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“In keeping with these developments, probationers have been subject  to a growing range of penal controls. During the 1950s, probation involved the offender occasionally meeting with, and reporting to, his or her probation officer, and being bound by the general conditions of probation orders, as well as, no doubt, being subject to a variety of informal local controls. Today, however, many probationers, in addition to the purview and surveillance of a probation officer, and through the more specific and specialized community-correctional conditions of probation orders, encounter members of the Salvation Army and John Howard and Elizabeth Fry societies, as well as the numerous church, business, native, and other community groups and volunteers charged with penal processing. It is difficult to conceive that the growth of the Ministry of Correctional Services’ community satellites has not entailed the evolution of increasingly pervasive models of penal control.
….
Ominous tendencies are…evident in the case of community service orders. They, too, increase the range and intensity of formal conditions of probation. Yet the program has ideological appeal across the political spectrum. Within corrections, it enjoys the support of judges, correctional officials, and numerous private-sector groups who have become involved in the provision of community-service-order programs in Ontario. Much of the appeal of community service orders derives from their perceived reparative effects. But, as Axon has observed in her study of community service orders in Canada, what Community [Service] is, in fact, is unpaid work done by the offender in the community. Whether or not this unpaid labour constitutes reparation is another matter entirely.’

The appeal of community service orders – as with community corrections more generally – also derives from their emphasis on community. As Stanley Cohen has observed, the word ‘community’ is not only ‘rich in symbolic power, but it lacks any negative connotations.’ Different, competing, and even contradictory assumptions can be brought together under the ambiguous concept of community. Leaving aside the problematic issue of how ‘community’ should be define, the extent to which offenders are members of the community that benefits from their own unpaid labour is doubtful. Studies of community service orders in Ontario, and in Canada more generally, suggest that those subject to the program are often young, unemployed males, who are first-time offenders, do not belong to clubs or organizations, and have had ‘poor education with few prospects of obtaining anything but ‘dead end’ jobs” (Axon). What would be the benefit to these offenders, it seems, are better opportunities to become members of the community’s paid labour force, rather than being subjected to forced labour.

At the same time, one segment of the wider community has clearly benefited from, and been remunerated through, community service orders: private-sector groups have derived financial as well as ideological benefits from the development of programs. They pressured the Ministry of Correctional Services to develop community-service-order programs and to make contracts with them for operating the programs. Following from this, community service orders have more to provide jobs for those affiliated with the John Howard Society, the Elizabeth Fry Society, the Salvation Army, and other groups, than for offenders. In the process, the incomes of these groups increased. They and their quasi-civil service staff benefited from the perception that community service orders ‘helped humanize the correctional system while providing them with worthwhile jobs (Menzies). In a variety of ways, and similarly to the situation of community-service-order programs elsewhere, ‘in reality, the service which the offender gives is not to an abstract ‘community’ but rather to those agencies and individuals who are willing to be involved with offenders’. (Axon) Overall, community service orders strengthen the net of penal control not only by formally extending probation conditions, but also in expanding the range of non-state agencies becoming involved in – an financially dependent on – the exercise of control.”

– Maeve W. McMahon, The Persistent Prison? Rethinking Decarceration and Penal Reform. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992. pp. 120-122.

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“It borders on the ridiculous that in the light of all that science and medicine has revealed on the line of pathological and psychopathic states as affecting conduct…our criminal courts still continue the farce of trying the offense and not the offender.”

– Judge Charles Hoffman, “Probation as a Judicial Policy.” National Prison Association, Thirteenth Annual Report (Albany, 1920), p. 22

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“Drunk Driving, Consuming Send Toronto Man To Jail,” Toronto Star.
July 27, 1938. Page 06.

Henry Drury Also Fined $10 and Costs in Newmarket Court

SPEEDERS FINED

Newmarket, July 27. – Henry Drury, Binscarth Rd., Toronto, was sentenced to
seven days in jail on a charge od driving while intoxicated by Magistrate W. F.
Woodliffe in police court here yesterday. Through his counsel, Frank Callahan,
Drury pleaded guilty to the charge.

A fine of $10 and costs of $11.30, or 10 days, was imposed on a charge of
unlawfully having liquor which had been reduced to one of consuming, and to
which Drury also pleaded guilty. THe liquor was ordered confiscated.

Two additional charges of reckless driving and failing to remain at the
scene of an accident were withdrawn. Drury was not driving his own car at the
time of the accident.

‘I found four full bottles of liquor and one part bottle hidden in a barn
near the scene of the accident,’ stated County Constable A. McCallum. ‘The
accused man later admitted the liquor had been in his car. There was
considerable damage done to the car he was driving and also to the one he
struck.’

‘The damages done to both cars are being repaired now,’ stated Mr. Callahan.

Trio Placed on Probation
After being in custody for the past two and a half weeks, Dayton Platten,
Ken. Newstead and Eric Hall, all of Toronto, were each given suspended sentence
and placed on probation for one year. The trio of youths were charged with
breaking and entering a service station and newstead faced an addition charge
of joy-riding, on which he was also given suspended sentence.

Charged with operating a booth without a license, George Preston, Preston Lake,
was ordered to buy a license for $10 and he was remanded for sentence on
payment of the costs.

The magistrate issued a warrant for the arrest of Walter L. Dymond, Toronto,
charged with keeping a common gaming house.

A remand of two weeks was given to Newton Williamson, North Gwilimbury township,
on two charges of unlawfully having liquor and keeping liquor for sale. Bail
was set at $500.

Fined for Reckless Driving
Convicted on a charge of reckless driving, Francis Goneau, Toronto, was
fined $10 and costs of $13.30, or 10 days. According to the evidence of Frank
Johnston, Queensville, Goneau’s car swerved and came straight toward Johnston’s
car which was travelling on the edge of the road.

George H. Harman, Markham, bad brakes, and William Dowling, Newmarket, no
operator’s license, were each fined $10 and costs or 10 days.

Convicted on speeding charges, William I. Turner, Jack Creed, and Jack
MacCormack, all of Toronto, were fined $30, $20 and $15, respectively, with
costs.

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“The probation service was founded in 1907. Its history can crudely be divided into three: Christian-infused charity at the start; welfare-oriented alternatives to custody in the middle of the last century; and a hard swing to managerialism and public protection since the 1990s. Any remaining social work roots had been fully severed by 2000 when the Home Office defined it as a ‘law-enforcement agency’. Ever since it has been subject to restructure after restructure. The most recent was the most radical – 70 per cent of the service was privatised in 2014, against all advice, and the public barely noticed. The Justice Committee is now conducting an inquiry into these changes. The chief inspector of probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, published a highly critical report in December.

Against this backdrop, the graft continues. Probation staff work with people on community orders (sentences that don’t involve custody); they work with people in prison and after; they write parole reports and guide sentencing in court; they support victims; they run approved premises (hostels) for people just out of prison; and they play a central role in the multi-agency public protection arrangements that surround those who provoke the most fear. All important work, but not uncontentious. For one thing, it adopts a model of crime that places individual (as opposed to social) pathology front and centre. For another, it combines an offer of care with surveillance and correction. This leads to such confused organisational straplines as ‘Preventing Victims, Changing Lives’.

Anecdotally, a lot of probation officers say that they’re in the job because they think it matters and, that what matters most are the relationships they try to build with the people on their books. It may sound sentimental; it isn’t. Probation officers also say that the systems they’re working in compromise their ability to offer the most basic elements of these relationships: consistency and availability. Caseloads are enormous and bureaucracy is fetishised.

The 2014 changes split the service according to risk assessment. People judged to be low or medium risk are now supervised by private ‘community rehabilitation companies’. There are 21 of these, covering different areas of the country, and they are struggling to cope. Some probation officers have as many 200 cases on their books, and are reduced to talking with people over the phone or in an open office. People who are assessed to pose a high risk of serious harm to others – around 30,000 a year – are supervised by what remains of the state probation service. Beyond the alarming implications of privatising an arm of the criminal justice system, the most obvious flaw in the model is the idea that people can be put into low, medium or high-risk categories, and stay there. As Stacey said on the Today programme recently, people aren’t like that. David Ramsbotham, a former chief inspector of prisons, once suggested that the phrase ‘people are not things’ be ‘emblazoned on the hearts and desks of every minister and official with any responsibility for probation’.

Our approach to justice is caught between demands for care and a focus on endemic injustices, on one side, and, on the other, reminders of the harm caused by crime and a desire to punish and control the guilty. Probation officers know that both sides are on to something: the pain someone is capable of inflicting is bound up with their need for help. The task is to negotiate this tension, not imagine it can be removed. It makes for difficult work under any circumstances. As it is, the service has been divided, officers are going without adequate supervision, and we’ve just got our fifth justice secretary in three years.”

– Eleanor Fellowes, “On Probation.” London Review of Books blog, February 1, 2018.

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“Crime in New York City is at historic lows. The overall number of people in the city’s jails recently dipped below 9,000 for the first time since 1982. Yet the number of people locked up for violating the terms of their probation or parole is on the rise.

That is the conclusion of Less is More in New York City, a new report from Columbia University’s Justice Lab about the impact of parole violations on prison and jail populations. Since 2014, the number of people in New York City’s jails, including Rikers Island, has dropped 21 percent. But the population locked up for technical parole violations, such as missing an appointment with a parole officer, associating with people with felony records or failing a drug test, has increased 15 percent.

The report takes a snapshot of a single day to illustrate its point: On November 16, 2017, state parole violations made up 16 percent (or 1,460) of people in the city’s jails. Indeed, parole violators are the only part of the New York City jail population that has increased over the past four years.

“In New York, people released on parole are more likely to return to incarceration not for new convictions, but for violating the conditions of their parole,” the report notes.

At the state level, the report reveals, the number of people returned to prison for parole violations increased 21 percent between 2015 and 2016. For every 10 people who successfully completed their parole in New York State, nine were reincarcerated for parole violations. In 2016, those people made up 29 percent of the state’s prison population. But their violations were not necessarily new crimes; instead, nearly half were technical parole violations.”

– Victoria Law, “As New York Decarcerates, The Number of People Under Supervision of Probation and Parole Rises.” In Justice Today. February 1, 2018.

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THE ISSUE OF OLDER BOYS

In 1927, The Boys’ Farm considered another strategy for increasing its population:

The Secretary [Owen Dawson] stated that The Boys’ Farm might enlarge its sphere of usefulness if the juvenile age were increased from 16 to 18 years, as provided for in an amendment to the Juvenile Delinquents Act. The President [Beatty] felt that the matter might be taken up with the Federal Government some time in the near future (March 31, 1927).

Reform schools in other provinces had already opposed the policy of extending the jurisdiction of the juvenile court to include boys up to the age of 18 (rather than 16) and continued to oppose the policy in 1929 when the federal government revised the Juvenile Delinquents Act. The issue pitted the interests of existing reform schools against the zeal of juvenile justice reformers who
wished to extend childhood status to older juveniles.

In order to understand why reform schools elsewhere in Canada resisted the age extension policy and why The Boys’ Farm temporarily considered its advantages, it is necessary to look at the effects of juvenile court practices on the populations of reform schools.  

The Montreal juvenile court’s extensive use of probation radically reduced the number of children committed to reform schools during the early 1920s. However, many children originally placed on probation got into trouble again and were older when judges subsequently decided to send them to reform schools. The court’s practice of probation, in other words, eventually produced an upturn in the number of children committed to reform schools. And because these
children were older (often having failed more than once on probation), the court’s practice of committing children only after they had spent time on probation resulted in older populations at reform schools.

While the juvenile court’s jurisdiction was limited to children under 16, the practice of probation in combination with the court’s right to supervise the children who appeared before it up to the age of 21 made it possible for the court to commit children who were 16 years and older to reform schools:

The authority of the juvenile court to impose sanctions does not end with the original disposition of the child. Provision is made in the Act to bring the child back before the court at any time before he has reached the age of twenty-one years. This is extraordinary since the maximum age for original jurisdiction is sixteen or eighteen years of age …. This provision is often invoked when a child has been placed on probation and has subsequently breached one of the conditions of supervision (Wilson, 1982:194).

The aging of reform school populations was evident at The Boys’ Farm during the mid-1930s. At that time, the jurisdiction of the Montreal juvenile court was still limited to boys under the age of 16; yet Boys’ Farm records for boys discharged during the late 1930s show that 23 out of 143 boys were 17 and older on their sentencing date. Thirty-three more were aged 16, though they may have committed their offense prior to their 16th birthday. The aging of reform school populations occurred earlier in provinces such as Ontario where
well-developed probation services were in place before the juvenile court was created. When the federal Minister of Justice, Ernest Lapointe, (at the urging of the Canadian Council of Child Welfare and other juvenile justice reformers) introduced an amendment to the federal Juvenile Delinquents Act in 1921 which would raise the age of juveniles from 16 to 18, Ontario’s reform schools were in a different position to appreciate its consequences than were Quebec’s reform schools. The Boys’ Farm could appreciate the potential advantages of an age extension as a way of reversing the decline in its population (as the board’s discussion of the amendment in 1927). Ontario’s reform schools, on the other hand, saw the age extension as a policy that would simply exaggerate the process already at work: namely, the commitment to their institutions of an increasingly older group of repeat offenders. Their position was that the age extension should wait until new and more prison-like reform schools were created specifically for this older group. (The borstal schools in England were favored as a model.) Their resistance to the amendment successfully blocked the proposed mandatory extension of age. Instead, the amendment granted discretionary authority to provinces to extend the age from 16 to 18..

The age extension continued to pit the interests of reform schools against those of juvenile justice reformers. In 1938, The Royal Commission to Investigate the Penal System of Canada completed two years of hearings and investigations into the Canadian penitentiary system, including the system for dealing with juvenile offenders. The Archambault Report (named after the chairman of the commission) said:

Many conflicting representations were made to the Commission as to whether the age limit of those to come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts should be raised throughout Canada to include young persons below the age of eighteen years. Your Commissioners are definitely of the opinion that the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts should be limited to children below the age of sixteen years …. The problem of detention homes and training schools would be clearly aggravated, and, in our opinion, has been aggravated (in British Columbia and Manitoba) where the age limit has been increased.

By this time, The Boys’ Farm was enjoying a population boom. Its superintendent, Major Willcock, told the administration committee:

A great many more boys were appearing repeatedly in the Juvenile Court before being sent to The Farm, resulting in boys coming to the School at the ages of 15 or 16 and generally for longer terms. It was suggested that more boys might be sent by the Juvenile Court and for shorter terms. Mr. Dawson undertook to take the matter up with the Juvenile Court authorities (Administration Committee minutes, November 24, 1938). 

At this point, The Boys’ Farm administrators were beginning to perceive older boys sent for longer terms as “hard core” and more troublesome residents. They began to favor shorter terms, therefore, in the hope that the court would send younger and less troublesome boys. When Quebec extended the juvenile age from 16 to 18 in 1942, The Boys’ Farm was already crowded. The influx of older boys over the next several years, amplified by the court’s practice of turning to reform school commitments during wartime, added to the internal problems of control that already existed as a result of overcrowding and an older population.

The number of runaways rose (and, incidentally, divided the board on the issue of whether to pursue runaway boys who wished to enlist in the army); the use of corporal punishment continued to rise; and concern mounted over the exposure of younger boys to the influence of older boys more experienced with crime. When the Second World War ended and reform school commitments fell to pre-war levels, The Boys’ Farm administrators saw a second, and more fundamental, consequence of the age extension. Because the court sent older boys to The Boys’ Farm (and to the other reform schools for French-speaking children), it was increasingly reluctant to commit younger boys there, where they would be exposed to the influence of older boys. By 1948, the population at The Boys’ Farm had dwindled to about 100 boys, and it was fast becoming the last resort for the hard-core, older offender that it had originally set out not to be. Moreover, The Boys’ Farm had long since come to appreciate what Ontario’s reform schools appreciated in 1921: namely, that as an increasingly older group of juveniles were defined as children rather than as adults, and sent to reform schools rather than to adult jails and penitentiaries, existing reform schools would have to become juvenile prisons unless or until newer juvenile prisons for this older group were created. Even then, reform schools, if they were to survive, would have to lay new claim to the younger, “normal delinquent” boys they had lost and would continue to lose as the result of probation, foster homes, short-term sentences, and other decarcerating measures.

– Prue Rains, McGill University, “Juvenile Justice and the Boys’ Farm: Surviving A Court-Created Population Crisis, 1909-1948.” Social Problems, Vol. 31, No. 5, June 1984. pp. 509-12

Photographs are both Conrad Poirier, “Boy’s Farm and Training School, Shawbridge.” 1947-11, P48.S1.P15234 & P48.S1.P15221, BAnQ. 

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THE INDEFINITE SENTENCE
The federal Juvenile Delinquents Act (1908) did not mention the indefinite sentence directly; nor did the detailed commentaries on the federal legislation by its authors and promoters. And since the Quebec legislation (1910) simply proclaimed the federal act as relevant to Quebec and authorized the creation of a juvenile court in Montreal, it also did not mention the indefinite sentence directly. But definite sentences were not mentioned either. Juvenile justice reformers, and the text of the legislation itself, so clearly favored methods
for dealing with children other than incarceration that the commitment of children to reform schools was itself scarcely mentioned. The indefinite sentence was, nevertheless, a core tenet in the movement to reform children rather than to punish them. It was implicit in the discretionary powers and wardship hold over children given to the juvenile court by the act, and in the law’s provision that the court should not authorize a child’s release without a recommendation from
the reform school. This provision was intended to permit reform schools to release children when successfully reformed rather than at some arbitrary date; fully implemented, this provision would have transferred control over the length of children’s sentences from the juvenile court to the reform school.

Judges at the Montreal juvenile court were reluctant to sentence children to indefinite terms. In 1922, Superintendent Barss of The Boys’ Farm observed at a board meeting that the indefinite sentence was not being used by judges at the Montreal juvenile court; and in 1924, the secretary-treasurer, Owen Dawson, reported that the newly appointed judge of the Montreal court was “not a believer in the Indefinite Sentence as provided by the Juvenile Delinquents Act” (January
31, 1924). Judges at the Montreal court were not only trained as lawyers but still worked in courts other than the juvenile court; they continued to adhere to an older model of justice, and were reluctant to turn their control of sentence length over to reform schools.

The Boys’ Farm began to lobby for the indefinite sentence in 1922. In March, E. W. Beatty, president of The Boys’ Farm, reported to the board that: 

He had gone into the question of the indefinite sentence with [premier] Taschereau, the Provincial Secretary, and Sir Lomer Gouin [former premier], all of whom were in favor of the plan (March 8, 1922).’

It may seem odd that the board of directors first approached executive rather than legal or judicial authorities about implementing indefinite sentences. Eventually the board did seek a legal interpretation of the Juvenile
Delinquents Act (1908). Because the act was federal legislation enacted provincially by executive proclamation, however, there was some ambiguity about which authority was responsible for interpretation of the act. The board’s initial approach also reflected its own contacts and prior experience with provincial authorities about institutional matters. These were customarily handled by the provincial secretary. The Boy’s Farm favored indefinite sentences for two reasons: to increase its control over troublesome inmates; and to counter the effects of short sentences on its population [and thus its revenue].

INTERNAL CONTROL
In part, The Boys’ Farm’s preference for the indefinite sentence was an extension of its earlier efforts to gain control over the decision to release or parole. In the early 1900s, all reform schools in Quebec objected to government pardons as a form of early release, arguing that early release (parole) should depend on good conduct alone. Definite sentences limited the effectiveness of
parole as a device for maintaining internal control; in fact, the most troublesome boys, by definition, were the most likely to be still at The Boys’ Farm when their sentences expired. In the early 1920s, The Boys’ Farm made persistent and largely unsuccessful attempts to persuade the provincial secretary to extend the sentences of boys “unfit for discharge.” For example:

The Superintendent submitted a list of 14 boys whose time expires before the close of this year and who were entirely unfit for discharge. He recommended that the provincial Secretary be requested to extend their terms. The President [Beatty] reported that he had an appointment with the Hon. Mr. David [the provincial secretary] for the following morning, when he would request him to grant a temporary extension of the terms of the boys referred to until their cases could be more carefully studied (June 21, 1922).

Four months later, Beatty reported:

The request for the extension of the terms of the 14 boys at The Farm had been refused by the Provincial Secretary. The question had [subsequently] been a matter of serious discussion between himself [Beatty] and [Taschereau] and the Hon. Walter Mitchell [provincial treasurer]. The [premier] requested that in future all such matters be taken up direct with him (October 26, 1922).

Because The Boys’ Farm only occasionally succeeded in having the sentences of individual boys extended, it turned to the indefinite sentence as a method for gaining control over the release, and therefore conduct, of its more troublesome boys.

INCREASED POPULATION
The population at The Boys’ Farm could be increased either by more court commitments or by longer sentences. Attempts by The Boys’ Farm to lengthen the sentences of boys it regarded unfit for discharge addressed the issue of population as well as the issue of internal control. But The Boys’ Farm was concerned with the length of sentences for another reason, too. The Montreal juvenile court was increasingly implementing the principles of the juvenile justice movement.

Not only was it placing more boys on probation rather than committing them to reform schools, but it was also reducing sentences for those it did commit from the previous three-to-five years down to two years or less. Shorter sentences added to the population troubles created by the greater use of probation. While the board of directors could not reasonably hope to increase the number of boys committed to The Boys’ Farm by opposing the use of probation, it could at least hope to increase the population by invoking the Juvenile Delinquents Act of 1908 to gain control over the lengths of their sentences.

Faced with continuing resistance on the part of judges to the use of the indefinite sentence, The Boys’ Farm planned a legal challenge to the definite sentence in 1924. Walter Mitchell, provincial treasurer under both Gouin and Taschereau and, by this time, a member of the board of directors at The Boys’ Farm, offered to seek the legal opinion of his former law partner, N. K. Laflamme, and to take the matter up with Quebec’s attorney general. In February, 1924, Laflamme reported to the board that he:

… believed that the Judge of the Juvenile Court had the option of giving an indefinite sentence under the Juvenile Delinquents Act, or a definite sentence of not less than two or more than five years under the old Prisons and Reformatories Act. Mr. Laflamme stated that, in his opinion, any definite term of less than two years was illegal (February 28, 1924).

The board agreed to take the matter up with the attorney general after the legislative session ended in Quebec, and once a “parole board” had been created within The Boys’ Farm “to deal with the discharge of committed cases” (March 27, 1924). 

The Boys’ Farm eventually established procedures for allocating parole and a committee that reviewed boys for parole, but not until the 1940s when it had acquired control over the release date of boys (even then, the control was within the limit set by the definite sentence). The plan to establish a “parole board” in 1924, therefore, was something of a rhetorical device designed to express a form of control over sentences that The Boys’ Farm hoped for but did not have.

Four months later the board planned to convey the legal opinion it had solicited to the Montreal court:

The question of short-term sentences was discussed and it was agreed to admit boys from the Juvenile Court for short terms in the meantime. The Secretary was asked to convey the opinion of Mr. N. K. Laflamme in this connection to the Juvenile Court authorities and if no satisfactory conclusion was reached to take the matter up with the Hon. Walter Mitchell (June 26, 1924).

In May, 1925, the board took action to resist admission of boys for terms shorter than one year: The question of admitting short-term cases from the Juvenile Court was discussed, and it was decided to request the Judge of the Court not to send boys for a shorter period than one year (May 28, 1925). These shorter sentences also decreased the populations of reform schools because they were served in detention homes rather than reform schools. Schlossman observes: “While the juvenile court sent relatively few children to reformatories, it held large numbers on short-term sentences in the detention center before, during, and sometimes after trial.” In the absence of adequate detention facilities, the Montreal court held both French-speaking and English-speaking children at the Montreal Reformatory (the French reform school for boys). The large number of children held there “provisionally for inquiry” suggests that during the 1920s the Montreal court used short-term detention in much the same way-that is, as an alternative to outright commitment to reform schools.

In May, 1925, the board took action to resist admission of boys for terms shorter than one year:

The question of admitting short-term cases from the Juvenile Court was discussed, and it was decided to request the Judge of the Court not to send boys for a shorter period than one year (May 28, 1925).

The Boys’ Farm was not successful in convincing the court to use the indefinite sentence, but it did persuade the court to extend definite sentences. Records for boys discharged from May, 1939, to May, 1941, (and who were therefore sentenced in the mid-1930s) show that boys were sentenced for definite rather than indefinite terms. None of the 143 sentences, however, were for less than two years and most were for three, four, and five years (the mean sentence was 3.67 years). The Boys’ Farm appears, therefore, to have been successful in temporarily allaying the threat of short sentences.“ And it was successful in acquiring recognition of its right to be consulted by the court regarding the actual release date of sentenced boys:

Colonel Magee [a board member] reported that he had had a very satisfactory interview with Judge Lacroix [of the Juvenile Court] in reference to the releasing of the Wilson boys [two brothers]. The Judge has promised that he would not release any more boys without first asking for a report from the Farm management (October 30, 1924).

By 1930, the population crisis was over at The Boys’ Farm and the province’s other reform schools (the largest of these were the two French reform schools in Montreal, also supplied by the Montreal juvenile court). From 1930 to 1945, the population of the province’s reform schools reached record levels; at The Boys’ Farm it reached more than 200. While longer sentences contributed to the rise, increased court commitments were the major factor. In 1927, the number of court commitments to The Boys’ Farm had risen to pre-1920 levels and continued to climb. The population crisis had passed, but not primarily as the result of lengthened sentences.

– Prue Rains, McGill University, “Juvenile Justice and the Boys’ Farm: Surviving A Court-Created Population Crisis, 1909-1948.” Social Problems, Vol. 31, No. 5, June 1984. pp. 505-09

Photographs are both Conrad Poirier, “Boy’s Farm and Training School, Shawbridge.” 1947-11, P48.S1.P15232 & P48.S1.P15235, BAnQ. 

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