Academic journal article Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Children in Our Prisons

Academic journal article Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Children in Our Prisons

Article excerpt

We in the United States are proud of our work for the welfare of our children. At its best our child welfare legislation is second to none. In the case of the delinquent child, we have created juvenile courts and some model institutions; and we have accepted the principle that the child offender should be clearly distinguished in law from the adult or near-adult, and should be treated as a socially neglected child to be provided with opportunities for wholesome educational and corrective influences. In spite of these professed beliefs, we constantly fall short of our ideals. Most of our "juvenile courts" are travesties of that ideal and we still confine some children in our jails to await trial and send them to prisons or reformatories designed for older offenders.

According to information supplied by the state and federal prisons and reformatories for adults to the United States Bureau of the Census, there were in 1929 and 1930 at least 50 children under 15 years of age committed on sentence to these institutions. The appended table gives some data regarding these children. The information was not specially verified. The age requested was that of the last birthday prior to the admission to the institution. Data were lacking both years from. Alabama and Georgia; in 1929 from Mississippi; and in 1930 from Idaho. All of the children were born in the United States.

CHILDREN UNDER 15 COMMITTED IN 1929 AND 1930 ON SENTENCE TO
STATE AND FEDERAL PENAL INSTITUTIONS FOR ADULTS
(1930 commitments are starred)

Jurisdiction     Age   Sex   Race  Offense

Federal          13     M    White   Violation Prohibition Act
Federal          13     M    White   Viol. Nat. Motor Veh. Act
Federal          14     M    White   Viol. Nat. Motor Veh. Act
Federal *        14     M    White   Sodomy
Arkansas         14     M    White   Burglary and Grand Larceny
Arkansas         14     M    Negro   Grand Larceny
Arkansas         13     M    Negro   Grand Larceny
Arkansas         14     M    White   Forgery
Arkansas         12     M    Negro   Rape
Arkansas *       13     M    Negro   Forgery and Uttering
Arkansas *       14     M    Negro   Burglary and Grand Larceny
Florida          13     M    Negro   Manslaughter
Florida          14     M    Negro   Breaking and Entering
Florida *        12     F    White   Breaking and Entering
Florida *        14     M    Negro   Murder, 1st Degree
Illinois *       14     M    White   Murder
Indiana          14     M    White   Taking Vehicle
Indiana          14     M    White   Taking Vehicle
Indiana          14     M    White   Grand Larceny
Iowa *           14     M    White   Murder, 2nd Degree
Kentucky *       14     F    Negro   Manslaughter
Louisiana        13     M    Negro   Murder
Maryland *       14     M    Negro   Murder, 1st Degree
Michigan         14     M    White   Unlawful driving away auto. … 
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