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At the meeting of the National Conference at Kansas City, May 15-22, 1918, one hundred and seventy-one delegates registered as members of this Division. The Division Committee, as appointed at the 1917 Conference at Pittsburgh, is shown on the opposite page. Eight meetings for discussion were held, as follows:
May 16, 11:00 a.m., "Juvenile and Domestic Relations
Courts" •• 124
May 17, 9:15 a.m., "Court Methods of Dealing with Girls
and Women Charged with Sex Offenses" 132
May 17, 11:00 a. m., "The Next Step in Treatment of Girl
and Women Offenders" (general session) 117
May 18, 9:15 a. m., "Probation and Parole" 140
May 18, 11:00 a. m., "Delinquency and the Schools" 155
May 18, 8:15 p.m., "The War and Prisons" (general ses-
May 20, 9:15 a. m., "A Square Deal in the Courts" 167
May 22, 11:00 a.m., "Prohibition and Delinquency" 172
The meeting on May 16th and the first session on May 18th were joint meetings with the National Probation Association. The second session on May 18th was a joint meeting with Division VIII, on Mental Hygiene.
On May 16th, at 12:45 p. m., the Division met at luncheon. At 1:45 a business session was held, the chairman being Mrs. Jessie D. Hodder of Framingham, Mass., and the secretary, F. Leslie Hayford of Boston.
It was voted that the chairman appoint a Committee on Nominations, to consist of five persons, including the chairman, and that this committee report on Saturday morning, May 18th, nominations for members of the Division Committee.
The chairman appointed the following Committee on Nominations: Mrs. Jessie D. Hodder, Framingham, Mass.; Charles Tuxbury, Windsor, Vt.; Thomas C. O'Brien, Boston, Mass.; Amos W. Butler, Indianapolis, Ind.; Charles W. Wilson, Vergennes, Vt.
A second business meeting of the Division was held on Saturday, May 18th, at 12:00 m., Mrs. Hodder presiding and Mr. Hayford acting as secretary.
The Committee on Nominations reported that it recommended that the following persons be nominated for members of the Division Committee for the terms stated (see Part B, sec. 3, appendix).
It was voted that the recommendation of the Committee on Nominations be adopted and that the above named persons be nominated for members of the Division Committee to serve for the terms stated and that Col. Cyrus B. Adams of St. Charles, 111., be nominated for chairman of the Division Committee for the ensuing year.
(Signed) JESSIE D. HODDER, Chairman.
THE NEXT STEP IN THE CORRECTIONAL TREATMENT OF GIRL AND WOMEN OFFENDERS
Airs. Jessie D. Hodder, Superintendent, Reformatory for Women, Framingham, Massachusetts
Reformatories for women are not now meeting the needs of the women sentenced to them by the courts. We reach this conclusion from a conviction that with so poor a tool no worth-while result can be achieved.
A reformatory which receives women from all of the courts of a given state has within its walls a group of people whose only common denominator is crime. How diversified such a group may be is shown
Chart I, Analysis of Population of Massachusetts Reformatory for Women
in Chart I, which is an analysis of the population of the Reformatory for Women of Massachusetts in 1915.
To turn such a group as this into a family whose chief purpose is re-formation of moral standards is to attempt the impossible. They have no common sympathies, no mental loyalties, no common ideals.
Let us turn the focus another way for a moment. Let us forget that we are talking about reformatories or prisoners. Just suppose, for the sake of argument, that we are discussing a new state project in which it is proposed to build an institution to house epileptic, feeble-minded, psychopathic, hysterical, neurasthenic, and normal women, who range in mentality from imbecile to high school grade, with 12 per cent illiterates, foreign and native. One immediately sees how unconstructive such a plan is. If such a group were to be brought together because of appendicitis, or heart trouble even, one would pity the administration.
This is, however, the setting of our reformatories, because this is the population going through our courts, because no state has developed the policy of caring for its criminal women on the basis of an analysis of its criminal population. Reformatories, therefore, cannot meet the needs of the criminal women because they are not equipped to handle so complex a share of the state's burdens as falls to their lot.
A state reformatory or state training school should not transfer sane patients nor discharge them into the community as "unfit subjects," short of the maximum sentence, unless cured; it should make of itself the state laboratory on delinquency and by its studies should shape the state policy for the treatment of all of the state's delinquent women. There should be no tag ends to relieve administrative strain; the tool, by which I mean the reformatory, should be made strong and flexible enough to do the job so that no phase of the woman criminal problem should be left untouched. We ask, at last, to be conscious of it all. By conscious, we mean a wholehearted consciousness of the needs of each prisoner and the possibility of fulfilling those needs, be they re-education with a view to reinstatement in the community, or hospital treatment to correct nervous defect, or permanent custodial care. The question may well be asked, Why mix hospital care with reformatory treatment?—that is, hospital care of the kind required for the treatment of psychopathic and neurasthenic women, with reformatory treatment, which used to mean fitting people for community life. The answer is—that the next step in the treatment of criminal women involves such action.
The states which build reformatories now are either going shortly to begin to transfer their unmanageable types to the state prison (that is, to the female annex of the men's prison), or what is just as bad, they will agitate for the building of a women's prison to relieve them of their unruly inmates. Now, an unmanageable woman prisoner is so because of nervous or mental defect, or both, and no prison discipline will overcome that defect. If the Women's Reformatory of Massachusetts, an institution with forty years' experience, has done nothing else for the cause of the criminal women, it has demonstrated that no women's prison is necessary; that no men's prison should have a female annex; that women prisoners should not be classified according to age or crime. It was built to duplicate, as nearly as possible, the men's prison. Time and use have modified its work. It has 60.7 per cent misdemeanants, 37.6 per cent felons, and 1.5 per cent lifers. So far as these crime designations go, they have no influence on our work. It is the personality of the woman that counts; it is the type to which she belongs which affects her harmfulness or helpfulness in the institution group, and which determines the kind of treatment she must receive. This being true, what is our next step?
Women criminals divide themselves roughly into three groups:
(1) those who may safely be returned to the community after training;
(2) those who need permanent custodial care; (3) those about whom prognosis is doubtful because they have formed the disciplinary problem wherever they have been, and for whom no method of treatment has been worked out.
Taking Chart I as a basis, we have analyzed the 5310 women criminals of Massachusetts who were on probation or sentenced to institutions in 1915, the year Chart I was made. I realize that such an analysis can only be tentative, but it is good material to argue from.
Chart II, Classification of 5310 Women Criminals of Massachusetts on Probation or Sentenced to Institutions in 1915
GROUP I—NORMAL, 1104, or 20.8%. GROUP II—FEEBLEMINDED, 850, or 16%. GROUP III—3356, or 63.2%.
Given this as the woman criminal problem, it is surely evident that a reformatory, as we now think of that institution, cannot meet the needs of these women. Is it evident that a reformatory is not even necessary? Has the time come to give up reformatories? Are they going out?
In 1915 probation in Massachusetts carried 2783 women. This chart says there were only 1104 mentally and nervously normal women in all that year. Probation then was hampered with a large number of women who should never be dealt with on probation. Could probation handle all normal women who commit crimes? Numerically, yes. How about putting a murderess on probation? It has been done and done