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Posts Tagged ‘juvenile court’

“In so far as education has proved successful, in repressing vagrancy, I would answer, (without intending disparagement of the benevolent intentions of the projectors of the
scheme, or the zeal of the officials employed in its administration) No! 

The children of the dissolute and careless remain, to a great extent, outside its influences; progressing to crime and vagrancy is expanding yearly into still more frightful
dimensions, presenting now too alarming an aspect not to call for prompt and grave consideration
in the proper quarter. 

In the neglect of the proffered advantages of education, the children are frequently
to blame; but the parents are more generally the guilty party. Had they the welfare of
their offspring at heart, they would compel their attendance at school, where the opportunities
were available; but, instead of doing so, they, too often, not only connive at their
truancy, but absolutely encourage it, and find for them, instead, occupations calculated to
make them idlers and rogues; the children thus growing up pests to society, shunning
alike industry and education. 

Those who have gardens within a city, know the aptitude of the vagrant boys to strip
them of everything worth carrying off; and the owners of’ house property are aware, to
their cost, of the sharp artillery practice of this class, when the destruction of the windowglass
of their untenanted houses has to be accomplished. 

The encouragement given to vice, through the random charity bestowed in the public
streets on the “please give me a copper” class of vagrants, is much greater than the
benevolent contributors are generally aware of. The quantity of poison, yelept whiskey;
bought in a week or month with the alms thus given, would make a frightful flood, if collected
in one reservoir. 

Not alone by the parents and their vile associates the baneful beverage thus obtained
is consumed. hie youthful mendicant through whose doleful whines it had been procured, is also a partaker of it, and the harrowing spectacle of the innocence of childhood degraded,
through the example of the parents, to the level of brutality, may be witnessed on walking
through the slums inhabited by this wretched class, in the vagrant of some seven or eight
summers, the tyro drunkard, proud of mimicking, in its little maudlin swagger and hiccup,
the daily action of the miserable parent. 

Should any imagine that the picture here is overdrawn, let them but refer to the police
authorities of our populous cities, and they will receive the saddening confirmation of it.
It is, perhaps, whilst his heart is filled with the courage inspired by the liquor, the
youthful beggar first attempts a higher part in the role of vagrant life. The fear of being
pounced on by some lynx-eyed police officer, is no longer before his fuddled vision.  In
strolling about lie comes across something which his infant intelligence tells him can be
turned into money; he sneaks off with it unseen, and reaches home with it, undetected, where, through the agency of a “receiver,” or the accommodating officers of the grogseller,
it is speedily converted into whiskey.

From thus picking up small waifs on the wharves and market places, carrying home
“stray ” sticks of cordwood, taking off keys carelessly left in doors and such small beginnings,
the vagrant acquires confidence by success, creeping up into the bigher walks of
pickpocket, burglar, counterfeiter, in short everything which an adept in his profession
may aspire to until filling a cell in the Penitentiary…or a felon’s grave. 

The end so shocking, what was the beginning? Too generally, Vagrancy!


If the vagrant is to be reclaimed and the public spared the injury and cost of his misdeeds, some organized agency for the purpose is requisite.

This must necessarily be a state institution. The support desirable from private
beneficence is to uncertain to base on it the maintenance of a permanent undertaking. 

While simply pointing out the necessity that exists for some salutary measure, I do
not intend to enter upon the details of its organization, these would necessarily follow on
the adoption of the principle. 

The plans devised in those older countries, where vagrancy has been a subject of
state legislation, would supply the best information that made valuable by experience. 

That mode of treatment would best succeed, which would be gentle and compassionate.
The proceedings of the tribunal before which the vagrant should be brought for
examination, should be different from those pursued towards adult prisoners, and divested
of the exposure consequent on actual crime. 

The detectives employed (men tender and considerate) should be a body distinct from
the civic police, not alone in the duties discharged, but in the externals of dress. 

The vagrant, when taken up, should not be confined in an apartment used by the
criminals or disorderly classes, nor examined at the same time, or at the same place, with
them. Every harsh and repulsive feature should be put aside, that could give the appearance
of criminal prosecution to this first movement of benevolence in behalf of the vagrant.
The case should be enquired into in the presence of the parents, if the vagrant have
any, and they could be found; and every information possible should be obtained, in the
meantime, touching their reputation and habits. 

As, with every other scheme proposed for public consideration, objection may be made
to this one, on the ground of its expense, there need be but little room for this objection,
I imagine. 

Thus officers, one of them holding rank over the others, and competent to keep the
records of the department, and an office in which to keep these, which would also answer
for the Court, would constitute the bulk oi the expense, and this simple arrangement
would, at least for the present, embrace the necessary machinery for working the system. 

There are benevolent institutions at present in operation in Toronto which, under
suitable arrangements, would be found adequate to give the experiment a trial, and at
very small cost, I would suppose.
In the “ Boys’ Home,” an institution founded by some benevolent ladies of that city, and which has already done much to check the evil which is the subject of these remarks, would probably be found at least for some time a refuge for those vagrants of the Protestant
faith, and in the Reformatory Farm School, established by His Lordship the Catholic
Bishop of Toronto, would, I have no doubt, be received, those belonging to the Catholic
body. 

The establishment of such a tribunal and its machinery would, I have little doubt, be
hailed by many a sorrow-stricken parent as a blessing.
For the refractory youth-so often spoiled by blind indulgence, who does truant shuns from school and the parental roof, and associates with none but the worst of companions, and over when the parents have lost all influence, yet whom they cannot bring themselves to place in a prisoner’s dock; this tribunal and its-sentence of committal to a
strange but benevolent home, would be a merciful recourse, and, in all probability, restore
many a repentant prodigal to welcoming parents.”

– Inspector Terence O’Neil, “SEPARATE REPORT FOR THE YEAR 1864,” Annual Report of the Board of Inspectors of Asylums, Prisons &c for the year 1864. Sessional Papers of the Province of Canada, Sessional Papers No. 14, 29 Victoria, A. 1865. pp. 79-82

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“Destructive Boys To Get Strapping,” Toronto Star. July 30, 1938. Page 05.

Caused Damage at Western Ontario Fair Grounds

London, Ont., July 30. – Two 11-year-old boys, convicted of causing extensive damage to buildings in the Western Ontario Fairground buildings, were sent to the York Street Observation Home for a ‘sound’ strapping, under orders issued yesterday by Magistrate Donald B. Menzies in juvenile court.

Four boys were involved in the affair in which windows were smashed, telephone booths wrecked and showcases broken, but the other two were so young they could not be charged in any court.

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“Sent to Industrial School.” Kingston Daily Standard. July 17, 1912. Page 08.
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In juvenile court this morning a 16 year old lad was sent to the Industrial School. He was found guilty of having stolen a fare box from the Street Railway Company. Another boy who was implicated in the theft was remanded. There were five in the crowd, and warrants are out for the other three.

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“Burglarized Fruit Store,” Kingston Daily Standard. July 11, 1912. Page 01.

Two Youths Caught in Royal Fruit Store.

One Boy, Aged 14, Was Arrested – The Elder Boy Escaped – Had Beans, Fruit and Cigarettes.

The operations of two youthful burglars in the Royal Ice Cream Parlor were interrupted about 5 o’clock this morning by the proprietor, Michael Pappas. One of the young thieves, aged 14, was captured and appeared before the magistrate in juvenile court this morning. He was remanded until Friday morning.

That the young boys had every detail well planned is evidenced by the fact that they left bicycles in an alley near by. Granting entrance to the back of the shop by the shop leading off Montreal street, the young lads forced this back door and had just taken possession of a can of beans, a tin of fruit and some cigarettes when they were disturbed by the proprietor. A quantity of ice cream had been consumed and destroyed, as well as a number of dishes.

The elder boy escaped but the police will probably arrest him this afternoon.

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“Bad Boy Makes Escape,” Kingston Daily Standard. July 11, 1912. Page 02.

A boy under twelve years old, who was convicted in the children’s court of theft and forgery and sentenced to two years in the Industrial school escaped when being taken to the railway station.

“Rained In Portsmouth,” Kingston Daily Standard. July 11, 1912. Page 02.

A remarkable phenomenon was witnessed on Tuesday in connection with the rain which fell in the surrounding district. Rain fell heavily in parts of Portsmouth, but while the Penitentiary received a copious drenching, not a drop fell on this side of it. It also rained heavily at Kingston Mills.

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“Three Years for Youth,” Toronto Globe. April 30, 1914. Page 08.

William Redsell Pleads Guilty of Housebreaking.

In the Police Court yesterday morning William Redsell was given a heavy sentence of three years in the Kingston Penitentiary. Redsell, who is only 17 years old, his two companions, Isaac Levine and Samuel Stein, both 13 years of age, were charged with housebreaking. Redsell pleaded guilty. His two companions were remanded for a week in the Shelter by the Juvenile Court Commissioner.

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“Served Sentence – Asks Judge for Job,” Montreal Gazette. April 3, 1914. Page 03.

Boy Came From Reformatory to Juvenile Court Promising to Make Good

Has Learned A Trade

Reformed Youth Was Great Contrast to Incorrigible Youngster Who Wanted to Be a Cowboy.

The before and after treatment of effects of the Juvenile Court system in Montreal were strikingly illustrated yesterday when, after Judge Choquet had disposed of a number of refractory cases of youngsters who would not obey their parents, and court had adjourned, a youth of about seventeen, though small for his age, walked into the court room with a bright smile upon his face and extended his hand to the judge and Mr. Owen Dawson, clerk of the court.

‘Why, don’t you remember me?’ asked the youngster, noting the puzzled expression of the clerk and the judge. ‘You sent me to the reformatory two years ago for stealing, Judge,’ he continued, ‘and I’m out now, and I want to make good. Can you help me get a job?’

Judge Choquet did remember then, when the boy had told his name. He also remembered that the youngster had seemed one of the most incorrigible of all the refractory youths that had come before him up to that time, and that he had no alternative but to send the boy to the Montreal Reform School for two years, the apparent change in the boy’s character was therefore gratifying.

Checking up the boy’s story, Judge Choquet found that his conduct had been admirable at the reform school, and that he had learned the trade of a tinsmith. Both the judge and Mr. Dawson are now on the lookout for a job for him.

A CONTRAST.
Somewhat in contrast to this boy’s desire to become a respectable citizen was the case of another youngster, about fifteen years old, whose inclinations ran towards living as a wild Indian, or a cowboy at least. With a large leather belt that he had obtained in a machine shop where he formerly worked, he had fitted up a regular arsenal of cartridge pockets, knife sheath, and revolver holster, an each of these effects, with the exception of the revolver, when his father took him to the Juvenile Court yesterday morning.

The father complained that the boy wouldn’t work or wouldn’t stay at home, and had threatened to stab and shoot his parents when they attempted to correct him. Questioned by Judge Choquet, the boy said he had seen cowboys and Indians performing in the moving pictures, and he was determined that he would go west and become a cow puncher. He wouldn’t promised to do anything unless the judge would help him to get a job out west. The youngster was remanded for eight days to give him time for reflection and if he is still recalcitrant at the end of that time Judge Choquet will try to get work for him on some nearby farm. The belt, cartridges and a dangerous looking sheath knife were appropriated by Mr. Dawson and placed with the selection of weapons he has been making for some time past. The youth was said to have had a revolver which he had hidden.

Another boy charged with stealing […] from an uptown store, was sentenced to four years in the reformatory when he refused to promise amendment.

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