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 IV
PROBATION AND PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

"Social Pathology" is the term used to include poverty, insanity, crime, unemployment, and many other so-called diseases of society. The connection between pathology and crime is neither remote nor figurative. Criminologists have for many years sought to discover relationships between distorted minds and malformed and malfunctioning bodies and the incidence of crime. Lombroso's theory of biological degeneracy finds a modern counterpart in Adler's theory that social maladjustment often results from "organ inferiority."1

This chapter attempts to determine for 500 juvenile delinquents first, the amount of physical inferiority, disease, and defect, and the relation between these handicaps and delinquency; and second, the relation between inner mental life and delinquency. The investigation of the first problem resolves itself into three questions: (1) What is the physical status of the children? (2) What can the probation officer do to correct physical handicaps? (3) How is improved physical condition related to improved conduct?


THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF 500 JUVENILE DELINQUENTS

Three-fourths of all the children suffered from slight physical difficulties at the time of their examination or during the course of their probation. Only one-fourth (106 boys and 27 girls) were physically sound in that no defects had been noted. Inasmuch as few people of any social group are absolutely perfect physical specimens, it may well be that these cases

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1
Adler Alfred, The Theory and Practice of Individual Psychology, Chapter 25, pp. 306-16.

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