the "cruel and unusual punishments" banned under 
the Constitution of the United States! 

Maybe that lesson will be taken to heart. Until then America 
shall remain blemished by a situation thus described in Federal 
findings concerning detention homes: "Thousands of children a 
year meet concentrated barrenness, hostility, cruelty and immoral 
influences and are confused about what society, the law, the 
court, really wants for them." 



11 



Unnformcd "Reform" 



ALL RIGHT, so AT LAST THAT TERRIBLE JONES BOY GETS 
out of jail or boarding home, as the case may be. The judge has 
not been sympathetic, and Jonesy will have to take the cure 
about nine months of it. 

What happens to him? 

A hundred years ago, there would have been only one place for 
him to go, a House of Refuge on New York's Randall's Island, 
founded in 1825 by the Society for the Prevention of Juvenile 
Delinquents. 

Today there are "reform" and "correction" facilities aplenty 
at least one in every state. They are known among welfare people 
as "training schools." Jonesy is a Chicago boy, so he is sent to 
St. Charles the Illinois State Training School for delinquents. 

Jonesy is lucky. This institution, a half-century old, has a 
brand-new administration. If Jonesy had been sent there only a 
short while before he would have come under the dubious regime 
of Col. P. J. Hodgin, appointed superintendent in 1945 by a co- 
officer in the National Guard. Col. Hodgin's qualifications for the 
job were two: first, his high-ranking friend happened also to be 
State Public Welfare Director, and, second, his job in civilian 
life was that of telephone linesman. 

Naturally enough, under a National Guard officer you could 
count on plenty of "order" at St. Charles. The inmates, 600 of 
them, were always well-behaved, always quiet. But they walked 

154 



155 

like zombies! They were in the grip of a monotony as stupefying 
as dope. If only to break the deadly boredom, every once in a 
while some kid with more guts than the rest would step out of line 
and promptly be sent to the disciplinary quarters, Pierce Cot- 
tage. There, if sullen about it all, he would be stood up naked 
against a wall and be given the firehose treatment. 

How all this came under the head of training, no one knew, not 
even Col. Hodgin. As military discipline, on knowledge of which 
the colonel prided himself, it would have forced revolt from ma- 
ture men. As a method of giving boys healthy emotions for mor- 
bid ones, of redirecting their energies and drives into channels 
acceptable to outside society, it could only fall flat on its face. It 
would have taught Jonesy nothing except, perhaps, that if this 
was the "good behavior" he was always hearing about, it was the 
most wearisome thing in the world. 

But Jonesy, lucky boy, is saved all that. The good colonel was 
replaced. For a scandal loosed itself. Even over the radio, thanks 
to investigation initiated by the inspired Deutsch articles, the 
dull, demoralized, discouraged, brow-beaten condition of St. 
Charles children was shouted to the world at large, and to Illinois 
citizens in particular. Accordingly, the inmates, in 1948, suddenly 
found themselves thrown on the more tender mercies of Charles 
W. Leonard, a young man renowned for his work with the Catholic 
Youth Organization. 

So Jonesy can now look forward to a real attempt at rehabilita- 
tion. Mr. Leonard is fully aware of the best thinking on the sub- 
ject, as expressed by the National Conference on Prevention and 
Control of Juvenile Delinquency: 

Emphasis on education, medical treatment and social 
case work 

Reshaping behavior patterns, achieving healthy emo- 
tional development 

No punitive and retributive notions 

Grouping of delinquents according to attributes special 
training for various ages, various backgrounds, sub-normal 
and psychotic children, normal and gifted children 



156 JAILBAIT 

Unaware of these precepts in his behalf, Jonesy finally arrives 
at St. Charles, quite impressed by its 600 acres of green fields and 
rolling woodland. But he feels nervous and jumpy. What are they 
going to do to him? 

It takes him some time to find out. A crowd of kids is being 
admitted along with Jonesy. A lot of hours elapse before his turn 
conies for a few minutes with a psychologist, who gives him apti- 
tude and intelligence tests. 

On the strength of the tests Jonesy finds himself assigned to the 
laundry shop. Water noises drive him nuts. Ever since his old 
man drowned. The psychologist might have found that out, if he 
wasn't so rushed. There's a psychiatrist around too, but he is busy 
with the psychos included in the new crop of recruits. 

Mr. Leonard has compiled a list of psychiatric and case work 
personnel he hopes to secure, but hasn't yet been able to. "I have 
complete authority to hire only those qualified," he announces 
to the papers. "Having qualified people in these posts will give 
us a fairly good guaranty that a treatment program will eventually 
develop" 

In the laundry, Jonesy balks. Those bubbles and gurgles! A 
guard comes along he used to work under Col. Hodgin takes 
Jonesy by the ear and dunks his head in a tub. Jonesy grits his 
teeth and forces himself to work. The guard strolls away. Jonesy 
throws a flatiron at him. 

"I have made no changes in policy or program," says Mr. 
Leonard, six months after his appointment, "but I have been very 
careful to observe and evaluate both program and personnel." 

For that mixup in the laundry, Jonesy gets transferred. They 
figure he's a hard case; maybe they can't teach him a trade. He 
gets put in with other hard cases, supposedly for observation. 
Jonesy is tough, but some of those guys make his hair stand on 
end. One always talks to himself. Another, nineteen years old, 
keeps giggling like a baby. A third guy, says the grapevine, is in 
on an armed robbery rap. 

"We receive many who are sentenced by the criminal or circuit 
courts . . . we are running both a prison and a training school" 
says Mr. Leonard. "In addition, our age span is from ten to 



UNREFORMED "REFORM" 157 

twenty-one. This, of course, makes a treatment program practi- 
cally impotent" 

Jonesy himself is seventeen. Quite a sport, outside. Quite a guy 
with the girls. He misses those girls. He figures there must be 
saltpeter in the desserts, but it doesn't seem to help much. He 
never read Kinsey, but he doesn't need professors to tell him that 
the sex drive in males is strongest between the ages of 16 and 20. 
He's beginning to lose a lot of sleep. He stays awake nights, wait- 
ing for the other guys to conk out so he can "abuse himself" a 
little. When he does fall asleep, he keeps dreaming about bubbles. 
By day he is tired and irritable. He gets in a fight with the fellow 
who talks to himself. 

"My basic premise is that juvenile delinquency is now accepted 
as the symptom of a personality disorder" says Mr. Leonard. 
"This being true, we must have a mental hygiene unit that will 
gives us as complete a diagnosis as possible and will recommend 
a treatment program in accord with the individual personality." 

When the hell are they going to finish observing him? He wishes 
he had something to do with himself besides fight with that talking 
goon. Tension and monotony are breaking him down. He catches 
a cold. The psychologist gets around for some more tests that day, 
calls the doctor; Jonesy winds up in the infirmary. After they 
pump out his nose, he manages to swipe a benzedrine inhaler. 
Later, he rips it open, chews the loaded paper inside. For two full 
hours he walks on air the walls are glass, the sky is technicolor 
the talking guy is swell 

That gives him an idea. Some inmates are painting the doors. 
That night he steals a can of green paint, inhales deeply of the 
turpentine, sleeps like a baby. But he wakes up in the morning 
with the heebie-jeebies. He wants air. The windows are barred, 
but the door stands open and he rushes outside. . . . 

An attendant makes a flying tackle, knocking Jonesy down. Au- 
tomatically, he socks the attendant. He spends the rest of the day 
in confinement. 

"A local newspaper" says Mr. Leonard, "is constantly exagger- 
ating the number of escapes and making it look as though we are 
coddling criminals." 



158 JAILBAIT 

It isn't solitary. Nothing like that. All very humane. But he 
and the other guys locked up sit and twiddle their thumbs, or 
maybe swap stories. Jonesy is in bad shape. Bubbles all the time. 
Gurgles. Anyway, he wasn't trying to do anything wrong. What 
did they lock him up for? The punks! The lousy bastards! All 
he could think of was his old man sinking. Those bubbles ! Jonesy 
starts to cry. The other guys laugh. Jonesy jumps at them. A 
calm, efficient attendant hears the noise and stops the fight 
fifteen minutes later, with Jonesy half-dead on the floor. 

"With personnel so short," says Mr. Leonard, "you can really 
see that we are doing little more than good custodial work" 

And that's the way it goes with Jonesy till he's a screaming 
wreck, or the spirit all seeps out of him. . . . 

Mr. Leonard is doing his best under difficulties, and makes every 
member of the staff read his excellent pamphlet on the conduct 
of the institution, called Basic Statement of Philosophy. Albert 
Deutsch remarks: "If his plans are put into effect, St. Charles may 
yet become a rehabilitative training school in fact as well as in 
name." 

Meanwhile, what becomes of the Jonesies? 



The situation at St. Charles more or less approximates that pre- 
vailing at most of our better training schools. The spirit is there, 
but the flesh is weak. Good intentions remain trammeled by lack 
of funds, lack of personnel, little sustained public interest except 
in jailbreaks and politics both inside and out. Some institutions 
see a change of supervision with every switch in elections, as if it 
makes any difference to children whether they are neglected by 
Democrats or Republicans. 

Yet it cannot be denied that on the whole there is an encourag- 
ing tendency away from the punitive and toward the correctional. 
Today superintendents and staffs, even when they can't do much 
about it, are pretty widely aware that children in trouble require 
the most expert psychological handling with emphasis on modern 
techniques of case and group work. The better methods of recon- 



159 

ditioning offenders are in common use, particularly among a few 
denominational and private welfare projects which operate busy 
training schools of their own in various states. 

Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and others have more and more 
been taking a leaf out of the experience of these private but quasi- 
official youth centers and setting up bungalow or residence schools 
rather than large institutions. Simulating home conditions, these 
provide a backdrop generally more suitable to rehabilitation. With 
girls especially the arrangement is successful, for it permits train- 
ing in domestic affairs of the very kind which will engage them 
in the outside world. As for the larger institutions, for years these 
have been tending more toward the "farm" type of community 
on the one hand, and, on the other, industrial training schools as 
in Utah and other states. Walls and bars, despite public skittish- 
ness with respect to escapes, are on the way out. As put by the 
authoritative Federal panel on Institutional Treatment, "Surely 
one of the most effective ways of working toward true reformation 
is to make the institution setting as unlike a penal station as pos- 
sible. . . . Children are best trained for freedom in an atmosphere 
of self-discipline rather than through physical restraints." At a 
good institution, a few escapes a year are taken for granted. Better 
to suffer them than risk damaging the rest of the trainees by the 
psychological implications of prison walls. 

All this is the froth at the top, however. It gives an inkling of 
the aims and ideals, of the better methods, in trying to halt child 
crime through institutional treatment. In practice, the field is 
spotty as a Dalmatian pup with the measles. 

"An uneven development marked, and still marks, the picture 
of institutions for erring juveniles in the United States." So states 
the panel report, published in 1947. Consider the matter of au- 
thority alone. The advanced trend, as summed up in the Social 
Work Year Book, "is to make the training school 'an integral part 
of the total child welfare program' under the jurisdiction of the 
welfare department of the state." But the panel report stresses: 
"Looking over the country as a whole, there is little uniformity in 
this respect. Some juvenile institutions are administered by a 
special division or bureau, such as a children's bureau ... In 



160 JAILBAIT 

other states, responsibility is placed in the same bureau as adult 
correctional institutions; in still others, training schools are dealt 
with by various functional divisions or bureaus ; fiscal and admin- 
istrative, personnel, construction, medical, etc. In several states, 
institutional boards consisting generally of laymen in an age of 
specialties and professional techniques frame controlling policy." 

This gives but a hint of the enormous confusion prevailing, con- 
fusion with respect to types and ages of offenders to be committed 
determination of the length of stay follow-up assistance after 
release, if any divided and conflicting committing authority, 
involving juvenile, domestic and criminal courts, police, welfare 
groups, Boards of Education, town officials, politicians, and last 
but not least, community religious leaders. 

The American Prison Association, in a count of all public train- 
ing schools in 1944, reached a figure of 115 state and national 
schools, and 51 county or municipal schools. Since then the num- 
ber has been somewhat augmented, not so much by building new 
schools, but rather by breaking up existing ones into the smaller 
units now favored. Inevitably as a result of haphazard evolution 
and control among so many and diverse institutions, some confu- 
sion is to be expected. It is, so to speak, part of the democratic 
process, akin to growing-pains of any phase of social development. 
It does not excuse, nevertheless, a public indifference which has 
tolerated amazing abuses and still does. Underneath the froth, 
the beer is truly bitter. 

In Washington, D. C., the Federal Bureau of Prisons operates 
its own training school, both for local offenders and those guilty 
of Federal offenses such as robbing the mails in various parts 
of the nation. Superintendent Harold E. Hegstrom, inquiring 
among inmates concerning punishments inflicted in the course of 
previous stays at other training schools, got replies like these 
(quoted from the N. Y. Star, January 6, 1949): 

"7 stood 72 hours handcuffed to a ring." 
"I had to do a thousand kneebends or stand on my knees 
all day." 

"First day after I ran away, I marched eight hours a day 



161 

around a basement and ate meals standing up. I continued 
to march 30 days." 

". . . Locked in a cell with bread and water for 60 
days." 

11 Got 175 licks with a hose loaded with copper cable for 
running away." 

"Took off my shoes . . . beat my feet with a strap till 
they were Hack and blue." 

Albert Deutsch further reports visiting a southern training 
school which operates a "bull ring." Here boys are punished by 
being made to walk or run around a set of posts, carrying heavy 
packs on their backs. Sentences would be for 500 hours or more, 
to be worked off on Sundays. In the same state at another school, 
two boys were placed in solitary confinement in unheated rooms. 
It can get pretty cold in the higher areas of the South! The boys 
developed frostbite, and had to have parts of their feet amputated. 

The Children's Bureau quotes one broadly-experienced reform 
school superintendent on corporal punishment: "Too dangerous. 
Too few people blessed with enough judgment to use it those so 
blessed don't need it." Yet the most recent panel report is obliged 
to state: 

Corporal punishment and other abuses are still far too 
prevalent. Among the disciplinary practices in training 
schools, reported by reliable observers, are the following: 
whipping or spanking with sticks, wire coat hangers, pad- 
dles, straps; striking about the face and head with fists 
and stocks ; handcuffing to the bed at night ; use of shackles 
and leg chains; shaving of the head; cold tubbings; 'stand- 
ing on the line' in a rigid position for hours at a time; con- 
finement in dark cells and dungeonlike basement rooms; 
silence rules ; knee bends ; a modified lock-step in marching 
formations; permitting boy monitors to discipline other 
boys with corporal punishment. Particularly vicious is the 
monitor system, which permits older, more aggressive chil- 
dren to exert authority over the more timid and less mature. 



162 JAILBAIT 

"All children learn more quickly by reward and encouragement 
than by punishment," warns the same report. "Desirable conduct 
is motivated through positive, constructive means." Another 
investigation, weighing pros and cons of corporal punishment in 
juvenile training school, decides: "Under intelligent and humane 
personnel, boys and girls can be controlled without it. Corporal 
punishment tends not only to brutalize those upon whom it is 
inflicted, but also those who inflict it." 

For proof, if it is needed, of the effectiveness of more humane 
methods, we see that even the most informal control can achieve 
startling results. Some of the most successful of the newer training 
projects are no more than camps. No elaborate prison plant, no 
walls, no locked buildings, no solitary cells but relatively small 
groups of adolescents, developing social responsibility and self- 
reliance in a healthy outdoor setting. 

The outstanding example, perhaps, is the camp for boy delin- 
quents operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Virginia. Dis- 
cipline, morale and genuine social responsibility flourish through 
a boy-to-counselor and boy-to-group relationships similar to those 
in any summer camp. Escapes? Some. But why should a boy in 
his right mind want to leave such a place? Results? Boys learn 
what decency is, and are given the means to achieve it. 

The camp idea is being given vigorous development in Califor- 
nia. A forestry camp was first opened by the Los Angeles proba- 
tion department in 1931 to handle the large numbers of transient 
youth constantly encountered on the west coast. Later, five more 
camps were established, and all reorientated to handle delinquent 
boys. In 1941, the state set up the California Youth Authority to 
handle its growing delinquency problem, under the direction of the 
man originally responsible for the Los Angeles camp Karl Hoi- 
ton. Under his sponsorship, camps or camplike facilities have 
been installed in considerable number. Cooperating localities in- 
cluding San Francisco have also set up camps. The system is far 
from perfect chiefly, according to Mr. Holton, because of lack of 
good personnel. But results have been good. Minnesota, Wiscon- 
sin, Massachusetts and other states are experimenting with similar 
camps. 

The California Youth Authority is one of the more enlightened 



UNREFORMED "REFORM" 163 

answers to the challenge of delinquency. Governor Warren, at the 
time it was created, ranked it "among the greatest social experi- 
ments." By authority of the legislature, it has broad, independent 
powers to create and supervise all anti-delinquency activity. Yet 
so confused, so uneven, so difficult is training school reform, that 
in California, as elsewhere, little headway is being made. 

The state training schools at Whittier and Preston, and the one 
for girls at Ventura, present the usual uninspiring picture of deadly 
routine, repression, prison-like atmosphere. At the Preston 
School of Industry, boys are organized on a military system remi- 
niscent of Col. Hodgin's, with the hundreds of inmates subject to 
rigid and gratingly monotonous discipline. Whittier is supposed 
to be improving under a new and highly qualified director. So is 
Ventura, also under new management. 

Certainly the 200 girls at Ventura no longer walk around with 
their heads shaved, forbidden to talk to one another, as once they 
had to do. Spankings are not resorted to, as they still are in many 
girls' reform schools. Solitary confinement is not prescribed at the 
drop of a hat, as, say in the Geneva girls' school of Illinois. Girls, 
by way of punishment, are not forced to parade naked before the 
inmates as in at least one state reform school reported in the press. 
Corporal punishment is not officially permitted, as, for example at 
Claremont, the Indiana girls' school. Silence rules or such meas- 
ures as being deprived of desserts are the common punishments 
for minor infractions at Ventura. Serious offenders are dealt with 
by banishment to disciplinary cottages a common practice the 
country over, in good schools and bad. 

But as "training," as education for an adjusted life in the out- 
side world, the Ventura program leaves much to be desired. It is in 
this area, indeed, that training schools fall down most seriously. 
Here and in the deadly, monotonous regimentation which all 
too often passes for program. 

How can this be otherwise, with shortages of good personnel as 
universal as they are? 

So-called teachers are often mere workmen around an institu- 
tion, who, if they happen to be plumbers, supervise boys assigned 
to plumbing. Staff educational preparation is deplorable this 
despite the fact that training a case-hardened delinquent is one 



164 JAILBAIT 

of the most ticklish of educational tasks, challenging the ingenuity 
and knowledge of the most skilled teacher. 

The widely hailed White House Conference on child welfare, 
which set up a kind of bill of rights for the kids of this land, in- 
cludes in it the basic premise that every child every child is 
entitled to such education as he can sustain. That is solid Ameri- 
can principle. For the health of this Democracy, for the per- 
manence of this Republic, kids between 6 and 1 6 must go to school. 

But in ten sample training schools surveyed by the U. S. Office 
of Education, teachers and often unqualified teachers, at that 
handled an average of sixty- three pupils each. "Classes" con- 
sisting of the most difficult and challenging problems in educa- 
tion, hard enough to cope with even by individual instruction, 
sometimes ran to more than a hundred kids per teacher! 

Surveys by the Osborne Association (headed by Austin Mc- 
Cormick, former Correction Commissioner of New York) by 
Ohio State University by the Federal Children's Bureau by the 
Office of Education all point to the same conclusion. If the train- 
ing aim is to be realized, "there must be drastic changes in the 
educational practices" of reform schools. And before this can come 
about, before good and sufficient teachers, attendants and profes- 
sional staff can become available, there must be even more drastic 
changes in "attitudes of the public, educators and legislators to- 
ward the educational functions of training schools." In other 
words, the sights must be raised. And appropriations. 



Ventura, with all its faults, stands well up with the best of the 
girls' schools. Yet, as of this writing, even Ventura, for all the 
good intentions of the California Youth Authority, does not boast 
a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are scarce, numbering fewer than 
5000 in this country and many of these of questionable training. 
With millions of respectable, if neurotic, Americans to be serviced, 
why should the psychiatrist bury his talents in a home for way- 
ward girls who probably are a total loss anyway? 

Well, maybe he shouldn't. Maybe it pays better to let him give 
priority to honest citizens. It certainly pays him better. 



165 

But experts, including those comprising the Attorney General's 
advisory group on the subject, believe that most psychiatric 
problems of the juvenile delinquent can be ably handled by the 
social case worker, the social group worker, and the psychologist. 
Of these there are a goodly number in our country but not on the 
premises of reform schools. In the opinion of a blasphemous 
few, a clinical psychologist can generally do more good, practical 
repair work on a young delinquent than can the psychoanalytical 
type of psychiatrist. The psychologist tends to work like the 
doctor to whom you take your broken arm, he judges the fracture, 
makes tests for its size and location, sets it on the spot with such 
splints as he may have. The psychoanalyst would ask you where 
you broke it and when, whether anybody saw you break it, and 
how come you were foolish enough to go around fracturing your- 
self; suicidal tendencies, no doubt. 

This is no place to weigh professional methodologies: the sole 
point is that almost any thereapy may help the delinquent but 
the people to give therapy are missing. Even at institutions which 
do boast a few qualified professionals, the case load is so heavy 
that the psychologist, say, functions merely as a psychometrist. 
He gives tests. Intelligence tests, personality tests, skill tests. But 
true clinical pyschology, as such, is almost never practiced in the 
country's reform schools. 

One of the most famous reformatories in the world does boast a 
full-time psychiatrist and not one, but two psychologists. This 
is a reformatory, not a reform school, you understand. The in- 
mates, while under twenty-one on admittance, are almost all 
graduates of reform schools who have been convicted for second 
or third offenses. It has a population of 1200. 

Wearying of the endless routine of giving tests and assigning 
jobs to newly admitted offenders, one of the psychologists proposed 
that he take his psychology "out into the prison." He wanted to 
travel around the cells and shops, take notes on how well the in- 
mates were doing in their assigned jobs. He wanted to study them 
at work, at play, during sleep. He wanted to compile more com- 
plete records about the behavior of the inmate during his stay. He 
thought that in this fashion he might be able to help some of the 



166 JAILBAIT 

boys. His suggestions were quickly shouted down at the weekly 
meeting of the reformatory administration. 

Was he criticizing the supervision? Wasn't he satisfied with the 
work of his immediate boss, the psychiatrist? Who did he think 
he was, Freud? Why, the chief keeper was a better psychologist 
than a fellow who had merely read some books. The keeper could 
take new inmates, look at them once, and seventy percent of 
the time guess just what offense they had been committed for. 
Brother, that was really psychologizing! The assistant superin- 
tendent was so angry that he swore he would have the upstart, a 
civil service appointee, transferred or fired within the month. 
"But I remained a year and a half," the psychologist told us. 
"The reformatory superintendent kept me around just to irritate 
his assistant!" 

Which provides a clue to another of the weaknesses in reform 
practice today; bitter internecine politics. Any probation or cor- 
rection worker can tell of jealousies, bickering and quarrels which 
ruin staff morale, kill homogeneity, destroy enthusiasm in some of 
the better training schools and cottages. The work is hard and 
thankless, the pay is poor, the plums are few: in many states em- 
ployes serve without tenure, without security, without supervision 
competent enough to appreciate it when they do turn in a good 
job. 

Under such conditions, how can we expect the democratization 
which occurs in the California delinquency camps, for instance, 
but in few other public reform projects? Practice in dynamic 
social adjustment, in participating with the group, has been recog- 
nized by the Children's Bureau, the Federal Prison Administration 
and other competent authorities as essential to juvenile reclama- 
tion. Ditto for acquisition by the child of a feeling of his own 
value, his own contribution, to the society around him. He be- 
longs! Through his contribution and its acceptance he acquires 
in his own eyes what every person needs as a bulwark against 
sinning: a sense of dignity, obligation, self-respect. Ruinous to 
this essential democratization are the regimentation and iron re- 
pression converting so many of our training schools into concen- 
tration camps. 



UNREFORMED "REFORM 167 

Equally ruinous is any carry-over of ignorance and prejudice 
from the outside world. Intolerance in any shape reflects a weak- 
ness in authority which in the end must flaw still more seriously 
the already damaged personality of the delinquent. Yet what do 
we learn from Federal Security Agency figures? The very states 
which have the largest Negro populations have the fewest training 
facilities for Negro delinquents sometimes none at all. And a 
large number of institutions, north as well as south, maintain 
separate or segregated facilities only. 

The statistics also reveal the origin of a libel. It is widely ac- 
cepted that non-white children are more inclined to delinquency 
than white. Yes, in training schools you will find some 29 percent 
of the children to be non-white, whereas non-whites comprise but 
13 percent of the general population. But, states the Federal re- 
port, this merely reflects the inadequacy of private training and 
welfare facilities for colored children. 

Regimentation and prejudice, in the world of reform schools, 
seem to go together. Especially in some girls' schools, where the 
democratic process, the principles of human dignity, seem even 
less in evidence than among boys' institutions. It has been guessed 
that this often derives from the prissiness of the dried-up old 
maids commonly in charge, most of whom have never known temp- 
tation, let alone love. 

The New York State Training School for Girls and a number of 
others admit Negro girls. But at most schools strict segregation is 
the rule. 

Albert Deutsch reports a typical justification for segregation 
coming from Elizabeth H. Lewis, superintendent of the Geneva 
school in Illinois: 

" White and Negro girls in this type of institution tend to 'honey 
up' to one another when they are mixed in common living quarters. 
That is, they tend to develop homosexual crushes for those of the 
opposite racial group. Then again, Negro girls just like to be with 
their own, just as white girls do." 

That business of "liking to be with their own" needs little com- 
ment. Scientific evidence as ironclad as a battleship proves that 
children never show color prejudice until taught to do so. 



168 JAILBAIT 

But what about the old charge that the creamy and the brown 
make a seductive blend? This is one of the most persistent legends 
in the literature of penology. Is there any truth in it? 

As a matter of fact, any average group of Negro girls will show 
certain handsome, well-proportioned types, sexually ripe in terms 
of physical development, and with a contagious vitality, a vigor, 
which further enriches their nubility. As sexual objects, they 
would appear to surpass in pure sensual attraction most white 
girls of similar age. This may simply be a function of earlier sexual 
maturity. It follows that if a homosexual were casting about for a 
conquest, it might be guessed that she would by choice set her 
cap for one of these velvet-skinned girls. And the latter, being 
sexually precocious, might be expected to respond ardently once 
desire was aroused. Additionally, there is the fact that difference 
in color adds exotic attraction, at least in the estimation of the ex- 
perienced homosexual. In homosex as in heterosex, variety is the 
spice. 

Yet girls in institutions show only a fractionally greater inci- 
dence of congenital or homosexual-by-choice specimens than does 
the population at large. This may mean that the prime reason 
for homosexuality in training school is not predisposition, but lack 
of access to the opposite sex. Hence, in her homosexual experi- 
ences, the girl attempts to duplicate the appearances and satisfac- 
tions of heterosexual ones. In short, she wants to be stroked, kissed 
and handled by somebody as male as possible. 

Now, young Negro girls are apt to exhibit muscular conforma- 
tions more like that of males : biceps, for instance, tend to be more 
developed than among white girls. Often the buttocks, when lean, 
have a manly hardness ; when fat, instead of spreading in womanly 
fashion they project rearward as among boys. Add to this a phys- 
ical vigor and darker color which may heighten the illusion of male 
virility, and it is not strange that where homosexuality exists, a 
Negro girl is often the prize. By the same token, the Negro girl 
finds in the desire and surrender of this pale girl a titillating cir- 
cumstance, and one flattering to her self-esteem. She responds by 
lavishing such love and protection as she can. 

There is truth, then, in the oft-repeated charge that mixing 



169 

prison populations raises the incidence of "honeying-up"? Per- 
haps. This author has not investigated the question. 

But training schools and detention homes are not prisons. Judg- 
ing by the very scant figures available from punishment records 
and in-service reports by talks with girl "graduates" by infor- 
mation from in-service social and psychiatric workers one con- 
clusion seems valid enough. Mixed institutions show less ac- 
tually less homosexuality than do segregated ones. How much 
less? Generally not a significant amount, for wherever girls gather 
in isolation under the tutelage of elder women including certain 
colleges, sororities and boarding schools homosexuality is in- 
clined to take hold. But the charge that misconduct is caused by 
the mere mixing of color stocks does not appear to hold water. 

The truth is that whatever the sexual desire one girl of different 
hue may arouse in another, it is directed toward an individual 
not the color group. Certain girls, endowed physically or emotion- 
ally, are prizes. Often they are Negro girls. But in their absence 
there would be no foregoing of homosexual activity. It would 
merely be directed elsewhere, toward such white girls as might 
happen to be available. 

Non-segregation, on the other hand, while itself having no effect 
on the incidence of sex offenses, often reflects a more enlightened 
and liberalized training school policy. This translates itself into 
less tedium, less repression, more diversion and outlet for girlish 
energies. In turn, a lowering in frequency of offenses may occur. 

Formerly, though not so extensively now, in northern unsegre- 
gated prisons the Negro girl came heavily under the impact of 
racial discrimination. She was contemptuously imposed upon in 
all ways by the rest of the prison population, including homosex- 
uals. One visiting prison psychiatrist in Indiana suggests that the 
Negro girl would later get revenge on the "superior" race, and at 
the same time appease her sexual appetites, by seducing young 
white girls. Having become skilled in techniques, moreover, she 
could arouse these girls to ardent cravings which gave her a feel- 
ing of power compensating for her "inferiority." Whatever this 
explanation is worth, at a guess it is from such origins that the 
stubborn slander arose which still prevails at places like Geneva. 



1 70 JAILBAIT 

Investigations of prison homosexualism have been few. Gen- 
erally they came from analysts of the Freudian or Jungian variety, 
and apart from coming up with conclusions hardly significant in 
the light of more modern approaches, they were at fault in doing 
little to lay the ghost of mixed "honeying-up." Others perpetuated 
it on the basis of hearsay. Dr. Maurice Chideckel, in one of the 
few published discussions of the problem contained in his Female 
Sex Perversion, went so far as to concentrate almost exclusively 
on relations between white and Negro women, as if in institutions 
others were rarely guilty. 



Thus distorted has been the whole matter of perversion in 
training schools, boys' as well as girls'. Huge areas are dark. Little 
or no research goes on. Handling of the respective local situations 
is largely up to the whim and outlook of the administrative officer 
possibly an ignorant "keeper." Here is one of the greatest 
least discussed of all the numerous problems facing juvenile cor- 
rection authorities. 

Some superintendents wink at homosexualism. "What can you 
expect?" Others sternly repress it by isolations, beatings or other 
cruelties. In nearly every training school, counter-aphrodisiac 
chemicals are served in the food, but rarely live up to their reputa- 
tions. No one knows the real percentages of illicit love. Among 
boys, however, it would seem to be far less prevalent than among 
girls. Your typical adolescent is interested primarily in release, 
which can be achieved through masturbation and emission. Fur- 
ther, even under powerful sex urges, as a rule a boy regards with 
repugnance any intimate contact with his own sex, indulges only 
with shame. 

But with girls more is involved than orgasm or release. There 
exists a whole "crush" pattern stemming from the need to bestow 
and receive affection. The adolescent girl requires love and its 
overt manifestation, such as embracing. Moreover, girls do not 
usually find their own sex physically repugnant. They are ac- 
customed from childhood to kiss, pat, hug, fondle and hold hands 



171 

with other girls. Hence, given contributing circumstances, they 
are more prone to slip into homosexual relationships than are boys. 

Among girls or boys under cottage or camp conditions, homosex- 
ualism is not more a problem than it would be in a similar environ- 
ment in the "normal" world. Physical energies are used up by 
work and play, close supervision is possible through cottage "par- 
ents" or camp "counselors," and, above all, children in different 
age groups are kept apart. Under repressed, monotonous routine 
and more or less indiscriminate age-mixing in larger institutions, 
however, the tragedy is that the younger children learn from or are 
seduced by their elder co-delinquents. Even where homosexualism 
is strictly proscribed and the most elaborate precautions taken, it 
stubbornly persists. Amazing is the ingenuity and persistence 
shown in getting around restrictions, especially by older girls. 

"Give these institutionalized persons credit," writes Dr. Chi- 
deckel. "They are never dismayed by failure. Even among higher 
types, as in convents and girls' schools where the most drastic 
measures of repression are instituted to prevent the carrying on 
of homosexuality, prodigious intellectual feats are displayed to 
mislead the supervisors. The confraternity formed among these 
psuedo-homosexuals, their alertness against the danger of being 
detected, their ways of breaking through the barriers that hem 
them in, are in themselves a psychological study. Beneath the 
crass surface, under the watchful eyes of the guards, a life is stir- 
ring, unobserved and unknown." 

Queried as to how she achieved her pleasures, one miss of six- 
teen, known to be spreading homosexual practice in a tightly con- 
trolled training school, replied: 

"It's no good at night. Too many in the dormitory. At salute 
(flag assembly each morning) I line up behind Marty. We're all 
crowded together. I just sort of rub against her." 

"That satisfies you?" 

"Better than nothing. She's so nice. I wish I could hug her and 
kiss her! They don't let you." 

Another girl, seventeen, a repeated rules-breaker: 

"Sure. In the disciplinary cottage there are always a couple of 
crazies. I do something, and get sent up, see? Then I know how 



172 JAILBAIT 

to set those crazies off. They yell a'nd thrash. I have an excuse to 
jump on them, it looks all right if someone comes in. I hold them 
down and they whip around until I [have orgasm]. Some crazies 
get wise. Then we do it on purpose and they kiss me and love 
me." 

The above was told to another inmate who relayed it in con- 
fidence to a state inspector. Here is a longer story: 

"They don't let you get away with a thing at this joint. I knew 
the superior was no " friend" [homosexual] but she was my only 
chance. I kept looking at her and smiling at her. I gave her a 
cake my sister sent me, my birthday. You're not allowed to touch 
supervisors, but I got her to thinking I liked her. She didn't mind 
it when I sort of touched her sometimes. Like when she was 
handing me something, I touched her hand. Or her leg. When I 
could, I kept letting her see me. Sitting down, I'd spread my legs 
or bend over. Thursdays we line up for scrub. If she was on 
duty, I would sing, stretch myself and kind of look at her, waddle 
around, anything so she'd notice me, especially under the shower. 
The girls figured I was polishing her for favors. I really worked on 
her. I'm telling you. Four months before I got a bite. 

"Supervisors sleep just outside the coops, get it? They take 
turns at each coop. During the month she was at ours, I yelled out 
in the middle of the night. When she ran in I told her I was sick. 
I said if I could only get to the toilet I'd be all right. She helped 
me, and I acted like I was dying, hanging on to her and squeezing 
for dear life. When I came out I told her, if I could only see my 
mother. Would she give me a goodnight hug, like my mother? 

"You could have knocked me over! The old battleaxe said 
yes. She felt sorry for me or something. I hugged her. I felt 
funny. I started to cry. She sat down and took me on her lap and 
patted me. I kept my face on her breasts like I was still crying. 
After that when I used to smile at her she began to smile back. 
Then one night I knocked on her door and said would she let me 
hug her like before. She said yes. She held me on her lap a long 
time. I wriggled around until she said what did I think I was 
doing? 

"The next day I got up my nerve. I said I wanted to tell her 



UNREFORMED "REFORM" 173 

something. I said I was kind of ashamed taking scrub with all the 
other girls. I said I never really got a wash, everybody rushing 
you and standing around watching you. I could tell that she 
didn't really believe me. But she said okay, except that she would 
have to supervise. In the shower I strutted around and sang. I 
put soap all over and said, Gee if only someone would wash my 
back. She was looking at me funny. She said well, she didn't 
mind. She took off her clothes and got into the shower. I squeezed 
up to her. Suddenly she began kissing my hair I knew she was 
a dead duck." 

"You have relationships with this superior now?" 

"Yes." 

"You like her, is that it? You love her and need her?" 

"Love her! That skinny, old battleaxe? I was just softening 
her up. Now we have nice parties when she's on coop duty. She 
doesn't say a word, otherwise I wouldn't give her what she wants 
from me! Listen, lady, I bet a couple of kids would have 
killed themselves if it wasn't for me loving them and helping 
them. . . ." 

"But you'll be out of here in three months. Was it worth the 
trouble?" 

"What else is there to do? It's the only thing that means any- 
thing, or that you can get a kick out of." 

Although the forms taken are highly individualized and seem 
dictated by opportunity and circumstance rather than any general 
predilection for one method or another, it may be said that on the 
whole among juveniles no true homosexual exchange takes place. 
With both boys and girls, the common practice is mutual mastur- 
bation and mutual handling. Cunnilingual and other more vigor- 
ous exchanges characterizing patent homosexualism would appear 
to be practiced by older girls almost exclusively. With these the 
practice can develop in its most vicious forms. 

Now, the question of vice in training schools is far from simple. 
There are those who argue that as a kind of catalytic for the 
growth of "love" and the exchange of "affection," and as a simple 
release, it does more good than harm. They do not condemn un- 



1 74 JAILBAIT 

natural sex in institutionalized circumstances simply because such 
sex is condemned in free circumstances ; by this view, what is con- 
sidered "unnatural" becomes, behind institutional walls, the "nat- 
ural." Others believe that since training school populations are all 
composed of adolescents, they can well do without sex indeed, 
are supposed to. Certainly, as the Kinsey Report and other stud- 
ies have shown, among males enormous sex potentials and drives 
exist at these ages. About sex impulses in girls, less is known. Yet 
the incidence of masturbation, affairs, seductions, out-of-wedlock 
babies and even marriages among girls below sixteen, let alone 
those older, would lead us to believe that perhaps they are not so 
far behind boys in their sexual needs as society and law would 
have us think. 

Yet we must remember that the training school adolescent is not 
condemned for life. He is being trained, specifically, to rejoin 
normal society within a relatively short period. If so, no matter 
what reasons or excuses can be advanced for tolerating homosex- 
uality, it is defeating the very purpose of the institution; it renders 
the inmate "abnormal." Introduced to the aberration at an early, 
impressionable age, he is likely to bear its stamp forever. 

It is not necessary to discuss whether homosexualism, as such, 
should be punished or not, is good or bad, is natural or unnatural 
with certain individuals, is to be pitied, condoned, accepted. We 
merely make the point that in the society which the institutional- 
ized delinquent is to rejoin, homosexualism is vigorously frowned 
on. It is considered anti-social. It is a definite aberration, and 
the delinquent is supposed to be institutionalized so that he may 
be freed of aberrations. Another point: as Dr. O. Spurgeon Eng- 
lish of Temple University writes in About the Kinsey Report, 
"Homosexuals usually meet with social rebuff, ostracism, if their 
true nature becomes known. If it is kept secret, they have all the 
problems which arise from an individual's attempt to conceal an 
important part of himself and live in a world apart." That is, the 
delinquent released with a homosexual habit has even less chance 
of normal adjustment to society than before he entered. 

Dr. English also reminds us: 

"To condemn homosexuality will never accomplish anything. 



UNREFORMED "REFORM" 175 

Its elimination lies in finding the most healthy and wholesome ex- 
pression of sexuality for all, and that will come only when we cease 
being afraid of sex. ... If we are disturbed by the incidence, we 
should ask ourselves how this kind of behavior is brought about 
and how it can be prevented." 

The doctor is writing of homosexualism generally, not of homo- 
sexualism in training schools. His point is that more attention 
should be paid to the abnormal factors in a child's environment 
which may culminate in making him a "fairy" or a "dyke." How 
much more this message applies to the young occupants of training 
schools l^ All sexual factors in their institutionalized environment 
are abnormal. As for the questions he raises, the answers are ex- 
plicit enough. "The most healthy and wholesome expression of 
sexuality?" between boy and girl, obviously. "How is homo- 
sexual behavior brought about?" by segregating boy and girl. 
"How can it be prevented?" by unsegregating them. 

QUESTION: Could the cure, then, lie in making reform schools 
coeducational? 

ANSWER: In the opinion of many, including your author yes! 

Eleven coeducational reform schools, indeed, are actually 
operating in the United States. 

Only a few allow any mutual projects, except for children under 
twelve. In the majority, by coeducation is meant simply the ex- 
istence of rigidly separated schools for boys and girls within the 
confines of the same institution. 

Sex incidents? Less frequent than at the high school in your 
town. 

Homosexualism? Almost unheard of, in those of the institutions 
about which your author has been able to get information. 

The faintest aura the distant, occasional glimpse the mere 
knowledge of nearness any of these seem enough, where both 
sexes are countenanced in one institution, to withhold sex drives 
from the unnatural. We spoke to one boy on parole from Hampton 
Farms, a correctional school in New York State. He was a con- 
sistent offender, and had been in several institutions, sometimes for 
sentences of over a year. His remarks were instructive: 



176 JAILBAIT 

"After you serve long enough, you forget all about girls. You 
don't even remember how they look. You don't feel sexy or any- 
thing. You don't think about it. You don't think about anything. 
Just a long, dull grind. But every once in a while well, if a kid 
on the next bed undresses, and he has a pink skin or something, 
it looks awful good to you. 

"When girls are around somewhere, do you see them? Maybe 
once a month, like if you're promoted to the library. But you 
know they're there. Things even get through the grapevine, real 
romance, and how you're going to chase this one or that when your 
stretch is up. You think of your sisters, maybe some of the girls 
you had. Okay, so you get hot once in a while. So you dream it 
off. Or [masturbate] . You don't go looking at no boys in the next 
bed." 

Concerning coeducational training schools not simply separate 
boys' and girls' schools on the same grounds, but actual coeduca- 
tional institutions, the National Conference on Prevention and 
Control of Juvenile Delinquency has this to say: 

"Some leading correctional authorities feel there is sound basis 
for the belief that training schools should be on a coeducational 
basis if they are to teach the boys and girls who are sent to them 
how to live in accordance with acceptable social standards, and 
especially if they are to be taught to comprehend and accept a 
proper relationship with the opposite sex, a lesson many of them 
need to learn more than anything else. It is bad enough to have to 
remove adolescent boys and girls from normal community life at 
the very time when they need to be associating with children of 
both sexes under wholesome conditions and proper guidance. It is 
doubly bad to put them, then, into an unnatural, segregated en- 
vironment that intensifies the very problems it is meant to solve." 

The Federal panel report advises that if a training school is to 
care for both girls and boys, "The sexes must be well-balanced in 
number so that the interests of neither group are subordinated and 
sex-consciousness is not intensified. The program must be gen- 
uinely coeducational, moreover, with the same type of supervised 
activities and contact that one would find in a good residential 
school anywhere." It warns further that "the chief obstacle to 
successful operation appears to be public opinion. If newspapers 



UNREFORMED "REFORM" 177 

are to attack the school, if the public is to become apprehensive 
and critical because 'bad boys and girls' are being allowed to as- 
sociate with each other, and if the superintendent's dismissal is to 
be demanded whenever a boy and birl behave improperly, it is not 
best to establish a coeducation program and see it go down to fail- 
ure." 

For the latter reason, the panel does an abrupt about-face. 
"After careful consideration, the panel concludes that the coedu- 
cational system is not practical and is not recommended." 

Another defeat for reclaiming "the most difficult and malad- 
justed children of our communities." 

And so, while slow progress is being made on many fronts, the 
only possible conclusion about training schools is that by and large 
they are doing more harm than good. The trainee leaves them, 
more often than not, worse off than when he entered. Reform 
school graduates, as J. Edgar Hoover has pointed out, show a hope- 
less number of recidivists who grow up into our worst and most 
inveterate criminals. 

We have seen that in the training institution field, these im- 
provements are most needed: 

1. Divorce from politics, and centralization of authority in 
specialized, preferably welfare, personnel. 

2. Qualified and plentiful psychiatric, psychological and 

teaching staffs. 

3. Gradual elimination of large units in favor of small ones, 

particularly of the "camp" or "bungalow" type. 

4. Replacement of corporal punishment and repression by 
humanized programming motivating and developing the 
trainee as a social being. 

5. Coeducation, or some substitute supplying occasional 

social contact between boy and girl. 

Plenty of room for improvement in other directions, too. But the 
above items will do for the present. If and when they are even 
partially achieved by a majority of our training schools, the insti- 
tutionalized delinquent will become less a social casualty and more 
a potential asset, if not to humanity, then at least to himself. 



12 



Anticipating Delinquency 



MANY ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO PIN DOWN SCIEN- 
tifically the causes of delinquency. To date, these researches 
have yielded few concrete results, and these often contradictory. 
Despite the occasional claim of this sociologist or that psychiatrist 
that he has discovered the true "key" to delinquency, the fact is 
that no single factor or set of factors has been isolated which, when 
found in child or adolescent, is always, or even frequently, ac- 
companied by delinquent patterns. 

In this respect, one child's meat is another child's poison. That 
is, the very personality traits which in John make him a young 
criminal may in Mary make a lass exceptionally valuable to her 
community. 

Take "aggressiveness," so often mentioned as a denning char- 
acteristic of the delinquent. By virtue of heredity, conditioning, 
frustration or what have you, John at fifteen is exceptionally ag- 
gressive. So is Mary, the same age, one of his classmates at pub- 
lic school. 

John's outlet for aggressiveness is the beating up of the nearest 
person at hand. He is not a bully, for he takes on boys much larger 
than himself, or even teachers. He also pummels girls and younger 
children. He uses his fists, with which he has developed great 
skill, but is just as likely to strike with sticks, stones or anything 
else at hand. In short, he is completely and indiscriminately ag- 

178 



ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 179 

gressive. Not unnaturally, this has rendered him hopelessly un- 
popular, which in turn makes him more aggressive still. He has 
been in frequent conflict with school authorities and police. Re- 
cently he walked into the office of his principal and demanded that 
he be transferred from the class of a teacher he disliked. The 
principal refused. John took a gun out of his pocket and fired two 
shots at the principal's head. Both missed, but one buried itself 
in the arm of the school clerk. John is now thinking things over at 
a state farm. 

What of Mary? She too is aggressive, inclined to strike anybody 
in sight unless she has her way. So much so that one day this 
hoyden sneaked up behind John and knocked him unconscious with 
a baseball bat ! This brought her instant popularity ; in a wave of 
gratitude, her fellows elected her president of the school student 
body. Did this make her less aggressive? Hardly. Indeed, her 
newfound position simply meant more opportunity to throw her 
weight about, with the result that she became more obnoxious than 
ever. One day, with the authority of her position and her super- 
aggressiveness behind her, she brazenly bearded the director of 
the school lunchroom. The food, said Mary, stank. "These sand- 
wiches! What do you do, buy bargains!" The answer of the 
director failed to satisfy. Whereupon Mary threw her salmon 
sandwich at him, plus the plate it had been on. 

Properly reprimanded for the transgression, Mary took steps. 
So aggressive, don't you know? She pummeled even the more 
timid members of her class into writing complaints about the 
school food. Armed with these letters, she sought the mayor of 
her town. Probably she would have pummeled him too, but she 
couldn't get in to see him. She promptly sent the letters to a local 
newspaper. 

The director had been buying bargains, all right. A scandal 
broke. Food at the lunchroom rapidly improved. And Mary found 
victory, like the new brand of salmon, quite to her taste. She 
launched a number of fresh campaigns with the enforced coopera- 
tion of her schoolmates. Today, thanks to her, the school gym 
boasts a new coat of paint, and remains open evenings to keep kids 
like herself and John out of trouble. The townsfolk look on Mary 



180 JAILBAIT 

as a leader of youth, and while still as aggressive as ever, she is 
learning to use wiles and words instead of fists. 

These events took place in a small midwest city. They demon- 
strate, as do thousands upon thousands of other cases, the almost 
hopeless difficulty of determining just what causes delinquency. 
Certainly, aggressive tendencies lead numerous youths into delin- 
quent behavior. So do slum life, repression, frustration, parental 
neglect and all the rest of the "causes" to which it is so frequently 
attributed. 

But the aggressive child, as we all know, may do himself and his 
community great good as well as bad. The slum child may rise to 
be an Al Smith and the impoverished one, a Lincoln. The re- 
pressed one, whatever his inner conflicts, may be all the more 
"civilized" thereby strictly inhibiting all acts frowned on by 
society. The child frustrated in one direction may all the more 
strongly seek expression in another, good as well as bad. As for 
parental neglect, many children become delinquents though care- 
fully enough reared; although, truly enough, such neglect ap- 
parently comes closer to being a common cause of delinquency 
than any other, it is all a matter of degree and circumstance. 

In short, the very trait which is so objectionable in one boy 
proves a blessing in another. The very circumstance which breaks 
Molly is the making of Polly. 

Further, it would seem that the causes of delinquency are not 
only obscure; they are legion. Take the blames cited in a given 
case. The policeman says "bad companions." The judge says 
"neglect by the authorities." The case worker says "poor home 
environment." The psychologist says "retardation due to low I.Q." 
The teacher says "improper motivation." The physician says 
"poor nutrition." The psychiatrist says "paranoic tendencies." 
The sociologist says "shallow cultural background." The psy- 
choanalyst, bless him, after seven months of probing, decides: "He 
hates his father as a rival for the love of his mother, and takes it 
out on society, which to him is the father-symbol, except when it 
is the mother-symbol." 

No doubt there is ample truth in the conclusions of each of these 
experts, which, after all, arise from years of close and often shrewd 



ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 181 

observation. If so, this only serves to emphasize the complexity of 
the delinquency syndrome! 

Little wonder that investigators have made such scant progress 
in isolating scientifically reliable causal factors! How proceed 
among the welter of observed symptoms, effects and "causes," 
sometimes occurring in conjunction with one another and some- 
times not sometimes altogether absent sometimes seated in per- 
sonality traits, sometimes in environment, sometimes in both? Do 
these reduce to a common denominator? Or should such inves- 
tigations be given up since the task appears so slow, involved 
and doubtful of issue and stress confined to defending society 
against the delinquent by punishing him, by isolating him in 
prison where he can't harm anybody? 

To this, obviously, the answer must be no. Research aimed at 
first causes should not be abandoned, but redoubled. For if in- 
deed the predetermining factors of delinquency could be defined 
adequately, far more effective "preventative medicine" would be 
possible, replacing the well-meant but scattergun efforts generally 
relied on today. And though the job, as we have seen, is highly 
complex and difficult, it is by no means hopeless. The obstacles 
would appear to lie more in the attitudes of those concerned with 
the problem than in the actual complications of the research. 

In large cities, for example, surprisingly little love is lost be- 
tween case workers and teachers. Time and again this author has 
heard teachers say, "Hmph ! Working on their own time. Nothing 
to do all day but walk around and visit folks when they feel like 
it." Whereas the case worker, forgetting that the teacher has all 
she can do to pound some reading, arithmetic and character-train- 
ing into large groups of restless rascals, bitterly complains: "Why 
doesn't she give little maladjusted Henry more attention? Why 
doesn't she keep in closer contact with his home, give him more 
work really suited to him?" Probably the corner cop invokes a 
plague on both their houses. "Ought to lock that Henry up. A 
bad example, and he's damaging property!" Similarly, the clinical 
psychologist, engrossed in tests and personality scales, scorns what 
he considers the outworn techniques of the analyst. Whether or 
not he is right, the point is that all participating in the fight against 



182 JAILBAIT 

delinquency should preserve open minds, cooperative hearts, and 
eyes free from wool. They should not wall themselves off one from 
the other, should not regard any one approach or psychological 
school as sacred. 

When the problem is approached objectively and by persons 
of adequate training using modern techniques genuine progress 
toward ending the confusion prevailing in the delinquency field is 
not impossible. A case in point is a study by Wallace Ludden pub- 
lished in School and Society, concerned with anticipating juvenile 
delinquency in a child before it actually occurs. Investigations of 
this subject both more recent and more exhaustive are on the 
record. Nevertheless, his is exemplary in approach and method. 

The Ludden experiment did not make the mistake of trying to 
get at basic causes all in one jump. It attempted, rather, to iden- 
tify such phenomena as might be constant in the delinquency pat- 
tern. Only in such phenomena could a clue to omnipresent cause 
be found. Besides, this had its strong practical side. If charac- 
teristics once established as definitely associated with delinquency 
could be uncovered in a child not yet delinquent, it might be pos- 
sible to rescue him from a life of crime before he even began it. 

The study is prefaced by the often-heard remark that if delin- 
quency continues to spread, our children may well lose us the 
peace and sweep away America's whole social heritage. Check! 

It continues to the effect that while professionals, courts and 
volunteer workers are at work on the problem, they deal chiefly 
with children already delinquent, already more or less fixed in 
habit. Check again! 

It states that it would be mighty helpful if there were some 
practical method to determine which children were headed for 
trouble, a method applicable in the schools, since apparently such 
children's homes were failing them. Once these kids were fil- 
tered out, therapeutic attention could be concentrated on them be- 
fore their habits were permanently formed. Double-check, Mr. 
Ludden ! 

For practicality, the ideal method would derive from informa- 
tion generally on file in school systems, this investigator felt. Re- 
course to special tests or case study techniques would require 



ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 183 

specialists available only in a limited number of places. Accord- 
ingly, he worked only from the ordinary school records kept in 
New York, the state where the experiment was conducted. 

These records are of three kinds: 1. scholastic achievement 
2. health 3. census. Choosing a city whose proportion of foreign- 
born and foreign-antecedent population approximated the average 
for the United States, he selected a total of 345 delinquents 
children in the seventh, eighth or ninth grades who had incurred 
police action for violating the law. For a control group he selected 
from the same grades 641 boys and girls at random. 

Next, from the record cards, he summarized the data for the 
delinquents as of one term preceding the date of each one's fall 
from grace. Data for the control, or non-delinquent, group he 
summarized as of the date the study was made. Significance 
of each factor was determined statistically, by the well-known 
device of critical ratios. Here is what he found, with the critical 
ratio appearing next to each factor: 

TABLE I Facts on record cards associated with known 

delinquency, and therefore presumed to be indicative of 

possible delinquency 

Critical 
Ratio 

1. Living in an area where delinquency is common 9.1 

2. Chronologically over age for grade 8.88 

3. Living in low rent area 8.40 

4. Living in broken homes 7.50 

5. Different homes lived in, if more than one 6.76 

6. Poor school attendances over five absences 6.43 

7. Terms repeated, more than one 6.40 

8. School failures, more than one subject 6.19 

9. Terms with failing marks, two or more 5.61 

10. Intelligence below 90 (Otis) 4 to 6 

11. Low employment continuity of father 4.72 

12. Tardiness at school (any) 4.65 

13. Illegal absences over five 4.32 

14. Intermediate position in sibling group 2.10 



184 JAILBAIT 

TABLE II Facts unfavorable to delinquency 

1. Chronologically young for grade 7.02 

2. Intelligence above 100 (Otis) 5 plus 

3. Youngest child in family 2.80 

4. Mothers stay home as housewives 2.10 

Note that the indicated ratios reveal little chance error involved. 
Just the same, Mr. Ludden found his results disappointing. Some 
69 percent of his delinquent group did score three or more of the 
"delinquency" factors, but so did more than 25 percent of the 
non-delinquents. Were one in four of the control group, then, 
headed for crime and arrest? Clearly this figure was too high. 
And what of the 3 1 percent of the delinquent group which showed 
only one or two of the factors? Why weren't these youngsters 
among the non-delinquents? 

These are only a few of the serious gaps in the investigation. 
As a basis for prediction the results would be dangerous if only on 
the ground that so many in the control group showed a greater 
incidence of the given factors than those in the delinquent group. 
Perhaps intensity of the factors, rather than their frequency, would 
provide better criteria for measuring delinquency potential. 

The Ludden experiment, nevertheless, did bite off a little piece 
of a problem far too enormous for one investigator to chew. That 
is, it demonstrated that in a certain city, among certain children, 
a certain set of easily ascertainable factors was prone to character- 
ize 69 percent of known delinquents as well as 25 percent of 
non-delinquents. 

Fine, you may say. But what of it? Anybody in his right mind 
must know that a kid who plays truant, gets left back in school, is 
pretty stupid, and comes from an impoverished or broken home, 
may be more liable than others to turn out "bad" and get into 
trouble with the authorities. You don't need expensive experi- 
ments to establish that! 

Not so ... nothing of the sort is definitely established any- 
where. . . . 

Remember that in the Ludden investigation, as in numerous 
others, the only overt distinction placing a boy in the "delinquent" 



ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 185 

group was that he had been picked up one or more times by the 
police. Doubtless in the control group there were many quite as 
delinquent except that they had escaped police attention. This 
could explain the high incidence of "delinquency" factors among 
the control boys and girls. 

Also, the lad who is intelligent, though he be delinquent, tends 
to have better success at avoiding the attention of the police; he 
may know enough to cover his tracks and hide his transgressions, 
to get others to do his dirty work for him. Further, his very intel- 
ligence, perhaps, makes him more amenable to school, so that he 
is less frequently tardy or absent and manages to squeak by in his 
studies though he may not be any the less delinquent on that 
account. 

As for such factors as impoverished homes and living in a slum 
area, delinquency occasionally rears its ugly head even higher in 
our best neighborhoods than in the districts across the tracks. The 
only thing is, delinquency in garden spots takes a form different 
from that in slum sections is more often concerned with sex and 
sensation than stealing and gangsterism. In high schools of plush 
Long Island, Westchester, Union County (N. J.) and other sub- 
urban areas around New York, for instance, kids who would not 
think of stealing are far less inhibited about rolling each other in 
the hay. This holds true, child experts and local school principals 
know, in the well-off suburban areas which surround Los Angeles, 
Chicago and most other large cities. Here the orgies, seductions, 
homosexual adventures and drinking parties not to mention preg- 
nancies which occur among teen-agers rarely make the papers 
or engage the attention of the police. Why? Because prosperous 
parents can afford to protect their children. They call in a psycho- 
analyst rather than a case worker, or they simply get their straying 
daughters quietly aborted and keep silent ; anything to avoid scan- 
dal. 

The more intelligent or more privileged youngster, then, is not 
necessarily the less delinquent one; he may be simply the one 
more likely to stay out of the hands of the courts and police. 

Here we see the danger of approaching the juvenile delinquency 
puzzle with any preconceived or fixed notions. Nothing can be 



186 JAILBAIT 

taken for granted about this jigsaw, not even "what everybody 
knows" to wit, that truant, low-intelligence, slum lads are more 
predisposed to errant behavior than their more fortunate brethren. 
Everything remains to be proved or disproved by exactly such 
investigations as the Ludden one. 

This holds true not only for lay, popular conceptions about de- 
linquency, such as "Jimmy steals because his father is no good." 
It equally applies to some of the most treasured and widely 
accepted shibboleths among professionals in the field, like the 
analysis-trained social worker's "Jimmy steals because of his in- 
security." Many Jimmies whose fathers are no good and who are 
pathologically insecure in their feelings nevertheless do not steal. 
Plainly, the common factor of juvenile stealing, if one exists, must 
reside elsewhere. 

It is only fair to admit that most youth workers fully realize 
there is no pat or simple explanation of delinquency. But in at- 
tempting to generalize methods of attack and cure, they may fall 
into the error of riding one horse too often, and up a one-way street 
the color of the horse, of course, depending on whether their 
supervising authority is a Freudian analyst, clinical psychologist, 
penal expert or just some local politician. 

Many studies before and since have probed delinquency along 
the lines of the Ludden attempt. Often they have gone much more 
deeply and exhaustively into the subject, using more extensively 
the methods of factorial analysis to get at causes and predisposing 
factors through information available in schools. Such surveys, 
while numerically frequent, are nevertheless far too few in propor- 
tion to the enormity and importance of the problem, and should 
be encouraged by civic support. For on a thousand Main Streets 
and Broadways they are gradually delimiting the aura of mystery, 
and the area of the unknown, surrounding this thing called delin- 
quency. 

It so happens, for example, that another valuable study was 
being completed in Passaic, New Jersey, at about the same time 
that Ludden was conducting his. W. C. Kvaraceus, a top school 
official, produced figures covering a five-year period which tended 



ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 187 

to support Ludden's findings at least in the matter of under- 
intelligence and low scholastic status being to a certain extent 
associated with delinquency. 

Thus, among 563 delinquent boys and 198 girls, the mean I.Q. 
was discovered to be 89 compared to a score of 103 for the 
general school population. 

Furthermore, 44 percent of the delinquent group had been re- 
tarded at least one term, whereas but 17 percent of the general 
group had been thus retarded. And the Passaic research turned 
up one really startling figure: no less than 29 percent of the de- 
linquents had failed three terms or more, a record matched by a 
tiny one-half of one percent of the general population ! 

So far, so good. But this investigation was out to prove a point. 
Mr. Kvaraceus believed, with Bollard and other authorities, that 
frustration in the human animal always leads to aggression and 
that aggression is always a product of frustration. 

He further believed that the common crimes of youth stealing, 
damaging property, indulging in aberrant sex practices, fleeing 
from home, playing truant and the like were often simply ex- 
pressions of this "aggression." It followed that "a search for 
causes or predisposing factors of delinquency should be a search 
for situations that frustrate." And he thought that his figures indi- 
cated such a situation in the schools. 

In other words, education itself was at fault. 

It made delinquents out of slow children by giving them curricu- 
lums too tough for them to handle which frustrated them which 
made them aggressive which caused them to run away from home 
or steal cars. 

Now there is considerable plausibility in this logic. But we have 
already seen that the vigorous personality trait can cut both ways. 
Aggression makes one boy a gang leader and another a successful 
prize-fighter. And suppose we grant for argument's sake that the 
over-frustrated child becomes over-aggressive and therefore in- 
clined to get himself into trouble. This might be nature's own 
method of recompense, of maintaining equilibrium in the survival 
mechanism. Would we, perhaps, by tampering with frustrating 



188 JAILBAIT 

factors and thus killing aggressive tendencies, be preventing the 
rise of mobsters, yes but also of sports heroes, generals and 
others requiring large muscles in the aggression department? 

Besides, in its zeal the Passaic investigation placed the cart a 
little before that pet horse! Is aggression more a factor in juvenile 
stealing than, say, want and poverty? Does the aggressive kid 
damage property more often than the one too lacking in aggressive- 
ness to avenge himself in any other way on a society he believes 
unjust? Is it possible that truancy sometimes betokens simple fear, 
social timidity or the like, rather than large bumps of aggressive- 
ness? 

Fortunately, Kvaraceus did not jockey his pony into a pocket 
on the assumption that his lane was the only winning one. Careful 
sifting of the figures and factorial analysis forced him to the mild 
conclusion that "aggression" could at best account for only certain 
manifestations of delinquency, and for even those merely in part. 

For this conclusion alone the Passaic probe was valuable. Yet 
whole regiments in the anti-delinquency army failed to heed its 
lesson, and that of numerous experiments like it ... which leads 
us to again stress the need for the alert eye, the elastic outlook, in 
fighting child crime. 

To appreciate this, one must realize that the delinquency factors 
emphasized among experts, like educational methods, run in 
cycles. What was stylish last year is out of fashion today, though 
in time, as with short skirts, it may return to popularity. Thus, a 
few years back, a causative factor generally a la mode was "re- 
volt." This was replaced by "insecurity." Then the latter became 
rather "old hat" and yielded, not without a struggle, to that same 
"aggression" which preoccupied Passaic. 

So it may be of interest to note that New York City the sheer 
bulk of whose delinquency problem has given it fruitful experience 
in these matters recently circulated a new instruction to teachers. 
They were advised to concentrate no longer on "aggressive" chil- 
dren as candidates for entire schools the city devotes to those 
deemed predisposed to delinquency. Nor were such types to be 
favored for remedial treatment by the city's Child Guidance Bu- 
reau. 



ANTICIPATING DELINQUENCY 189 

The aggressive youngster, the authorities had come to believe, 
generally could manage to get along, to come to terms with life 
somehow. It was the withheld, withdrawn child who was more 
likely to become maladjusted and a really serious delinquent. 

Truth in this view? Quite possibly. No doubt it will become 
very stylish. 



One reason for mentioning the Passaic study is that it differed 
from others of the sort in one important sense. It took a critical 
attitude toward the schools themselves. It considered them pos- 
sible accomplices of the delinquent, or, at least, accessories before 
the fact. 

If the schools were spawning frustrate young characters, ran 
the argument, they had a direct share in predisposing for delin- 
quency. 

Well, the results showed that even where frustration, by induc- 
ing aggressive tendencies, might be responsible for some misbe- 
havior, that same frustration did not arise solely from factors in 
the school. As we might suspect, it derived as well from inherent 
and acquired personality quirks, and from the general or home 
environment. The study concluded that just as no single factor 
could be demonstrated to be at fault for delinquency, so no single 
institution or agency could hope to cope with it even the school. 

But the studies raised important issues! The exact effects of 
the school on juvenile behavior, for better or worse, have never 
been exhaustively examined. The whole amorphous relationship 
of the school to the delinquency problem is little understood. 
"Frustrating" factors in the classroom are only one aspect of the 
delinquency complex; are there others more important? Can the 
schools, indeed, be responsible for a good share of delinquency 
hard as this might be for our educators to swallow? 

Let us see. 



13 



Whose Blame? 



"WE ARE FUMBLING WITH JUVENILE DELINQUENCY BE- 

cause everybody is blaming everybody else parents blame the 
schools; schools blame the parents and the courts. We all blame 
the movie industry. No progress can be made until each institution 
concerned with young people takes stock of its own relationships 
to the problem and considers what improvements can be made." 
She has something there, does Counselor Faust of the Philadelphia 
schools. 

So let us do a little stock-taking. 

THE SCHOOLS 

We start, with Miss Faust, in education. Reporting in the 
Forum on studies completed in 1947, she reaches the same con- 
clusion which has struck so many others. "The schools are in a 
strategic position to locate potential delinquency" and to do 
something about it. 

Some go even further. Harry D. Gideonse, president of Brook- 
lyn College, speaks for them when he says: "The only social 
agency to solve the problem is the school because it is the only 
one which touches all children." 

That's putting it a little strongly. The school may reach all 
children but many agencies reach some children. Together they 
achieve considerable coverage and may be in a position to make 
important contributions. Still, this does not change the fact that 

190 



WHOSE BLAME? 191 

when the home falls short, the school appears by far the most 
practical instrument to detect shortcomings in the child and 
remedy them. 

Yet delinquency exists. So the school to some extent must be 
falling down on the job. Or better, is not adequately undertaking 
it. Could it be that school people do not believe delinquency 
properly their responsibility? Should it be left to welfare depart- 
ments and police, to community councils? 

The reply could be that since the school is in a position to render 
invaluable help, this alone puts it under obligation to do so. 
"Those that can, must" just as a doctor "must" help the sick. 

But a more direct consideration is that the school's whole task 
the work for which teachers draw pay (such as it is) consists in 
training children for social living. Therefore, to the extent that a 
child is asocial, the school has jailed. No use arguing that the 
origins of the maladjustment may lie beyond the school's control 
in the child's home, his economic environment, his physical handi- 
caps. The origins of a fever may lie beyond the doctor's control 
but if the patient dies, the doctor fails, the profession of medi- 
cine fails. 

So delinquency, being prominent among asocial phenomena, is 
correctly enough a school responsibility. And the schools by and 
large do not shirk it. Professionally as a group, individually as 
human beings, teachers are quick enough to recognize their func- 
tion in plugging the dike. In surprisingly many communities they 
are the only ones who do anything at all about systematically pre- 
venting delinquency this in a quiet unsung way, year in and year 
out, doing the best they can with each behavior problem as it 
comes up in the classroom. 

If the school, then, in part fails, it is not for any fundamental 
want of conscientiousness. Let us look at the supposed advantages 
of the school as a delinquency-stopper, to see whether the trouble 
lies there: 

1. It is said that the school alone competes with the home in 
point of number of children reached and time spent with each 
child. 

Clearly true. Occasionally a well-meant curricular digression 



192 JAILBAIT 

may result in truancy, as in the case of the "released time" pro- 
gram in New York City. By this arrangement, if the parents so 
desire, children may take off a certain number of school hours to 
go to church schools for religious instruction. In practice, a con- 
siderable number take off the hours but spend the time in the 
streets. Right now the program is evoking hearty opposition on 
many grounds from educators, but continues under the pressure 
of religious hierarchies. 

The writer, however, is not one of those who holds that a very 
occasional day off from school is necessarily bad ; it may do a boy's 
soul a lot of good, particularly if the Giants are playing the 
Dodgers. It is only pernicious and symptomatic truancy which 
holds danger. And this is encountered to any great extent chiefly 
in rural districts, where children may be encouraged to stay at 
home for chores and field work at certain seasons. Certain parents 
"do not see the sense of schooling," and encourage truancy on 
general grounds. Also, in many agricultural districts, the school 
season may be too short at best, so that even minor truancy be- 
comes seriously damaging. 

In these rural areas, the extent of truancy interferes appreciably 
with the "school reaching every child." Yet in a great majority of 
rural counties no specific person exists to enforce the attendance 
laws! Principals and teachers in stubborn cases must go to the 
courts, a time-consuming, wasteful process and often unsuccess- 
ful, believe it or not, because the rural magistrate may be in 
sympathy with the accused parents! 

2. It is claimed that the school is in an ideal position to de- 
velop data on every child and his community environment. 

Likewise true. Except for one thing. Teachers are already bur- 
dened with more bookkeeping than they have time for, not to 
mention marking tests and grading papers. It is quite conceivable 
that teachers and principals can be trained as psychometrists ; and 
many are. But if they concentrate on measuring and compiling, 
other phases of schoolwork must suffer neglect. 

Keeping statistics is a full-time job in any system of more than 
a thousand pupils, more than forty classrooms. Health and other 
vital statistics make a fair showing in most school systems, but 



WHOSE BLAME? 193 

only one child in ten attends a school where psychometric informa- 
tion is reasonably complete or even reasonably accurate. Only 
when systems hire and assign more specialists will data proceed 
to become "full." Until that day a certain number of behavior 
problems must go unnoticed and untended until beyond the incip- 
ient stage. Worse, behavior problems will be created in the class- 
room itself, through inadequate knowledge of the child's traits 
and background. 

3. Only the schools have a large reservoir of people empirically 
and academically prepared to deal with children. 

No dispute. But the classroom teacher is already carrying as 
heavy a burden as possible. At most she can be expected to be a 
teacher, not a specialist in behavior problems. Yet all kinds of 
delinquency programs are emanating constantly from all kinds of 
authorities, obliging the teacher to do this for "aggressive" pupils, 
that for "disturbed" ones to maintain intricate contacts with 
disturbed pupils' parents to run therapeutic "clubs" and group 
projects after school hours and to do Lord knows how many other 
things, as if all her pupils were delinquents and she a clinic. All 
at no extra pay, of course. 

The teacher's function in the delinquency set-up should be to 
locate behavior abnormalities and alleviate them if she can and 
if alleviation does not mean neglect of her other pupils. But if the 
individual problem begins to take up too much classroom time, 
or if it persists, grows out of hand, she should have specialists avail- 
able to whom to refer that problem. 

Of course, virtually every school system today does have some 
place of ultimate referral. In one school out of two it is the police, 
a county court officer or a magistrate. In many larger systems it 
is a special class or school for "problem" children. But only a 
handful have anything even approaching New York City's Child 
Guidance Bureau, at which psychiatric, case and group work and 
other therapies are available. And even this exemplary school 
bureau is so understaffed that one psychiatric case worker, en- 
trusted with twelve schools including a high school, told the writer 
that during a whole school year she had managed to visit only five 
of them! 



194 JAILBAIT 

No need to go further down the list. While the school has many 
counter-delinquency potentialities, obviously each is being realized 
only in a limited way. Qualified personnel are essential ; yet aver- 
age teacher pay is less than $50 weekly, states the National Educa- 
tion Association. Other abuses spring from the political nature of 
many school appointments, with principals and supervisors being 
selected for political reasons rather than fitness. Under such super- 
vision, and often enough underpaid and overburdened, the teacher 
may become a behavior problem herself; certainly her capacity 
to help children suffers. 

But such flaws cannot be blamed on the school. They arise from 
our own complacency, and our stinginess. By and large, Federal 
investigation has shown, people get the kind of schools they want 
and pay for. So let each of us in our various communities espe- 
cially the parents among us quit bewailing the faults of dear 
Tommy's teacher and demanding the impossible of her. It's time 
we either put up or shut up. 

Not that this is intended to whitewash the school's part in 
creating delinquents! Any "stock-taking" must reveal ample room 
for school self-improvement even under existing conditions. 

The fixing of qualifications, for one thing, at present is arbitrary 
and confused. In the effort to get people of high standard, most 
boards of education emphasize academic training. They incline 
to forget what the Social Service Division puts this way: "The 
teacher one recalls from his own childhood is not necessarily the 
one who knew the most history or mathematics, but the one who 
was most responsive to children and stimulated them most to 
widen their horizons." 

In several cases known to the writer, teachers of really superb 
ability have been refused permanent appointment or offered lower 
salary scales because they lacked a few college credits although 
they were graduates of accepted state normal schools. In another 
representative instance, a woman of twenty years' highly success- 
ful experience in an excellent municipal school system moved to 
New York, qualified as a substitute, and was given seventeen 
behavior problems in a slum district to handle in one class. This 
she did with such success that the Child Guidance Bureau it- 



WHOSE BLAME? 195 

self commended her, and parents in the troubled, underprivileged 
neighborhood got up a petition of thanks. Her principal described 
her as "indispensable to our school and neighborhood." She took 
the regular-teacher examination that term, passed twelfth out of 
2000 and was turned down for appointment because she was a 
few months over the varying age limitation, which happened to be 
set at forty years just before she took the examination! 

Boards of education are merely begging the question by choosing 
teachers on the basis of arbitrary requirements. Each teacher 
should be considered separately on her merits eligibility to de- 
pend on fitness and capacity, and nothing else. 

Another criticism, as summarized in the Federal panel report, 
School and Teacher Responsibilities, is that: "Too few systems 
have met the problem of education for religious and racial minority 
groups. Conflict arises out of this area of strain and is a common 
cause of individual and group delinquency." 

In one notorious slum trouble-spot, a grade and junior high 
school functioning in the same enormous building, the desperate 
principals hit on this expedient. Spanish-speaking kids, many of 
them in the country two or three years or less, were directed to 
entertain in the assembly with their native songs and dances in 
this case, chiefly rhumbas. Similarly, each week Negro students 
showed what they could do in the way of tap-dancing and spiritu- 
als. Holidays were celebrated in this fashion: Jewish children 
participated in Christmas and Easter pageants, which is common, 
and Gentile children, including Negroes, participated in Chanukah 
plays, which is not. The Spanish-speaking kids put on an Easter 
fiesta of their own, with exotic native ritual and music but only 
after laboriously coaching the rest of the school population to par- 
ticipate. Each group suddenly learned about the other, gaining 
respect and fellowship. True, one grateful lad stole a string of 
beads from a variety store to present to his teacher at Christmas 
time. But the number of delinquent acts participated in by kids 
in the school decreased eighty-seven percent in ten months! The 
police precinct captain personally called on the two principals to 
thank them. 

This is all part of the democratization process entrusted to the 



196 JAILBAIT 

schools by America's founding fathers a trust which sometimes 
teachers forget. Too often they hold obedience above self-expres- 
sion, conformance above initiative. Too often, though today teach- 
ers certainly know better, subject matter remains the thing rather 
than the individual child himself. 

And in most cities the best teachers, like the best equipment, 
are assigned to wealthier neighborhoods where classes are least 
crowded and child adjustment least difficult. Often teachers pre- 
serve prejudices themselves, regarding it as a punishment or slight 
to be sent to difficult schools, slum schools, schools with the 
minority-group children who may need skilled help most. 

So before the school can fully rise to the problem of delinquency 
it needs certain overhauling within and certain support from 
without. Notably, financial support. Perhaps we could do with a 
few highways and atom bombs less. Children are every bit as im- 
portant to the future of the nation. 

THE HOME 

Each year hundreds of thousands of juveniles get into slight or 
serious trouble. Each year many millions of juveniles do not! 

The law-abiding kids may be full of spit and vinegar, bursting 
with mischief; or they may be shy and quiet. Some are placid, 
some excitable. Even the happy ones have troubles of their own. 
But these are the fortunate children . . . Their homes give them 
the security, the training in ways of life, the resources and forti- 
tudes, which are essential to social living! For the home is the 
keystone of communal organization, and when it falls the whole 
complex structure falls. It is the crucible in which character and 
personality are formed. It is here that the twig is bent, that 
the child sucks in social attitudes with his mother's milk or 
the pediatrician's formula. Only when the home falters does the 
school, the welfare agency, the probation officer, have to take over ; 
that, at least, is the most widely accepted theory among delin- 
quency experts at the moment. 

We may accept as clearly valid that homes broken by death or 
divorce and at present one marriage in three is headed for the 
divorce court! are found in association with numbers of delin- 



WHOSE BLAME? 197 

quency and neglect cases. So is the home upset by mental or 
physical illness, uprooted in the pursuit of employment or living 
space, beset by poverty, or otherwise disturbed by the strains of 
modern civilized life. 

To attack delinquency at the source, then, home help would 
appear essential. Minimum financial relief in time of emergency 
is now pretty well accepted as a community obligation. But other 
types of relief are not. The home in disturbance needs counsel, 
guidance and often mental hygiene of sorts. Sometimes these are 
available from church groups in the community, sometimes from 
public agencies. But welfare systems all over the country are scat- 
tered, uneven, poorly manned, working on low rather than opti- 
mum budgets, and in many sections, particularly rural ones, not 
available at all. 

But homes technically "broken" in one way or another are 
found in association with only some 20 to 30 percent of delin- 
quency cases coming before the courts. The rest stem from homes 
which on the face of things are holding together, yet somehow fail 
to meet the needs of their young ones. 

For this, mothers and fathers are coming in for vitriolic criti- 
cism. It has now become a popular sport of schools, police depart- 
ments and courts, not to mention our famous F.B.I, head, to blame 
parents for delinquency. Discouraged by a constant procession of 
juvenile burglars, car stealers, unwed mothers and armed members 
of street gangs, magistrates like New York's Charles E. Ramsgate 
understandably grow bitter against lack of home supervision. "To- 
day parents rely on schools and churches to teach respect for others 
which is the basis of decent society. It's their own primary obliga- 
tion!" 

On this theory, a considerable number of judges have been sen- 
tencing "delinquent" parents. Nationally syndicated columnists 
vigorously support the idea. The National Council of Juvenile 
Court Judges heard a declaration to the effect that ". . . 85 per- 
cent of juvenile delinquency is the result of inadequate upbringing. 
Parents should be made subject to court action in all parts of the 
country." 

Well, is there hope in this direction? Can parents be shocked, 



198 JAILBAIT 

pounded or threatened into taking better care of their children? 

We need not guess at the answer. It happens that a proving- 
ground exists in Toledo, Ohio, which has been punishing delin- 
quent parents for more than ten years. 

And after a comprehensive survey of results in the 1937-1946 
interval, Judge Paul W. Alexander of the Toledo (Lucas County) 
Juvenile Court published these conclusions in Federal Probation: 
(a) As a method of curbing delinquency, parent punishment fails 
for the delinquency rate continued to rise despite more and more 
punishments, (b) As a method of reforming guilty parents and 
frightening others into behaving themselves, it also fails, (c) As a 
method of defending society, imprisonment is indefensible legally, 
since the parents' threat is not "immediate or direct," except 
against their own children, (d) As a method of vengeance, pun- 
ishment works excellently, satisfying the "punitive- vindicative 
appetite of self-righteous nondelinquent parents and irritated pub- 
lic authorities ..." 

The Alexander findings indicated that in certain select cases, 
where other methods fail, prosecution and threat of punishment 
not actual punishment could do some good. But he reminds us: 

It is generally impossible to punish the parent without at 
the same time punishing the child. Imprisonment usually 
means breaking up the family. Fines mean depriving the 
child and family of so much sustenance. What most par- 
ents of delinquent or neglected children need is help. 

A similar conclusion was reached in a parallel investigation by 
Samuel Whiteman, director of the Cleveland Mental Hygiene As- 
sociation. He points out that parents' insufficiencies generally 
trace to those of their own parents. With respect to those who 
would punish or "blame," he says: "The most serious fallacy in 
the thinking of these zealous critics lies in the assumption that 
parents are aware of their own shortcomings and deliberately plan 
to misguide and mistreat children. From the cases seen in child 
guidance clinics, it has been observed that parental guidance con- 



WHOSE BLAME? 199 

tributing to a child's poor adjustment is largely unintentional and 
unwitting." 

The fact is that most of America's millions of parents are doing 
their level best to bring up their children as good citizens. But 
sometimes, being human, they go a little off course due to igno- 
rance or lack of means or mishaps such as sickness or perhaps 
deficiencies in their own personalities. 

To blame them for such things is both foolish and useless. "De- 
linquent" parents are like delinquent juveniles; they require not 
criticism, but teaching and help. 

Every parent, however, may profitably "take stock." If you are 
a mother or father, and you find your child maladjusted or mis- 
behaved, look to yourself; don't try to blame his teachers, the 
movies or "this lousy neighborhood." Ask yourself if you are giv- 
ing the kid at least these essentials: 

1. The affection he deserves as your child. 

2. The respect, confidence and consideration he deserves 
as a person. 

3. A feeling of security through your own steadfast loyalty 
to him, and, if you can manage it, your fortitude in the 
face of difficulties. 

4. Sufficient of your time and companionship, when he 
wants them. 

5. The participation in family planning and affairs neces- 
sary to his self-respect, and essential to train him for liv- 
ing in a democratic society. 

6. Emotional stability which results from your own calm- 
ness, humor and consistent attitudes toward him, your 
control of moods and temper and your even, pleasant 
relationships with other members of the family. 

7. A tolerant view toward persons of all cultures and col- 
ors, of high and low degree given him through lessons 
learned at your knee, and through your own toleration 
of his reasonable wishes or beliefs. 

8. The courtesy of seeking expert assistance if despite your- 
self you find the child disturbed or straying. 



200 JAILBAIT 

Quite a recipe? It still lacks an ingredient. Add a bit of season- 
ing in the way of restrained but firm discipline when you deem it 
necessary. 

POLICE AND COURTS 

Any police officer worth his salt knows, or should know, that the 
rights and welfare of the individual are of paramount importance 
in the American way of life. He is sworn to uphold such rights. 
Yet he has a higher loyalty; he must defend the community 
against marauders. When the individual violates rules set up in 
the general interest, the policeman has no choice but to curtail 
that individual's liberty. 

Nevertheless, his duty to the individual remains, insofar as it 
does not conflict with his duty to the community. Besides atten- 
tion to individual welfare comes under the head of good, practical 
police work! "The delinquent of today is the serious criminal 
of tomorrow" so police and penal records tell us. 

Thus, it has come to be recognized that helping kids in trouble 
is as important a police function as arresting them. 

In several ways, the police officer stands in a unique position to 
forestall delinquency and curtail it when it does appear. In the 
first place, he is the initial official contact between children in trou- 
ble or on the verge of trouble and the austere law. "The 
manner in which the officer handles the child in his first difficulty 
may be the making or breaking of the youngster's future life," 
warns an authoritative manual on delinquency compiled by the 
National Advisory Police Committee. A companion manual for 
policewomen states: "First contact with the police is like first aid 
treatment . . . the individual's chances for recovery largely de- 
pend on the handling he receives during that critical experience. 
Many a gang has been welded together by a common hatred for po- 
lice, born of some unfortunate experience with unskilled officers." 

In "taking stock," therefore, law-enforcement personnel should 
ask themselves whether the officer on the beat conducts himself 
to advantage. He can be a great force for good by acting with 
firmness, yes but with understanding and generosity as well. 



WHOSE BLAME? 201 

Most first offenses are relatively minor and may be treated with 
warnings rather than arrests. But the officer should use the occa- 
sion to win the confidence and respect of the offender if he can; 
to guide, explain and correct rather than chide. Even on second 
offenses, further efforts with the child and a tactful visit or two 
to his parents often serve as sufficient corrective. 

Alert police officers have frequently noticed that simple friendli- 
ness in itself may be enough to help juveniles who err because they 
are discouraged, or feel unaccepted by society. On the other hand, 
unfriendly, curt and arbitrary methods can only further accentu- 
ate the anti-social attitudes of any youngster. 

A second prime responsibility arises from the fact that the police 
are best qualified to protect juveniles from certain harmful com- 
munity influences. The police best know the trouble areas, the 
sources of infection, the centers of temptation and vice. It is they 
who can observe dancehall and bar, keep watch for panderer and 
pervert. It is they who have the direct authority and "know-how" 
to deal with irregularities. Emotionally stable and adequately 
informed kids can themselves repel evil influence in most cases. 
Less fortunate children may find themselves victimized, lured and 
seduced into the ways of delinquency unless the policeman stands 
between them and adult exploitation. 

Finally, police departments themselves have come to the realiza- 
tion that juvenile problems can best be handled by a separate 
branch operating in many communities today under such titles 
as juvenile police or juvenile bureau. Such a bureau is especially 
effective on the preventative side, since it facilitates liason with 
other community groups concerned with the problem schools, 
churches, child clinics and welfare agencies. Thousands of cases 
are disposed of without the necessity of dragging the offender into 
court and labeling him "delinquent." Thousands of near-delin- 
quents are diverted to corrective agencies before they can get 
themselves into real trouble. 

Admittedly, police work in this country leaves much to be de- 
sired. Yet it seems to this writer that within their limits the police 
are doing a rather good job with children. Constant experience 



202 JAILBAIT 

with all types of offenders apparently arms the corner cop with 
patience, resource and a kind of practical good sense often invalu- 
able in dealing with youthful offenders. 

Still, while all behavior problems are not delinquencies, all de- 
linquencies are behavior problems. To deal with them adequately 
requires special skills and a certain amount of research. Here, 
if anywhere, police departments show a major lack. However, a 
start has been made in several states both at training the police 
officer for delinquency control and conducting research into meth- 
ods of such control. 

One notable experiment along these lines is being conducted at 
the University of Southern California under the sponsorship of 
various law-enforcement agencies of the state. There, experts in 
all fields of child behavior conduct investigations and give concen- 
trated training to selected police officers from various municipal, 
county and state departments. Officers from other states are also 
encouraged to attend. Professor Norris E. Class, affiliated with 
the school, points out that it may not be the best answer to train- 
ing staff members for juvenile bureaus. "Many different ap- 
proaches to such training have to be made and the best of each 
welded into a new 'best' approach." Meanwhile the California 
school is functioning as an excellent training facility one which 
could be copied to advantage in other parts of the country. 

When the police bring in a young offender whose case warrants 
judicial action, it goes to a special court based on the idea that an 
erring child deserves correction and help rather than punishment. 
These "juvenile courts" are available in every state, with jurisdic- 
tion over offending or neglected children up to 18 years, sometimes 
up to 16 years. Often they function as parts of other courts, or 
through special children's procedures within the latter. 

Magistrates in such courts have an exceedingly difficult task. 
Not only must they know the law and enforce it; they must 
know and like children. Theirs is the responsibility of deciding 
whether the child goes to reform school or foster home whether 
he can be helped by "another chance" whether he should be 



WHOSE BLAME? 203 

referred to welfare agencies whether "probation officers" will be 
able to cope with the case. 

On the whole, the quality of justice in juvenile courts can give 
rise to no major complaint, except that politics often dictates the 
choice of judges. Even so, by and large the children's magistrate 
performs intelligently, diligently and with conscience. 

But a "stock-taking" reveals several serious deficiencies in the 
juvenile court set-up. To be successful in correcting the wayward 
juvenile, the judge requires expert technical assistance, and, above 
all, ample referral facilities. In communities where these exist 
and cooperate with the court, fine and dandy. Sometimes they 
are even part of the court, which has its own complete staff of 
medical, psychiatric and other experts, working through a child 
clinic. On the other hand, all too many courts have only the serv- 
ices of probation officers to depend on. 

Standards in all these respects have been developed and promul- 
gated by the Children's Bureau, the National Probation Associa- 
tion, and the White House Conferences on Child Care and 
Protection. Now, more than twenty-five years after they were 
first codified, the country still lags sadly behind those standards. 

Take probation work, on which the court must rely so heavily. 
Obviously the probation officer should be a highly trained, excep- 
tionally capable social worker and so he is, except in many rural 
sections and urban ones too, where he is appointed on the strength 
of who he knows rather than what he knows! As a group, proba- 
tion officers are probably the most underpaid of all public servants, 
and among the most overburdened. Also, occasionally there arises 
a kind of tug-of-war between judges whose outlook is more or less 
legalistic and probation officers concerned more with reclamation 
than justice. Such judges allow little room for application of the 
officer's special abilities, viewing the latter as a sort of policeman. 
In fact, Warrington Stokes of the Portland (Ore.) Public Welfare 
Commission told the 1947 National Conference of Social Work 
that "many judges have a tendency to treat the social workers as 
little more than glorified errand boys." 

Perhaps there is truth, then, in what Dr. Thomas D. Elliot of 



204 JAILBAIT 

the National Probation Association first argued in 1937, thus sum- 
marized by Alice Scott Nutt of the Federal Child Guidance Divi- 
sion: "Essentially judicial functions are incongruous with func- 
tions of child care and treatment. When incongruous functions 
are performed by a single agency, social efficiency is retarded and 
motivations and attitudes clouded." 

And certainly there is truth in the contention that confused 
jurisdictions, jumbled standards and uneven facilities plague the 
work of the juvenile courts. 

Accordingly, a growing trend is in evidence to remove all correc- 
tive functions from the court and have it stick to legal ones only. 
Either it could refer all correction to an officially designated 
agency, or, as in New York, such an agency could first pass on all 
delinquency cases, and itself decide which ones should be referred 
to the court for legal action. 

This is far from the only way out, in the author's belief. Courts, 
like the police, are advantageously placed by experience and au- 
thority to deal with delinquency as criminality, as threat against 
society. But no court can overcome the handicap of insufficient 
corollary services! Should communities make these sufficiently 
available at the court's discretion, judges will be better able to 
temper justice not merely with mercy, but with cure and preven- 
tion. 

SOCIAL SERVICES 

One service of particular value to the court, for example, is the 
child guidance "clinic" utilizing the skills of psychiatrist, psychol- 
ogist and psychiatric social worker. A few courts boast such clinics 
under their own auspices. They are available in some communities 
as adjuncts of the school, hospitals or welfare agencies. But nearly 
half of America's juvenile courts, and more than half of America's 
children, must do without the diagnostic and therapeutic services 
such clinics provide. 

Similarly, other social services are sometimes available for dis- 
turbed children, sometimes not. To control a social phenomenon 
as complex as juvenile delinquency, a many-sided attack is needed. 
A school, for instance, cannot help little Tommy much if every 



WHOSE BLAME? 205 

time he goes home his drunken father gives him a beating and his 
mother is busy entertaining customers in the bedroom. In such a 
hypothetical case, various social services would be obliged to step 
in and lend a hand. 

A state welfare department, for example, could pay the rent and 
relieve Tommy's mother of her financial strain. An employment 
bureau could then find his father a job after a neighborhood 
church family-welfare agency had helped him cure himself of 
drinking. A public health clinic could cure him of the vitamin 
deficiency caused by alcohol. A family-service mental hygienist 
might rid him of his habit of beating Tommy. Such sources of 
assistance come under the designation of "social service." They 
include settlement houses, parent education classes, recreational 
facilities, aids to dependent or ill children, vocational guidance, 
nursing care, visiting teachers and other specialized types of help 
in almost endless variety. They may be furnished by public wel- 
fare agencies under municipal, county or state auspices or by 
private groups, foundations and churches. But in hundreds of cities 
and rural counties they are available too little and too late or not 
at all. 

This appalling condition is customarily blamed on state welfare 
departments, whose function it is to see that a sufficiency of child- 
welfare services are available from either public or private sources. 

The blame, of course, is not theirs but ours. 

When each of us, within our means, gives sufficient money, sup- 
port and participation, then will our public agencies and private 
ones be able to furnish what the Department of Labor calls for in 
its recommended program for controlling juvenile delinquency: 

Social services adapted to the needs of any child who pre- 
sents behavior problems in the home, school or elsewhere, 
and made available to parents, teachers, police, court offi- 
cials and others who deal with the child. 



14 



Whose Shame? 



OUR BRIEF INVENTORY IS MADE. WE HAVE LOOKED INTO 

the face of a problem that vitally effects the future of our country 
and our people. We have "taken stock" of social institutions, in- 
cluding the home, influencing the amount of delinquency, and of 
the direction of efforts to control it. But we still remain somewhat 
up in the air about basic causes. . . . 

In previous chapters have been mentioned a few experimental 
approaches to the delinquency problem. These were chosen for 
what to the author seems both historical significance in showing 
the evolution of present thinking on the subject and illustrative 
value in showing some trends pursued by later researches. Many 
of these far exceed in scope and importance such individual inves- 
tigations as those of Kvaraceus, or group efforts like the Judge 
Baker Guidance Clinic; a scant few even match the pioneering 
contributions of New York's Child Guidance Bureau, the Califor- 
nia Youth Authority and the St. Paul experiment. 

Among the most productive of the various research projects 
must be classed a memorable investigation by Connecticut au- 
thorities in 1946-47. It stands as a milestone in the long hunt for 
"causes" of child crime. 

Connecticut's Public Welfare Commission felt, perhaps rather 
optimistically, that it knew pretty well how to best handle a child 
after he had become delinquent. The trouble was that two out of 

206 



WHOSE SHAME? 207 

every hundred children in the state were requiring such handling, 
on grounds of waywardness or neglect. With both the child popu- 
lation and the delinquency trend going up, costs were enormous! 
The Commission decided to try on its own hook to slay the dragon 
of basic causes, if only to "reduce the number of children needing 
long-time expensive care." 

Enlisting the technical services of Community Surveys, Inc., 
under Reginald Robinson, the Commission authorized a thorough 
breakdown of all material facts about 4,03 5 families responsible for 
4,788 delinquent or neglected children in 1945. Next, from these 
an arithmetical sample of 378 families was chosen and subjected 
to case-by-case inspection. Finally, a special analysis was made of 
families in Stamford, aligning with the over-all picture the various 
social statistics from that city. 

Without going further into the methodology, it may be stated 
that this was the first exhaustive, scientific attempt on a state-wide 
basis to peer beneath the surface of delinquency. As might be ex- 
pected, some of its findings proved startling! It substantiated what 
a number of researchers were beginning to suspect and a few in a 
small way had attempted to demonstrate : 

1. So far as getting at causes is concerned, study of external 
traits such as age, sex, religion, economic status, size of family, 
place of residence and the like all "lead up blind alleys." 

2. The proportion of foreign-born fathers of delinquent chil- 
dren is almost exactly the same as the proportion of foreign-born 
males over 25 in the general population. Thus end attempts to 
pin delinquency on the nativity of parents. 

3. The proportion of non-white delinquents is not significantly 
greater than that of white delinquents. But there are exactly the 
same number of non-white delinquent children and non-white 
neglected children! 

4. Popularly blamed "causes" such as broken homes, large fam- 
ilies, low income, and poor housing in themselves do not create 
delinquency. 

5. In Connecticut, at least, community or neighborhood envi- 
ronment shows no important causal effect on delinquency. The 
state has no huge, crowded cities of the type where child crime 



208 JAILBAIT 

runs wild in "delinquency areas." Yet its rate of delinquency con- 
tinues high. 

6. Delinquency persists despite one of the best child welfare 
records in the Union, dating back to 1921! Child social services 
and recreational facilities, public and private, as well as juvenile 
court, probation and training systems, far surpass those of most 
other states; so the "blame" for delinquency would seem to lie 
elsewhere. 

For these findings alone, the survey would have been invaluable. 
As previously remarked, all researches into causes and controls 
should be encouraged, if only to narrow the field of search. 

Unfortunately, proceeding from this point, the Connecticut in- 
vestigators made something of a mistake. The author feels that 
they were justified on all the evidence to assume that delinquency, 
as a behavior problem, is merely a symptom of other disturbances. 
But they were not justified, in a scientific sense, in assuming that 
the other disturbances were necessarily family ones. Why not dis- 
turbances in the church? The political situation? The endocrine 
balance? Why not disturbances due, for the sake of argument, to 
over-zealous psychiatrists and teachers and state welfare depart- 
ments tampering too much, or in false directions, with children's 
early adjustments? 

The Connecticut survey missed a golden opportunity to throw 
out all preconceived notions of what did or did not cause delin- 
quency. Instead, having disproved a number of such notions, they 
proceeded on the theory that delinquency, like charity, begins at 
home. 

A promising tack! Most police, welfare and court authorities 
today agree that the seat of delinquency is somewhere in the home. 
Accordingly, statistically and by intensive case analysis, the survey 
sought evidences of family troubles wherever there were children's 
troubles. And again the investigation came up with some startling 
facts. 

1. Of the arithmetical sample of 378 families, 57 consisted of 
neglect cases, 321 of delinquency cases. Among the latter, more 
than half showed possible symptoms of family breakdown such as 



WHOSE SHAME? 209 

crime, divorce, mental disease, mental deficiency, illegitimacy, 
economic need, ill health. In the writer's opinion, the startling 
thing is nearly half did not! 

2. Somewhat taken aback, the investigators sought other pos- 
sible breakdown symptoms in fields which sometimes do not ap- 
pear in official files, but which might make "unofficial" trouble: 
extra-marital sex relations, alcoholism, violent quarreling, separa- 
tion, desertion, irregular work, non-support. Of all 378 families 
including the neglect cases 217 showed one or more of these 
symptoms. But 161 did not/ 

3. In a separate control investigation into 1162 families in 
Stamford listed as showing the following irregularities delin- 
quency, neglect, crime, divorce, mental disease, mental deficiency 
the Commission found that one-fourth of the families showing 
delinquency also showed symptoms in the other categories, as- 
sumed to indicate family breakdown. But three out of four fami- 
lies did not! 

Despite these findings, the investigators kept boring into the 
family situation as the causal factor of delinquency. They took 
the view that if they could have gone deeply enough into the back- 
grounds of the families showing no breakdown symptoms, such 
symptoms in all probability would have turned up. They decided 
the figures confirmed the belief that delinquency has its roots in 
family disorganization. 

Meanwhile they overlooked, or at least did not stress, some fur- 
ther startling information in their own mathematics, again impor- 
tantly narrowing the field for future researchers. 

Thus, the figures tended to show that while 63 percent of the 
neglect cases had a history of crime in the family only 18 percent 
of the delinquency cases had such a history. Further, 46 percent 
of the neglect cases showed illegitimacy but only 6 percent of 
the delinquency cases. 

The largest single disturbance among the delinquent families 
was economic, with need occurring in 30 percent. Truancy as an 
actual delinquency occurred in 32 percent of these families. 

But possibly the most suggestive statistic is this: Of all the 
neglect cases, one in three showed delinquency ... so parental 



210 JAILBAIT 

neglect may have something to do with causing it. Yet of all the 
delinquency cases, only one in ten showed neglect as a primary 
symptom! Is it possible, despite the experts, that other things 
besides parental neglect can make a delinquent? 

Continuing its investigation into the type of delinquent which 
interested it, the one who came from a disorganized family, the 
survey came up with further shrewd and significant observations. 
It found, for example, that the types of disorganization in 281 of 
its 378 families ran about as follows: 56 percent, emotional in- 
stability; 10 percent, mental deficiency; 7 percent, disinterested 
parents; 5 percent, mental disease; 3 percent, ill health; 2 per- 
cent, incompatibility; 1 percent, cultural conflict (parents of dif- 
ferent race or religion) ; .4 percent, economic need. The categories 
overlap, with families often showing more than one of these dis- 
turbances. Although economic need occurred in a considerable 
number of the families, for example, usually some other factor was 
more important in creating the disorganization. It should be noted 
that in 20 percent of these families, no identifying disturbance 
could be determined. Also, information on the missing 98 cases 
mostly delinquency families was too meager to be conclusive. 

The survey further found that the family troubles, whatever 
they were, directly affected both delinquent and neglected children 
as follows: 32 percent, deprivation of affection; 28 percent, dep- 
rivation of family security; 18 percent, deprivation of physical 
necessities; 15 percent, deprivation of social opportunities; 12 
percent, over-indulgence or over-protection; 4 percent, pressure 
from school or friends; 2 percent, exposure to (bad) neighbor- 
hood patterns. Again the categories overlap. And in 20 percent 
of these children, no definite effect of the family disturbance could 
be found. 

From all this, the Connecticut people reached the conclusion 
that delinquency was chiefly caused by " family disorganization." 
It could therefore be best controlled by aiding families to avoid 
disorganization. The investigators made recommendations to that 
effect, calling for additional social services to families, and an over- 
haul of those already in existence. 



WHOSE SHAME? 211 

To repeat, a memorable investigation into delinquency, one of 
the most fruitful on record. 

By far the most ambitious anti-delinquency project, however, 
was completed in 1946 by the National Conference on Prevention 
and Control of Juvenile Delinquency, called by Attorney General 
Tom C. Clark. This was not so much an experimental or research 
project as an exhaustive survey of all work in the field all known 
facts, surmises and methods of approach plus recommendations 
based on the sum of all experience to that date. Results were 
published in the form of eighteen separate reports, each covering 
a specific aspect of delinquency, each compiled by panels of dozens 
of leading experts. 

One basic and underlying conclusion emerging from all the 
reports was that delinquency could not be fought on any single 
front. It could be conquered, if at all, only by extending and 
strengthening the whole complex of social services, making preven- 
tive and curative facilities available to all children and social 
help available to all adults. The Connecticut survey, like many 
others, in the end came to a similar recommendation; it advised 
that not only child services, but family and parent services as well, 
be emphasized. These views are an inevitable outgrowth of what 
most delinquency experts finally begin to accept, thus expressed by 
the National Conference: "There are as many causes of delin- 
quency as there are evils and errors in this world." And addressing 
itself to the American home, it warns: 

Nobody should be taken seriously who blames delin- 
quency on "parents," on "cigarettes," on "mothers work- 
ing," on "progressive education," on "the moving pictures," 
on "malnutrition" or on any other one cause. It does not 
matter who or what such a person is how much he may 
know about something else. He is being careless or ignorant 
when he tries to "blame" anything as complicated as delin- 
quency on any one thing. 

The author thoroughly subscribes to this position. No two kids 
are ever exactly the same, nor have exactly the same experiences. 



212 JAILBAIT 

"Every delinquent act is a unique response to a unique situation." 
In view of such complexity, control can only occur through attack 
on all sides, from all social agencies, with all instruments available. 

But one cannot help feeling that the work would be greatly 
speeded if only more were definitely established about causes. Not 
so foolish as he seems is one reform-school psychiatrist known to 
the author who is investigating a pet theory that delinquency often 
follows trauma during infancy actual physical injury such as a 
fall on the head. Nor another investigator, a psychometrist, who 
has been struck by the high incidence of "Jr." attached to the 
names of maladjusted boys, and is looking for clues in that direc- 
tion! Any common denominator of cause, no matter how slight, 
could foster a common ground of approach. A general direction, 
an orientation, a knowledge of just what they are trying to do, are 
lacking alike among parents and agencies manned by specialists. 
Says Dr. J. Franklin Robinson of the Wilkes-Barre Children's 
Service Center, commenting on trends in child guidance clinics: 
"We are on uncertain ground when we try to tell which (mal- 
adjusted) children will do poorly in later life. An evaluation at a 
given point cannot divine the future." For the sake of skilled 
psychiatrist and struggling mother, there should be no relaxation 
in the search for conditions predictably leading to delinquency. 
We know that causative conditions exist for delinquency exists! 

And already, as we have seen, the field has been greatly nar- 
rowed. There is legitimate hope for that surer identification of the 
causes of delinquency which would prove so helpful. 

The chief stumbling-block thus far is that too much remains to 
be explained away. Family breakdown may be a genuine cause 
of certain delinquencies. But as the Connecticut survey itself asks 
what about the children in many disturbed families who do not 
become delinquent? What about two boys in the same disturbed 
family, one of whom becomes delinquent while the other does not? 

We need not try to deny that in a white-hot slum area full of 
racial and economic tensions, delinquency lurks on every corner. 
Yet the great majority of children even there do not become delin- 
quent! Why? 

It would seem that no matter what the surrounding quicksands, 



WHOSE SHAME? 213 

it takes something to push the child into them. The broken homes, 
the poverties, the cultural tensions, the boredoms, none of these 
have fully demonstrated themselves the crucial factor though 
they may be the material of the quicksands. 

Yet from examination of thousands of cases, many of which 
have been mentioned in this book, the author has come to feel that 
a possible causative pattern makes itself visible. In the author's 
belief, if not the causes, then the categories of cause, must narrow 
to four: 

First and most important lack of love! Second lack of 
example! Third lack of responsibilities! And fourth lack of 
natural equipment! 

Of the first two, Katherine F. Lenroot, chief of the Children's 
Bureau, has said: "There are two things essential to childhood 
love and example! Of these, the greater is love." 

It is love, essentially, which gives a child the security and solid- 
ity to stand firm in the face of difficulty. Lack of it may lead to 
maladjustment in a variety of forms, including delinquency. Love, 
however, must be qualified even mother love. It must be ad- 
ministered with wisdom. Over-indulgence and over-protection, let 
us remember, accounted for a good percentage of the delinquencies 
in Connecticut's disturbed families. 

Over-solicitude on the part of parents may impart just as much 
delinquency potential on occasion as neglect. Conversely, it is the 
younger child in the large family, who, although relatively neg- 
lected by busy and aging parents, as often as not grows into a 
more solid citizen than his older brothers who enjoyed greater pa- 
rental attention, if not devotion. And the only child, as everyone 
knows, being the sole object of warm, constant parental care, fre- 
quently is on that account rendered into a spoiled, maladjusted 
neurotic the very prototype of the delinquent. It has even been 
said by certain sociologists that parents, being what they are, 
would often do better by their children to neglect them than to 
impose their own twisted codes, prejudices and superstitions on 
the defenseless youngsters. 

However that may be, lack of warm yet balanced love, and of 
its overt evidences such as affection, are pretty well recognized as 



214 JAILBAIT 

delinquency factors by most child authorities. Lack of good ex- 
ample or conversely, abundance of unsound example likewise 
are widely accepted as contributing factors. But the full implica- 
tions of example seem scantily appreciated. 

The National Advisory Police Committee's manual on delin- 
quency, issued with the approval of the International Association 
of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff's Association, is one of 
the most practical and concise treatments of the subject. Among 
its many pithy remarks is one to the effect that its recommended 
techniques for delinquency prevention could very well serve for 
the prevention of prostitution. There is definite kinship between 
origins of prostitution and other sex crime, and origins of all delin- 
quency. This became evident in an earlier chapter, when it was 
pointed out that the juvenile sex offense rises largely from the 
milieu. Society fails to get its moral teachings across to the 
youngster because the adult does not live up to those teachings. 
He falls short in example! 

This he does, whether parent or teacher, whenever he loses his 
temper, is unjust, bullies. The parent who casually fibs over the 
telephone is making his child a liar. The mother who treats hired 
servants in some way to emphasize difference is creating an area of 
cultural tension. The elder brother who comes home with violent 
tales of war or love can expect a kid to try and follow in his foot- 
steps. A child does not do as he is told. He does what he sees 
others do chiefly those others he admires and loves. Even if all 
moral teachings and proscriptions were essentially false, so long as 
his elders followed them so would the child at least until he grew 
up! For the child largely learns to handle himself by aping, by 
imitation, by patterning himself on those around him. 

In some juvenile gang situations and other delinquencies, the of- 
fender is not behaving abnormally but quite normally according 
to the actions of his circle. So far as the child can judge by what 
he observes, it is normal to make and carry a gun, normal to beat 
up the guys on the next block just as it is normal for kids from 
shacks along the railroad to steal coal. All society must be on 
guard to impress on children by example that the proper thing 



WHOSE SHAME? 215 

is the normal thing. And warns Dr. Brock Chisholm, United Na- 
tions social and child expert: 

"The responsibility of parents and teachers of young children is 
to show in their own persons the kind of citizenship that will make 
it possible for the human race to survive in the future." 

For the example that makes a delinquent is the example that 
can destroy a world. 

Third conies the matter of giving children responsibility. This 
area has been singularly neglected by delinquency investigators. 
In all the hundreds of thousands of words of the National Confer- 
ence on Prevention and Control, exhaustively reporting on the 
field, responsibility was mentioned only in two or three sentences 
chiefly in the panel report on rural delinquency. There it was 
briefly observed that responsibilities given to children around farm 
homes seemed to inhibit delinquency. 

Chores and home duties no longer fall to any great extent on the 
shoulders of city children. The Children's Bureau and other au- 
thorities recommend participation of kids in family planning and 
activities ; this in part, perhaps, can serve as a substitute. 

But putting duty and program upon a child cannot be neglected 
if delinquency is to be avoided. The writer's opinion is that re- 
sponsibility is virtually as important to normal child growth as 
love in fact it is a demonstration of the trust, need and accept- 
ance which signify love. By responsibility is not meant any heavy 
tasks or weighty, complicated duties, or strict regimens of any 
kind. But just as a dog "goes bad" without a bit of work, so does 
a child. It is through responsibility that the youngster exercises 
his strengths, builds his character, acquires his self-discipline and 
control over his moods. If we love our children and fear for them, 
let us take the pains to see that each child has a service to per- 
form, his and his only, according to his age and ability. To neglect 
this is to neglect his growth! 

Ask any probation officer or playground director how often giv- 
ing responsibility to an offending child has saved the day! Such 
vesting of responsibility is an exhibition of trust, a sincere flattery. 
It heals the disturbed ego, and shapes the healthy one. 



216 JAILBAIT 

Most delinquencies in the end can be accounted for by the 
three mentioned lacks in the background of the child. But if he has 
these requisites and yet becomes delinquent, it could be because 
he is reacting abnormally because of faulty mental or physical 
equipment. This is our fourth causal lack: lack of capacity to ad- 
just because of mental deficiency, mental disease, physical handi- 
caps, glandular disturbances. It is sickness. Often it can be cured 
by doctor or psychiatrist. If not, the child must be placed in a 
special environment at home or in an institution. Otherwise the 
delinquent or quasi-delinquent child in this category must remain 
a menace to society and himself. 

If we wish, we can look on it in this way kids are born delin- 
quent. As infants they are cute as puppies and as animal as 
puppies. It is only the pressure of social restraint and moral teach- 
ing which gradually confines the beast ; and these are transmitted, 
if the child has healthy responses, by love by example by the 
taste of responsibility. Without these three pressures, nothing 
exists to confine the savage, to convert him into a social creature. 

So let us all, in homes or in bureaus, try to see that every child 
gets warm affection and acceptance. Let us set the example for 
tomorrow by our example today in the conduct of our busi- 
nesses, our persons, our lives. Let us give every child a game, and 
a task as well. All play and no work may make Jack a delinquent 
boy. 

And to keep our powder dry, let us extend and improve all in- 
stitutions, schools and services dealing with children directly or 
through their families not only disturbed children, but healthy 
children as well; not only children with green hair but all chil- 
dren. 

We owe the effort to ourselves. We were all kids once, and our 
elders gave us the world. Let us pass it on to a generation better 
than ours. 

And let us remember that if there is shame in delinquency it 
belongs not to the delinquent but to ourselves, who created him 
in our own image. 

FINIS 



(Continued from front flap) 



WILLIAM BERNARD, the author under 
various pseudonyms of fascinating socio- 
logical and psychological works, in this 
hook writes with penetration and frank- 
ness and a fine scorn for the pussyfoot- 
ing approach which so often interferes 
with public understanding of delinquen- 
cy. His contention is that thousands of 
potentially valuable citizens are lost to 
our society each year because of prissi- 
ncss, ignorance and indifference with re- 
spect to youth's problems. 

In this book he goes into detail about 
the delinquent himself, and what is 
or is not being done to succor the 
youthful transgressor. He is sharply crit- 
cal of some of the well-meant but mis- 
guided corrective methods of various 
church and institutional authorities. He 
finds that the psychoanalytical method, 
so popular among social and court work- 
ers today, is not yielding results. Nor, 
on the whole, are the efforts of penal 
institutions dealing with adolescents. 
This view he supports with intimate case 
histories, with the frightening statistics 
of waywardness, with excursions into the 
heart and mind of the sex-ridden or 
thieving youngster. What, then, is to 
done? In these gripping pages may be 
found the answer. 




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