Juvenile Probation: An Analysis of the Case Records of Five Hundred Children Studied at the Judge Baker Guidance Clinic and Placed on Probation in the Juvenile Court of Boston

By Belle Boone Beard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
500 DELINQUENTS AND THEIR PROBLEMS

Before attempting treatment the probation officer should know all that he can about the delinquent. The intensive study of each individual described in the preceding chapter revealed a multiplicity of detail. These data may be divided for practical purposes into two classes: first, the unmodifiable data concerning the delinquent at the time he appears in court; and second, those aspects of the child's life with which the probation officer is chiefly concerned in treatment. The latter type of material--dealing with the home situation, physical condition, recreation and companionship, work and education of the child--is reserved for succeeding chapters discussing treatment and comprising the major part of this book.

The former type of information includes age, sex, intelligence, nationality, religion, home status, offense, causation, and programs for treatment. This statistical material tends to answer the questions so often asked: "Are boys more likely to be delinquent than girls?" "Is it only the feeble-minded who get into court?" "Are most juvenile offenders foreigners?" "Do not delinquents usually come from broken homes?" "What is the relation of poverty to crime?" "What offense is most often committed?" The clinical study tends to answer the questions: "Why do children become delinquents?" and "What can be done with the youthful offender?"


SEX

The 500 children with whom this study deals are fourfifths boys.1 This distribution cannot be considered indicative

____________________
1
When taken serially the first 500 cases included 104 girls and 396 boys. Since this number so nearly approached a four to one ratio, the last four girls were arbitrarily

-15-

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