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bation officer. There is nothing new in my conclusions, yet I would set them forth here, and in the following order: love for people and for work; knowledge, which includes technique and skill; wisdom, which is a mixture of love, knowledge, and understanding; courage and faith in abundance, and having all these, I would add the medium of magnetic personality-for thus only can we hope to cross the bridge which divides us from our unfortunate children, and give to them those things which they need.
INSTITUTIONS FOR DELINQUENT CHILDREN
Carrie Weaver Smith, M.D., Superintendent, Texas Training School
My first inclination in considering this subject is to announce in clerical tones, "The morning lesson will be the first twelve chapters of Youth in Conflict (not, thank Heaven, by Saint Miriam Van Waters, but by very human Miriam Van Waters), after which we will be led in prayer by anyone whose humility does not inhibit his powers of articulate speech!" I have been superintendent of a state training school for girls for nearly ten years, but never have I so clearly realized that "I have done those things that I ought not to have done, and left undone those things that I ought to have done" as I did when I read Dr. Van Water's great, understanding book. Automatically I fell to singing that wonderful negro spiritual, "It's me, it's me, it's me, Oh Lord, standin' in the need of prayer." So my frame of mind in coming before you, attempting to answer the question of whether or not it is possible for an institution to fulfil its divine mission, is, I assure you, not that of one who has in any sense arrived, but who, in spite of recognized failures, continues to have enough faith in the possibilities of the job to travel hopefully.
Even though I may have to make use of what may seem the "vain repetition of the heathen," I propose to answer the question that has been put to me, by a series of "not if's."
Can the institution equip a girl for normal, social relationships? Not if it assumes that normal social relationships characterize the great world outside of institutional walls. That is not the statement of a cynic. The foundation of failure with a child in the so-called "correctional institution" is laid when an effort is made to get her to believe that between her and the normal a great gulf is fixed; that she had to be brought to the training school because her standards of conduct were so far out of line that the normal community would no longer tolerate her. She knows that, in the immortal words of David Harum, "There's as much human nature in some folks as there is in others, if not more."
Says Dr. Van Waters, "Almost all delinquencies of youth are the expressed social standards of a part of the adult community, which is under no indictment, and which flourishes without condemnation." For, in the processes of-juvenile justice as practiced, one is reminded of the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, "Two women shall be grinding together at the mill; one shall be taken and the other left." The moral delinquent may not have read Dr. Catherine Davis' startling report of the sex life of college women, but, paraphrasing Kipling, "Sallie ain't no bloomin' fool, you bet that Sallie sees."
As in a case of our own, Sallie felt the injustice of sending the Baptist preacher's daughter, with whom she had engaged in what is familiarly known as "hustling," to a finishing school in Virginia, allowing the eighteen school boys in the case to go "scott free," but sending her, the widow's daughter, to the training school. And, therefore, to what is already a difficult problem is added the still greater task of trying to make a sophisticated cynic of fifteen believe that while the "world," as she fondly calls it, is not Utopia, neither is it Babylon, but is the city of "Everytown," where Everyman and his family live, and where in spite of the injustice and hypocrisy of society there moves a great and ever increasing caravan marching steadfastly toward the Celestial City of Bunyan's dream, "wherein dwelleth righteousness" naturally and uncoerced.
Can the institution equip the girl for normal, social relationships? Not if the institution fails to give to its girls standards. There is no story in history more inspiring than the account of the Battle of the Standard between David of Scotland and King Stephen. In this battle a ship's mast was erected on a wagon and placed in the center of the English army. To the mast were nailed the standards of battle flags of the English. On the top of the mast was a golden casket, containing a consecrated Host. This standard, as we know, became the rallying point for the hard-pressed soldiers, around which they gained new courage. The chronicle records: "The fierce hordes dashed in vain against the closed English ranks around the Standard."
Have we, as institutional administrators, realizing the inevitable battle in which our children will be conscripted, provided for them a towering standard? In a "world not right" can they rely on the moral teaching, the habit-training, the self-dependence, the joy of workmanship, the recognition of the impositions of noblesse oblige that they should have achieved from their institutional experience?
Can the institution equip the girl for normal, social relationships? Not if the members of the staff of the institution are themselves lacking in the prerequisites so imperative for passing on to impressionable children the characteristics just enumerated. The institution for the delinquent girl is too much of a combination of a home for the aged, who for some political reason are state retainers, and whose lack of education and physical strength necessitate the use of mechanical means of control; too much of a training school for the inexperienced, whose motive in coming into the work is based on morbid curiosity, whose
interest is an effort to answer for themselves the prayer that is attributed to this jazz age, "Give us this day our daily thrill"; too much of a harbor for the middle-aged failure in everything else, who for financial reasons wants some sure money, coming at regular intervals, "with keep furnished." Quoting Paul, "Brethren and sisters, these things ought not so to be." Boards of control, legislators, and the public have the attitude that any old thing is good enough, generally, "for that kind of girls." The truth of the matter is that few things are good enough and nothing is too good. Our only hope for our girls is to give to them "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report." A tremendous change of attitude will have to take place before we will be able to find those men and women who, in all relationships with delinquents, will be able to give of those riches which are within, which are so necessary. I rather doubt if this difficulty is altogether a matter of low salaries. The most devoted workers and the most effectual in schools for delinquents are not well paid. In fact, the sense of "importancy," as we say down south, which too frequently comes to even the social workers with the high salary, often militates against the possession of that quality which is the sine qua non for successful work, humility. There are no more successful workers with delinquents in the world than the unpaid sisters of the Houses of the Good Shepherd, because they have realized the truth of the social worker's creed so well formulated by Owen Lovejoy, "God is a Father; man is a brother; life is a mission and not a career; dominion is service, its sceptre is gladness; the least is the greatest; saving is dying; giving is living; life is eternal and love is its crown." When we stand baffled, as did the disciples of old in the presence of the demoniac, and ask in despair, "Why cannot we cast out devils?" the simple answer comes, which is as true today as it was two thousand years ago, "This kind cometh not out except by prayer and fasting.” By "prayer" the Master did not mean the "praying machine" that revolves night and morning in most institutions, but rather a spiritual-mindedness which makes possible constant, unremitting faith, patience, and love. Nor by "fasting" do I feel that he could have meant an unreasonable abstinence from physical food, which, after all, is so incidental, but rather the spirit of unselfishness or even self-immolation which might well be expressed in the words of John the Baptist in referring to the Messiah, "He must increase, but I must decrease." A notable poem which, unfortunately, does not seem to have been sufficiently broadcasted, was some time ago written by Jess Pearlman. It too often characterizes the attitude of social workers:
He serves and struts; he cannot give
But of his dying hour, half
He'd use to write his epitaph.
There is no questioning his great
Unflagging service to his neighbors,
But like a child whose drawings wait
The person who goes into work for delinquent children with any ulterior motive stands as the greatest reason why institutions do not prepare for normal, social relationships. But there is a leaven of workers with disinterested motives, to whom is attributable such success as institutions attain.
Can the institution equip a girl for normal, social relationships? Not if it fails to recognize the intrinsic worth of the so-called "delinquent girl." I have used the word "intrinsic" deliberately because of its connotation of core, pith, and backbone. When will social workers with these girls realize the essentiality of Browning's conclusion:
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
Where truth abides in fulness; . . . . and to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
We have many times marveled at what are called "spontaneous cures" from delinquency. Perhaps we rather resent these demonstrations of children apparently elevating themselves by their own bootstraps. Like Naaman of Syria we wish to make a great display of our "methods and technique of therapy" and say, "I did it," when, many times, taking a child who is broken out with the leprosy of artificiality and dipping her into the river Jordan of naturalness will immediately transform her from an outcast into a normal individual. We oftentimes fail to realize the tremendous truth and human economy involved in the old woman's prayer when she said, "Good Lord, take care of me until blackberry time and then I can take care of myself." In the name of childhood, let us not, through our undervaluing of the individual's worth, complicate a simple situation by our ill-advised attempts at super-salvation. Among the greatest inspirational experiences that I have ever had have been the observations of the heroic fight put up by children in the training school to overcome their own faults, and the realization of the splendid qualities which our children have acquired like "Kiki," on the "corners of streets."
Can the institution equip the girl for normal, social relationships? Not if the institution for girls, in its vocabulary, methods, or sentiment, allows itself to be classified as a penal institution. Dr. Van Waters and a few other people know that the only definition of the delinquent is: "A delinquent is a child whom we have failed to educate properly." And yet the boys' and girls' training schools all over America are, by even the workers with juveniles, classified as penal institutions. It is done by the federal government. Witness the directory which
they get out in census year, in which information about the penitentiaries is bound in the same volume with the information about the girls' training schools. That is the attitude from the point of view of the "outside in," but still many, unfortunately, have the same attitude from the "inside out," as indicated by, for example, the very convenient booklet compiled by a training school for boys, in which the Girls' Training School at Gainesville, Texas, is listed between Ferguson Farm and Harlem Farm, two of the notorious Texas penitentiary colonies. Mr. Frank Tannenbaum wrote up the Texas Girls' Training School in ✓ an article on "Southern Prisons." The public takes its cue from the institutional people, and the child we have been trying to educate and treat as a schoolgirl finds herself, when released from the training school, thanks to our shortsightedness, looked upon as an ex-convict. This thing of public sentiment, as it affects the juvenile, is not to be considered lightly. It has blasted the hope of happiness of many a girl who was trying her wings after her training-school stay. I feel that heads of training schools for juveniles are making a grave mistake, far-reaching in its results, when they continue to meet as executives under the banner of the American Prison Association and the National Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor. I have great respect for these organizations. They have most valuable functions, but a mission to childhood is not one of them. Our books on juvenile delinquency are printed in "The Criminal Monograph Series," and it is no wonder that when I went to the Dallas Public Library, in getting data for this paper, in looking for the subject "juvenile delinquency," I was promptly referred to "Crime." Such an attitude on the part of the public has necessitated the losing of his identity by the alumnus of the juvenile training schools. This is particularly true in the case of girls. Our girls in Texas, and no doubt your girls in Colorado and elsewhere, must repress all reference to their training-school days if they dare hope to be accepted on the social level for which they have been prepared. I have had a girl returned to the institution for no other reason than that the family with whom she was living insisted that she inhibit the childlike tendency to refer frequently to the only happy years which she had ever spent-those at the Training School. The conflict which is almost bound to result in such an attitude has caused the failure of many a girl on parole. Several years ago when the Texas institution was being attacked, one of the facetious Texas papers inserted the following in its joke column: "There is one thing about an inquiry into such an institution as the Girls' Training School, the alumnae never have meetings to protest." Why not? Because, the public hands hope to a girl with its right hand and withdraws it with its left, unmindful of its utter folly. Must we wait for the great celestial reunion before we see the evidences of joy over the return of one that repenteth on the part of the ninety and nine that safely lie in the shelter of the fold? Can it be that they are conscious of a feeling of insecurity themselves, which they dare not express, as they consistently refuse to make place for the more adventurous lamb?