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To provide against a repetition of such cases the Pennsylvania School of Social and Health Work and the Graduate School of Social Administration of the University of Chicago have this year offered courses in legal aid law. These courses have been well attended. They are not designed to turn out lawyers, but to show the social workers how important are these contacts with the law. The other phase of development has been along the lines of theory. We have set out to discover the limits of the legal social field and to see to it that no case arising therein calling for help shall fail to receive adequate attention. In a way we are setting limits to the field of social work. The importance of the matter is set out in the preface to the record of the proceedings at the Philadelphia conference in these words:
The relationship between social service work and legal aid work and the relative significance of the different concepts which underlie these two branches of public welfare work present what is perhaps the most important, and what is certainly the most interesting, question that now confronts us.
It is reasonably clear that sooner or later the legal aid societies will be forced to find the correct answer to these questions. The issues are perhaps the most dangerous they have ever faced. A decision, if proved by time to be wrong, may destroy public confidence in their work, or, on the other hand, deter the poor from freely consulting them. It is obviously of vital importance that every effort be made to discover the true answers to this difficulty.
We began with the theory that legal aid work was obtaining legal justice and that social work was obtaining social justice, and that there was no contact between them. Then facts forced us out of that position and we came to the conclusion that certain types of cases handled by legal aid organizations were purely legal problems, involving no social element whatever. These we listed as cases presumably not needing more than legal justice: estate of deceased persons, employment agencies, insurance, landlord and tenant, lawyer's misconduct, personal property, seaman's cases, torts in general, personal injuries, workmen's compensation, contract, debt, and money claims. Another group we said were of a social nature, and these we listed as cases presumably needing more than legal justice: bastardy, children's cases, criminal cases, insanity. A third group which we said was doubtful and might or might not contain social problems consisted of cases of bankruptcy, domestic relations, loan sharks, advice, miscellaneous.
Facts again drove us from that position and we came to the conclusion that not the case but the client should be the basis of our study. It became clear that any person coming to our office might have a legal problem. In addition, he might have a social problem, which, in turn, might be related or unrelated to the legal problem. We had admitted all along our duty to handle the legal problem. We now began to realize that particularly where the social problem was related to the legal problem we should try to take steps to set the whole matter right. Our own part we can usually handle, but the social problem we believe should be placed on the doorstep of the proper social agency.
Having convinced ourselves of this we went further to discover how many
of our clients presented actual social problems as well as legal problems. We found by a careful study of a large number of cases that an average of 50 per cent of the cases which came to us were cases of people also known to social agencies; that the other 50 per cent apparently were not so known. So we came to the conclusion that half of our work, at least, was with the same group of people in the community who form the raw material of social work. The other 50 per cent may come from a group on the next step higher up, economically speaking.
Our next inquiry was as to whether we were securing from social agencies all the cases involving legal matters which come to them. A preliminary study on this point causes us to believe that the social worker in many cases did not recognize a legal problem when she saw it. In return, some courageous mortal suggested that legal aid workers did not recognize social problems when they saw them. It was to work out a solution at least to a part of this problem that we determined, in conjunction with the schools of social work, to give courses in legal aid law. We believe that we can instruct the student social workers in certain elements of the law so that they will recognize a legal problem when they see one and will turn it over to a legal aid society to be handled. A correlative proposition is already an established practice in the law schools of Harvard, Northwestern, and Minnesota universities, where legal clinics are regularly held.
But at last we have passed into a further stage. We know that the future holds much in the greater exploration of this whole legal-social field. We are turning our eyes toward a final comprehensive attack upon the problem.
On the one hand are ranged the legal profession with its background of legalistic thinking, the law with its precedents and established methods of development, the courts with their procedure for handling cases. On the other hand is the group of social workers with a very different point of view, trying perhaps to readjust the socially inadequate, perhaps to readjust social organization and procedure in the interest of human welfare according to scientific standards. In between come the legal aid groups, in a field partially but not entirely covered by either the bar or social worker. Our contacts with the bar are well established and are growing year by year. Our contacts with social agencies are necessary to a complete mastery of this field. The nature of those contacts in the past and present we have discussed. There remains to say a word about the lines along which our contacts should proceed in the future. We have three major problems: first, to determine what is our mutual goal in relation both to law and to social work; second, to remove any stumbling-blocks of misunderstanding as to our work; third, to take up and consider in detail the specific tasks which confront us both.
We believe that the mutual goal for us both is to "examine the limits of the legal-social field and to see to it that safeguards are provided, so that no case arising anywhere within the jurisdiction of either group fails to receive an ade
quate remedy. We believe that the stumbling-blocks of misunderstanding, professional bias, and certain innate provincialisms on both sides must be removed. We believe that the specific tasks that confront us may be listed under the following headings: first, the problem of establishing legal aid machinery wherever it is needed; second, the problem of coordinating it with existing legal and social institutions, so that it may function completely yet without overlapping; third, the problem of a constantly growing personnel to handle the work, which must be drawn from lawyers, social workers, and other groups in the community, and trained adequately.
All this means a fascinating study of the philosophy of the law, of social work, and of legal aid work in relation to each other. The prospect of working in such a field is fascinating indeed. If one will but start without prejudices and work honestly and earnestly toward a full understanding of the facts and the deductions to be drawn therefrom there is nothing in it impossible of achievement. But we must pave the way. We may make this study only with adequate machinery for the purpose. If we have not the vision to establish such machinery we can go but a little way along the road.
In conclusion, let me urge upon you the value of providing a means of study of this problem. May I suggest a round table discussion each year at the meeting of the National Conference. Then those of us who are engaged in making studies may bring these studies, with our hopes and fears, an to open forum. Before a critical, intelligent group we may discuss and weigh the merits of each of our propositions. We may rub off the corners and polish up our points of view. May I urge that this meeting refer to the proper officers of the National Conference its conviction that a study of legal-social relations be made, and that it may be made through such a round table meeting. The ultimate consequences we may only guess at. But it is inspiring to think that we can thus jointly inaugurate an investigation into a field which is so closely related to the work that both of us do.
THE DELINQUENT ADOLESCENT: WHAT THE
Calvin Derrick, Dean, National Training School for Institution
I think it has been conclusively demonstrated many times over that the most difficult and perplexing problem concerning human society is the proper training, education, and assimilation of the adolescent. Through centuries of practice society has learned a great deal about the process, and so far as that great middle group known as "average" is concerned, society has quite a body of pretty accurate information and is fairly well-defined technique for accomplishing with average success satisfactory training. The majority of people do
manage to acquire a fairly adequate preperation for life. They succeed in making self-adjustments, taking up their chosen spheres of activity, usually becoming helpful to others to a greater or less degree, assuming their proportioned amount of community and civic responsibility, and, in turn, rearing their own children in a fairly acceptable manner. The problem is not with this successful two-thirds, but with the unadjusted, and in too many cases unadjustable, onethird which is scattered at either side of the big group. It is out of this latter group that our institution population is, in the main, drawn, and it is to the manner in which the institutions attempt to meet the problem of adjustment that this paper means to direct attention. Let us first consider how society has progressed in its understanding of the problem.
Institutional care for people is a relatively modern idea. The juvenile institutions are the outgrowths of the prisons; the prison system in this country is only a little over a century old. Our first juvenile institutions were created primarily to prevent the youth under twenty-one going to prison. The juvenile institutions were closely modeled after the prisons, both in type of construction and in methods of discipline and control; they developed many of the same errors and created for themselves the same problems which had grown up in the prison field, namely, that of housing in the same institution youth of all ages, so that the very young boys were subjected to just as much contamination as were the older adolescents in the prison population. A repressive, unintelligent plan of discipline and labor killed initiative and fostered slyness, deceit, and laziness. The application of the prison types of punishments to the adolescent offender developed defiance, sullenness, and a contempt for authority. We did not understand in those days the significance that emotional and mental instability play in the behavior problems presented by individuals. We had not grasped the fact that the mind may reach its full development some years before the body ceases to grow. The adolescent of eighteen or twenty looked like a man, and we demanded a corresponding degree of conduct, and placed upon him the full responsibility of measuring up to our imposed ideal. Rules and regulations were exacting and rigid, and still are, demanding a higher standard of conduct and a type of response rarely attained by the best of people at large. We still seek to force, rather than to persuade, the delinquent adolescent to adopt these desirable standards.
However, we do progress. Now we have the conception that the older and J younger adolescents should be separated, that the methods of discipline should be ameliorated and made more constructive; that trades should be taught, not merely followed; that training, as well as discipline and punishment, is desirable. But practically all of our improvement has been on the physical side, the plant. Yes, we have improved instruction, both in kind and quantity; we have improved personnel; but we do not seem to have quite grasped the idea that the thing we need to understand is the individual himself, and generally speaking, little advancement has been made in this direction.
As a rule we have not made a study of the problems to be met before planning and constructing our institution. The legislature and a board or commission decide that a reformatory for adolescent offenders is needed; that it shall be large enough to care for a certain population; that it shall be built after a certain plan, representing a school of thought or opinion; whether it shall consist of cells, with workshops and agricultural facilities; whether it shall be on the cottage plan; whether there shall be dormitories or single rooms; or whether it shall be a combination of these plans. It is decided that there shall be a certain type of service for the physical care of the population, that is, a central kitchen and dining-room, or a central kitchen with several dining-rooms, and in a very general way these major problems of caring for the population are decided and the institution built and equipped accordingly. This kind of procedure has kept us from emerging into a better and broader field of endeavor, because the management of the institution and the traditions which it shall establish are almost certain to be fixed beyond alteration by the conceptions represented in the construction of the plant.
The proper way to approach the building and equipment of an institution is just the reverse of the process usually followed. In place of first appointing a committee to visit existing institutions for ideas, there should be appointed a very carefully selected committee to study the type of individuals it is intended to care for, and the whole process of reception, classification, training, control, and release should be broadly and scientifically conceived and planned before any move is made to build and equip a plant. It will be contended by many that the former process may result in just as good after-care as the latter; it may be pointed out that, having all of equipment, its use and the general program of training will go forward. This is an error. The creation of a big public building is always regarded as a monument by the people concerned with the construction. Great personal pride is developed on the part of those immediately concerned. The psychological influence of this factor is not to be discounted. A deep interest and pride in plant and equipment which has been built up by the activities of the group of promoters over a period, possibly, of several years is not easily dispelled. It almost universally follows that the people selected to carry out the building and equipment plans carry over into the administration. They become members of the board; possibly, quite unconsciously, their major interest and pride is in the institution as a plant rather than in the refinement that may be later worked out in the program of care.
But since we have a lot of old and badly constructed institutions which we must continue to use we must plan so to utilize them as to result in the best possible advantages to our wards. I shall be regarded as cynical when I say that very few superintendents or wardens know how to use the plant and equipment at their disposal to the best advantage of their wards. We find a young man with gifted intelligence washing dishes and scrubbing floors, and a low-grade moron trying to learn the printing trade or assigned to the machine shop. Neither can