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REFORMATORY TREATMENT OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS. [TO THE EDITOR OF THE MERLIN AND SILURIAN.] SIR,-A full report was given in a former number of your paper of the meeting held at Newport for the pro- motion of a Reformatory School. The address given by Mr. T. Barwick Baker suggested to those concerned in the administration of justice in this county, a course of proceeding with respect to juvenile offenders which has been acted upon with the most distinct success in the county of Gloucestershire, and which, there is every reason to hope, if adopted in Monmouthshire, might be equally successful. Having, therefore, obtained from Mr. Barwick Baker a revision of his address, I am in- duced to request its reproduction in your columns in a form which may be relied upon for its accuracy in figures and details. I beg also to observe that, under certain arrangements which I hope soon to be enabled to state, Mr. Baker will, till our own reformatory is opened, receive boys from this county at Hardwicke, and (while there is room) admission may be gained for them to Kingswood and other Schools, as well as for girls (under 13) to Red Lodge, Bristol. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, STEPHEN CATTLEY BAKER. Usk, September 15th, 1857. In the address of Mr. T. Barwick Lloyd Baker, after a few observations of a preliminary nature, he said there were two or three points referred to by Mr. Bosanquet (the previous speaker) which he would touch upon and call still further attention to. Perhaps the principal point was that of making the parents pay. Now he must explain to them the features of that plan. Having for some time worked the plan, he could more practically than Mr. Bosanquet speak as to the great advantages of the system of compelling parents to pay. The law has given very peculiar power-a much greater power, to magistrates than at first sight appeared. The law ordered that when a child was sent to a reformatory school, the parent may be brought forward by any person appointed by Government. (Mr. Sidney Turner was that person now, but the law would probably put the work into the hauds of the county police), and the parent may be taken before a neighbouring magistrate, who will decide how much he is able to pay. If the parent refuse to pay, the police are to bring him up again before the magistrates, and the magistrates have the power to send the parent to prison for ten days. That seemed a very short and slight punishment; but it must be re- membered that ten days was more than at first sight ap- peared If a man were only sent for ten days, he was allowed nothing but bread and water, while if sent for a month, he had gruel in addition, so that at the end of ten days he comes out without having had the opportu- nity of becoming accustomed to prison and those cer- tain little comforts which are necessarily given to those who are in gaol for a long period. Consequently, the parent left the gaol with a strong impression that it is a remarkably uncomfortable place. After he leaves prison the policeman again visits him, and desires him to pay his weekly shilling or two shillings towards the support of his child; and if he again refuse, and the magistrate choose to carry it on, they have the power to give a mild succession of ten days' imprisonment, which, he must say, he thought was a remarkably good thing in those very strong cases which were occasionally found. He did not mean to recommend such a course in those very numerous cases that he was aware existed, where the parent was all day at his work, and was doing his best to earn a subsistence for himself and family, and was unable to look after his children, and the boy would get into trouble. He would beg for a great degree of leniency towards parents who made an effort to pay a trifle, though it was little more than what the child would have cost them had he been in the house with the family instead of in the reformatory school. But there were certain cases of wilful neglect, and other cases yet far worse, where the parents make a deliberate trade in the crime of their children; in these cases, it was absolutely necessary that there should be a mild repeti- tion of the ten days' imprisonment. There was another pjint that he would still more wish to call their attention to—the different systems and different views held as to reformatories. A great many people said the object ought nottobe to reform, butto prevent. Now hebelieved -and he thanked God that he believed he was nearly in a position to show-that reformatory schools were preventives in the most powerful degree. They must consider what was meant by crime. He confessed he took a rather different view of it than many people did. Many people considered that human nature was divisible into only two classes—criminal and non-criminal. The non-criminal were perfect angels, whilst the criminal were housebreakers, and all those other bad men, who came under the designation of ticket-of-leave men," for that, now-a-days, was the name given to the worst degree of crime. Now the fact was, that mankind were not precisely divisible into these two classes. There was every shade between them but the great thing to be considered was this-he was afraid, if the question was looked at very closely, there was scarcely one of them who could thoroughly say that he was out of all fear that his children might not be criminal, if by criminal was meant the occasional taking of something which did not belong to them. There were many who had gone on without falling into that state but who could say that any of their children were perfectly safe from falling ? Now, what he deduced from this, was the earnest call upon them to consider that there is a difference between a person who once yields to a temporary temptation and takes a thing which does not belong to him, and the hardened criminal. Not one-half, nor one twentieth part of mankind, weigh the distinction which there is between a boy who commits a single offence and a boy who is in the regular habit of committing thefts. If, by greatly diminishing crime, they meant greatly diminishing the first ofÍÈmces-the cases of boys yielding to sudden temptation-he did not believe that refor- matory schools would to a very great extent (they would to some extent), diminish first offences. But he did believe that reformatory schools would enable them to do great good, and if they would adopt a new system of sentencing, such as they had not hitherto been able to use, bnt such as would be suited to the school when opened, he fully believed they might diminish second and third offences almost to nothing. He considered that the first offender-the boy with the first offence- ought not to be called criminal. He did not mean to say he ought not to be punished. He thought decidedly that he ought. He thought the boy had done wrong in taking that which did not belong to him, and he believed that every boy knew when he stole something, that he was doing wrong but the punishment should be a very slight one—it should not be one to blast his character-it ought not to be considered by the world as blasting his character. (Cheers.) Now the system which he had tried, with the aid of their country- man, Mr Bengough, was, in point of time, the first experiment of the kind (not the first as a school-for the Philanthropic, thanks to Mr. Bosanquet's father among others, had existed long before, but had not con- fined its exertions to one particular district-while the excellent reformatory in Warwickshire had been unhappily allowed to die the very year before the Act passed which would have given it fresh life.) But the reformatory for Gloucestershire was the first which had confined itself to a certain district, with the crime of which it was able to cope, and therefore in this point they had more experience than others. They had gone upon this principle—when- ever a boy was sentenced for his first offence, unless there was strong reason to believe that he was in the regular habit of crime, he (Mr. Baker) begged the magis- trates that they would not send him to the reformatory school, but that they would commit him to prison for one week. He believed that a SINGLE WEEK would be the very best punishment they could give a boy FOR His FIRST OFFENCE. For the SECOND OFFENCE, send him to the REFORMATORY SCHOOL; on his third offence give him a good sentence of penal servitude; and on his fourth offence a considerably longer sentence of penal servitude. Now let them mark the effect produced by this. It was not the reformation of individuals to which he alluded: out of 145 boys who had passed through his hands, the greater part had done well, some had gone on steadily for a time and then fallen. Some of those who had fallen had since recovered themselves and were doing well, but he would by no means say that any were reformed, meaning thereby, that they were perfect and would never relapse again, though he had good hope that all were the better for the school; but he could say this-they used to have somewhere about, of late years, fifteen or sixteen boys in the county of Gloucester, con- victed for the second, third, or fourth time. He had been doing the best he could to get hold of all these old offenders, and last Christmas he gave notice to the magistrates that they had caught, as he hoped, all the regular offenders. He then could not help boasting (though he was doubtful how it might turn out) that if his theory was correct, crime ought considerably to diminish among boys under 16. He confessed, he said it with fear and trembling, as he could not tell how an unlucky half year might altogether alter the state of things; but the fact was, that since the 12th of November last there was only one boy in the whole county of Gloucester convicted for a second offence, and that was such a thing as had never happened before. (Applause.) It might be too short a period from which to assume a theory, or to boast of a statistical fact." In truth, he did not believe very much in statistical facts, unless they were very closely looked at. On going into the statisti- cal facts of one county, the real result may differ very much from the first apparent result. He did not mean to say that they were always to go on with only one boy for every nine months; but let them take the case pro tanto, and it was satisfactory that they had now gone on for that time with only one case of a second conviction in a county like Gloucester, which had always borne, for its population, rather a bad character, particularly with regard to juvenile crime. (Hear, hear.) Be would beg of the Monmouthshire magistrates to consider whether they might not, when they got their reformatory into action, have very short imprisonments for first offences, the re- formatory school for second offences, and when any boys relapsed after the reformatory school, he would not ask for mercy on them. His own belief was, they would find a very rapid decrease in crime amongst boys under 16 to follow this system. There is another reason why he would ask them to look at the matter in this light. A great many people said that out of the 12,000 juvenile criminals, 30 per cent. were convictedforsecondoffences and, therefore, in this county they would say it must always be considered there would be 30 per cent. second convictions. Now, if they pleased, he would say to them they were not to consider any such thing, because one county differs from another in such an extiaordinary degree, that a conclusion like that could not be safely arrived at. He looked at the five last years of com- mitments in Gloucestershire-and there he really could look into them, and know how far they could be depended on—he could tell every boy who had been committed, and knew pretty well what he was doing. He took the town of Cheltenham, which has always been very bad for boy thieves, as he knew from 25 years experience, as a magistrate; and taking one hundred boys who were there committed for the first time, twenty-eight and a fraction of these were afterwards re-committed. In the town of Gloucester,-a large, poor town, compared with Cheltenham, out of one hundred boys committed for the first time, only nine were committed for a second time. In the rest of the county, including the manufacturing district of Stroud and the mining districts of the Forest of Dean, he could show a list of all the convictions, by which it appeared that in every 100 boys committed a first time, only four were re-committed. This showed how little a calculation of the average results of the kingdom would enable one to adapt a system to a parti- cular district. Each set of magistrates must examine their own district, and act accordingly. If it were found that in Newport, of 100 committed, 40 were re-committed, it would be desirable to send both these and some first com- mittals to the school; while in the country districts, where the number of re-committals is probably very small, only second or even third committals should be sent there. He would urge the magistrates to consider, each for their own neighbourhood, who should be sent and how many -if any—on their first conviction. If they adopted the system of sending numbers to gaol for only one week the first time, the tlumber of convictions would increase very largely indeed but, at the same time, crime would de- crease. Many prosecutors, who did not like to have a boy sent to gaol for a month, would endeavour to check his course if they had reason to believe the magistrates would send him to gaol for a week only. When a boy came out of gaol at the end of a month, his muscles were soft, his hands, were soft, and he was hardly fit to go to work again but in all probability, if sent only for a week, he would go out at the end of that week without feeling his hands much softer, and find his master ready to employ him again and having had only a short, sharp, punishment, would go to his work with an inclination to stick to it in future. Without over- tasking their excellent chaplain, the system of short imprisonments would enable them to receive a much larger number in the gaol than at present. If they came a second time-and very possibly the number of second offences would increase in the outset-the children must be sent to the reformatory. Till they got a little used to it, the parents would hardly understand that they actually would be driven to pay for their boys at school; and the boys themselves, when they were sent to school, would think they would have nothing to do but learn but whe-l they found they were set to work—right hard work-every day for eight hours, they would begin to look at the school differently. Some would say eight hours a day was short enough but it should be remem- bered that to be kept hard at work for that period was quite as much as a. boy could bear. Boys on farms were employed ten and a half hours but all that time was not actually spent in hard work, and it would not do at a reformatory to encourage anything like idleness. Well, then, at first boys would be likely to think the re- formatory school a pleasant place, and parents would thinjt the magistrates would never have the cruelty to make them pay for the maintence of the boy. But when the parents found that it did not pay to let their children be sent to the reformatory, and that they certainly were sent there on a second conviction, it would be found that the number of second convictions would very materially diminish, and that the school would be of inestimable advantage, because it would entirely do away with fourth and fifth convictions. Those fourth and fifth convictions were the means by which we had been manufacturing criminals at a fearful expense to ourselves for years and years. It might sound very much like an absurd hope, but he had one hope for a good many years. He was perfectly convinced that in this country we had been manufacturing, not our petty thieves, but our regular hardened criminals, at an enormous expense but he believed we could give up the ma- nufacture precisely whenever we pleased. He did not mean to say that human nature would not yield to temptation. There would be second and third time offenders-there would be those who were too weak in mind to resist any temptation, and they must be kept in restraint. Care for the public safety re- quired that it should be so, and they would have cases of that kind. But the regular hardened habitual offenders would be decreased. There would be Robsons and Redpaths, and terrible offenders of that kind, but the regular systematic housebreakers, the regular pro- fessional thieves-the moment the country ceased to make them such by the constant system of short impri- sonments—they would cease to exist, and we should be clear of them. As he could not now find boys in Glou- cestershire to fill his reformatory, he had asked the Mayor of Bristol to allow him to sport upon his manor having shot all the game upon his own. He had met there with the case of one boy, who had been sent to prison a great number of times, and the history of that boy showed only too truly the effect of sending a boy to gaol time after time. Some time before Christmas, 1854, the boy's father ran away, and he lived with his step-mother. He began to steal, and was sent the first time to gaol for fourteen days. After he came out, the police took him to his mother, who would have nothing to do with him, and then he went to lodge in the worst part of Bristol, where he met with a man (since trans- ported) who instructed him. He then went on stealing, and was sent to prison eight times, for various terms, and last of all he had been sent to the Hardwicke Re- formatory. Now when a boy got to that system of using the gaol time after time, how could he be expected to do anything but to go to gaol again ? They must never allow a boy to become an habitue of a gaol. That was the very advantage of having a reformatory school. If they had a reformatory school, let them use it in the way he had spoken of, not by sending every boy whose mother is untidy, as one boy was sent to his (Mr. Baker's) school. He would say to the friends before him, let them not fill up their school with little trifling things of that kind. Send only boys they believed to be at all approaching the condition of regular offenders. For a time deal very sharply, but shortly, with first offenders—for there would thus be room in the gaol for a much larger number of them-so as to stop the com- mencement of crime more readily. If they would do that they would have the power to say, whatever might be said on the question of reforming this or that particu- lar boy, that no one boy in their county can become an habitual criminal under the age of sixteen years and he did hold that being able to say that was one of the proudest things a county could have to say. Thank God, they could say it in his county, and every county in England where provision was made would be able to take every second conviction into a reformatory within two years. He had nothing to do with the financial part of the question as affecting Monmouthshire, but he did urge upon them the desirableness of being able to say with confidence that not one boy in the county shall have the physical opportunity of becoming a regular ha- bitual criminal under the age of sixteen years.