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A study of one-thousand juvenile delinquents

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A STUDY OF OKI-THOUSAND
JUVENILE DELINQUENTS
A Thesis
Presented to
the Faculty of the School of Education
The University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Science in Education
by
Don C. Lillywhite
July 1911
UM! Number: EP54251
All rights reserved
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UMI EP54251
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cy
T h is thesis, w r it t e n u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f the
C h a ir m a n o f the candidate\s G u id a n c e C o m m itte e
a n d a p p ro v e d by a l l m em bers o f the C o m m itte e ,
has been presen ted to a n d accepted by the F a c u lt y
o f the S c h o o l o f E d u c a t io n in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t
o f the re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f M a s t e r o f
Science in E d u c a tio n .
D a t e . . A m * . .......
Guidance Com m ittee
C. C. Crawford
C hairm an
D. Welty Lefever
Irving R. Melbo
m j c
ACraOWLEDGEMENTS
The investigator wishes to express his sincere apprecia­
tion to two people for their valuable assistance in obtain­
ing the data and tabulating the results for this thesis.
To Charles L. Lillywhite, brother of the investigator, and
Juvenile Officer of the Los Angeles Police Department, the
investigator is deeply grateful for making it possible to
examine the files from which the data was obtained. The
most sincere appreciation is also expressed for the valuable
assistance rendered by Edith C. Lillywhite in compiling the
data and tabulating the results. Without her help the com­
pilation would have been well nigh impossible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I.
II.
III.
PAGE
THE PROBLEM.......................................
1
Statement of the problem......................
2
Importance and justification of the problem...
3
Limitations of the study......................
6
Summary........................................
7
A REVIEW OF RELATED STUDIES.....................
8
Related studies...,............................
8
Summary........................................
1.6
SOURCES OF DATA AND METHODS OF PROCEDURE........
18
Source of data.........................
18
Difficulties encountered......................
18
Number of cases and time span to be
IV.
considered...................................
19
Method of sampling.............................
20
Factors to be considered......................
22
Distribution tables............................
26
Summary........................................
27
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE OFFENSE COMMITTED
AND VARIOUS SOCIAL FACTORS......
28
Age and offense................................
28
Grad§ in school and offense...................
31
Descent and offense............................
33
School reputation and offense.................
37
CHAPTER
V.
PAGE
Club activities and offense....................
39
Part-time employment and offense...............
41
Previous record and offense....................
43
Occupation of father and offense...............
45
Marital condition of parents and offense......
47
Economic condition of parents and offense.....
50
Number of brothers and sisters and offense
53
Summary.........................................
56
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN PREVIOUS RECORD AND
VARIOUS SOCIAL FACTORS..........
60
Age and previous record........................
60
Grade in school and previous record............
62
School reputation and previous record.........
64
Club activities and previous record............
64
Descent and previous record....................
67
Part-time employment and previous record......
70
Occupation of the father and previous record...
70
Marital condition of the parents and
previous record...............................
74
Economic condition of the parents and
previous record.............................
Summary.........................................
VI.
.
76
79
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN VARIOUS EACTORS AID THE
DISPOSITION OF THE CASE........................
82
CHAPTER
PAGE
Age and disposition..............................
82
Grade in school anddisposition. . ...............
84
Marital condition of the parents and
the disposition................................
86
Economic condition of the parents and the
disposition
VII.
89
Previous record and thedisposition..............
91
Summary..........................................
94
CONCLUSIONS, SUMMARY,ANDRECOMMENDATIONS..........
97
Conclusions.................. ....................
97
Summary..........................................
103
Recommendations..................................
105
BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................
110
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
I.
PAGE
Distribution, by Age, of 1,000 Juvenile
Delinquency Offenses...........................
II.
Distribution, by School Grade, of 1,000
Juvenile Delinquency Offenses.................
III.
42
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Offenses
According to Previous Arrests.................
VIII.
40
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Offenses
According to part-time Employment.............
VII.
38
Distribution, by Club Activities, of 1,000
Juvenile Delinquency Offenses.................
VI.
34
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Offenses
According to School Reputation................
V.
32
Distribution, by Descent, of 1,000 Juvenile
Delinquency Offenses..........................
IV.
29
44
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Offenses
According to the Occupation of the Father
of the Offender................................
IX.
46
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Offenses
According to the Marital Condition of the
Parents of the Offender.......................
X.
^
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Offenses
According to the Economic Condition of
the Parents of the Offender...................
51
vi
TABLE
XI.
PAGE
A Comparison of the Number of Brothers and
Sisters of, and the Offenses of, 1,000
Juvenile Offenders.............................
XII.
A Comparison of the Age and Previous
Record of 1,000 Juvenile Offenders............
XIII.
66
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Descent of 1,000 Juvenile Offenders...........
XVII.
65
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Club Affiliation of 1,000 Juvenile Offenders..
XVI.
63
A Comparison of the Previous Record and
School reputation of 1,000 Juvenile Offenders.
XV.
61
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Grade in School of 1,000 Juvenile Offenders...
XIV.
54
69
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Part-Time Employment of 1,000 Juvenile
Offenders......................................
XVIII.
71
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Occupation of the Fathers of 1,000
Juvenile Offenders.............................
XIX.
12
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Marital Condition of the Parents of 1,000
Juvenile Offenders.............................
XX.
A Comparison of the Previous Record and the
Economic Condition of the Parents or Guard-
75
vii
TABLE
PAGE
ians of 1,000 Juvenile Offenders..............
XXI.
Distribution, by Age, of 1,000 Juvenile
Delinquency Dispositions......................
XXII.
82
Distribution, by School Grade, of 1,000
Juvenile Delinquency Dispositions.............
XXIII.
77
85
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Delinquency
Dispositions According to the Marital Con­
dition of the Parents of the Offender........
XXIV.
87
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Delinquency
Dispositions According to the Economic
Condition of the Parents of the Offender.....
XXV.
90
Distribution of 1,000 Juvenile Delinquency
Dispositions According to Previous Arrests
Of the Offender................................
92
CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM
There has probably never been, since history began,
so much attention directed toward the education and gui­
dance of the "younger generation” as there is today, es­
pecially in the United States.
ding school than ever before.
More children are atten­
Paralleling this movement is
the increasing demands for higher standards of certification
for teachers.
In the school curriculum itself, more and more
time is being devoted to vocational and educational guidance
courses, designed to guide the student to a happy and success­
ful adjustment of himself to his surroundings, and to better
fit him for the task of earning a living for himself and
family, while at the same time taking an active part in the
governmental activities of his community and nation.
While this increased attention is being turned toward
the child by the educational institutions of the land, we
find America1s law enforcement bodies concentrating upon the
same subject, by devoting more and more of their time, money,
and personnel to the study and correction of juvenile de­
linquency.
An increasing number of cities throughout the
United States are requiring that juvenile officers take
special training in juvenile delinquency treatment and diag­
nosis as a prerequisite to their positions.
Statement of the -problem. With such nation-wide at­
tention directed toward this very important subject, it
would certainly not be amiss to inquire into the nature of
the problem of juvenile delinquency.
The effect of various
social factors on the life of a child should not be over­
looked.
Various studies have been made to determine which
factors contribute most prominently to the delinquency of
children.
The majority of these studies, however, were
made concerning the latter stages in the treatment of cases
of delinquency.
This investigator has been unable to find
any study concerning the first step in the apprehension
and treatment of* juvenile offenders.
How do the juvenile
officers handle the case from its first appearance?
What
social factors lie back of this initial step in juvenile
procedure?
Did the offender have a previous record?
If so,
why did the previous record not deter this child from further
crime?
How was the case disposed of?
Did the occupation
of the father, or the marital or economic condition of the
parents influence the officers any in the disposition of
the case?
It was to answer such questions as these that
the following investigation was made.
In general, the investigation was four-fold in purpose,
namely:
(l) to collect data from a reliable source on vari-
social and delinquency factors; (2) to arrange the data in
3
tables for the purpose of comparisons;
(3) to seek unusual
or extraordinary relationships as shown by the comparisons,
and the possible explanations of these relationships; and
U>
on the basis of these relationships to make pertinent
and practical recommendations concerning juvenile guidance
to schools, churches, law enforcement, recreational, and
other institutions engaged in child education and guidance.
It was the belief that such a study would reveal cer­
tain relationships between social and delinquency factors
heretofore overlooked, which would throw more light on the
problems of juvenile delinquency, and thereby lead to the
improvement of present methods of handling such problems,
as well as to indicate methods of procedure for the preven­
tion of a majority of such problems.
Importance and justification of the problem.
The
juvenile delinquency situation in the United States has been
given a very black painting, indeed.
Prominent educators
and criminologists could be quoted by the page, stating that
the problem is disgraceful beyond description.
But the
following two will suffice to show the general trend of
thought.
J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, recently wrote:
rfI cannot repeat too often the dull, hard, dis­
heartening truth of the record of youth in crime. The
persons who are described as juvenile delinquents are
building a disreputable record. From January 1. 1939,
to September 30, 1939, children in the United States
4
under fifteen years of age were arrested for four mur­
ders, forty-seven assaults, fifty robberies, 163 auto
thefts, 824 burglaries, and 911 larcenies,
”In the slightly higher age bracket the record is
even more disheartening. Youths less than twenty-one
years of age constituted 20 per cent of all persons
arrested in the United States. Almost 13 per cent of
the murderers, 30 per cent of the robbers, 47 per cent
of the burglars, 34 per cent of the thieves, and 50 per
cent of the auto thieves with whom the law enforcement
officers of America must deal are youths who have not
yet reached the voting age. These figures indicate that
the crime problem is essentially a youth problem.
A gloomy picture indeed, but one no less gloomy is given by
Scudder:^
n0ur country has the highest crime rate of any
civilized nation on earth--more than twice that of
Italy, and more than nine times that of England. We
support 11,000,' jails and 3j000 penal institutions,
housing hundreds of thousands of prisoners and inmates.
Statistics show that over 75 per cent of these criminals
started their career in youth. The greatest number of
offenses today occur with individuals sixteen to twentyone years of age.11
The first part of this last statement might have been
based on facts not comparable for different countries.
Has
it never occurred to those who would condemn America1s youth
in the manner quoted above, that it is quite possible that
our country has a more efficient law enforcement body than
other countries, or that the laws of this country may be more
severe than in other countries?
It is a known fact that
J. Edgar Hoover, "The Task of the Teacher,” editorial,
The Phi Delta Kappan. 22:329-30, March, 1940*
^ J. W. ScuddAr, "Guidance vs Delinquency,” Educational
Method. 15i97, November, 1935.
5
many acts which are called crimes in this country are thought
of as natural social acts in other countries, occurring in
the daily tasks of life with no thought of breaking the
laws of the land.
In such cases it seems foolish to attempt
a comparison of crime rates.
If the above statistics were
based on criminal cases in; ^proportion to the population of
one country as compared with the number of cases in propor­
tion to the population in another, and also included a com­
parable list of laws, the violation of which constituted a
crime, from each country, then the statement could carry
greater meaning.
As it now stands it is vague, but still
pertinent enough to warrant seriotxs attempts to alleviate
such conditions.
From Mr. Hoover1s statement, however, a good insight
into America’s juvenile delinquency problem can be obtained.
If these figures are true, and certainly J. Edgar Hoover is
in a splendid position to know, then the figures alone should
justify any study which could effect in some way a measure
of improvement in the problem of preventing delinquency.
Be that as it may.
Our lives today are very complex,
so complex, in fact, that hundreds and hundreds of laws
have been passed, and increased efforts are being constantly
made to enforce them.
In such a bewildering number of
”rules of the game” our youths face a veritable maze of life.
Laws which a gneration or two ago were unheard of are broken
6
right and left, some unconsciously, some consciously.
Broken
laws mean police records, and police records mean life-long
stigmas.
One of the most outstanding duties of' society
today should he to so arrange the order of life that these
stigmas should he reduced to a minimum.
Such, it has seemed
to the investigator, is certainly ample justification for
this investigation.
Limitations of the study.
Due to the complexity of the
problem of juvenile delinquency, it was necessary to limit
the study in certain respects.
Partly because of the writers particular interest, and
partly due to the fact that there was a vast majority of
male cases, only hoy cases were considered.
Also as a matter
of personal interest, with the hope of revealing heretofore
un-noticed relationships, the study was limited to only
the original luvenile Arrest Reports, the first report filed
on a hoy following his arrest on any charge.
To avoid any misunderstanding it would he well to ex­
plain the meaning of the term ”arrest report” .
Every time
a juvenile is arrested in Los Angeles a report of the crime
committed and the circumstances surrounding the same, is made.
This is the ffarrest report.”
To he sure, other reports are
made as the case is investigated further, hut the 11arrest
report” is the first report made by any juvenile officer on
7
any particular offense.
A child may have been arrested before,
or he may be arrested again later, but even so, whenever he
is arrested the arrest is reported on the afore-mentioned
blank, and filed.
This is the report about which the inves­
tigation is concerned.
It should be further understood that the word ”juvenile”
as used in this study refers to the definition under crim­
inal law, and not under civil law.
The former refers to
,fany person under the age of eighteen,” while the latter
refers to ”any person under the age of twenty-one.”
Summary.
It was pointed out in this chapter that the
problem of juvenile delinquency is of such magnitude in this
country that it justifies an unlimited amount of research
in attempts to alleviate the conditions or eliminate the
condition altogether.
It was pointed out that the study was limited to male
cases, and to the original arrests reports, which were ex­
plained in detail.
The meaning of the word ” juvenile” as
used in this study was also explained.
8
CHAPTER II
A REVIEW OE RELATED STUDIES
The subject of juvenile delinquency is one which is
still exceedingly fascinating, regardless of the great em­
phasis which has been placed upon it in the last thirty or
forty years.
It has received the most concentrated efforts
of some of the finest educators and crime prevention author­
ities in the world.
Yet the causes of juvenile delinquency
are so widespread and elusive that the problem of preventing
it is by no means solved.
Most of the studies in this field increase the light
into which the problem of juvenile delinquency is constantly
being pushed, and it is always in the hope that factors of
more vital significance will be discovered, that so many in­
vestigators are spending so much time, and have spent so
much to date, on this problem.
Related studies.
One of the earliest crusaders against
juvenile delinquency was made in England, and there the prob­
lem was studied in great detail, and the resulting progress
reported by a man whose works have marked |iim as a true cru­
sader in this field.
It is hard to find anywhere a book
so interestingly written, nor so vitally important to the
entire question of juvenile delinquency as is the book "The
9
Young Delinquent11^ by Cyril Burt.
Burt made a very careful study of a number of case
histories of delinquent juveniles in an about the city of
London, England.
Although his study was made many years
ago, it is interesting to note how closely some of his con­
clusions resemble those reached within the past few years
by authorities in this country.
He found that the delin­
quents came from congested areas, had very little wholesome
recreation, poor environmental conditions, were retarded in
school, came from families in humble circumstances generally,
and were usually below the average physically.
He found the
young delinquents running generally in gangs, and committing
their crimes because of a desire for thrills and adventure.
Juvenile investigations made in this country during
the last decade have revealed causal factors which usually
are in agreement with those found by Burt.
However, it
must not be assumed that all authorities are in perfect
agreement as to the basic causes and factors of juvenile
delinquency.
On the contrary, it is rather amusing to note
some of the extreme differences of opinion based on careful
studies that many investigators have.
A review of some of these
studies, most of which were made in California, will suffice
^ Cyril Burt, The Young Delinquent, (New York: D.
Appleton and Company, 1925")", §19 pp.
10
to show the differences.and similarities between various
studies.
Perry^ studied 7,000 cases of problem boys who had
been transfered from regular schools to various welfare
centers in the city of Los Angeles, California.
He found
that, at the time of their transfer, the boys averaged fif­
teen years of age, were of average grade 8.5#,. and that the
span of highest delinquency was from twelve to seventeen
years of age.
He found that only 1.409 per cent of all the
boys in the Los Angeles schools, from 1925-36, inclusive,
were transfered to social welfare centers, and that of these,
72 per cent were of the white race, 9*2 per cent were Negroes,
0.2 per cent were Japanese, and the remainder were of vari­
ous other races.
Perry found that more than half of the boys came from
broken homes, that 49 per cent came from homes where the
average income was less than $100 per month, that 75 per cent
of the boys belonged to no clubs, that most of them engaged
in no church activities, that less than one-fourth were in
normal physical health, and that the average I.Q. among the
boys was 87.06.
Perry by no means spared the schools in the question
^ Glenn Edwin Perry, ”Juvenile Delinquency in the
Junior and Senior High Schools of Los Angeles; Its Prevalence,
Manifestations and Causes,” (unpublished Master*s thesis,
The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937)
11
of responsibility for the delinquency of the boys, 'and
placed plenty of blame as well upon the home, the church,
youth clubs,and the community.
Another study was made at about the same time, in
the same city, and concerning boys in the same type of in- ■
stitution, by Allen.^
Allen studied the histories of 741 cases in the
Los Angeles Welfare Center during the 1933-34 school year.
He found that the average age was 13-3 years, the average
school grade was 8.67, and the average I.Q. was 90.52.
He
also found the delinquents to be retarded in school from
one and one-half to three years.
He found that 87 per cent
of the. boys suffered physical abnormalities, that broken
homes was a determining factor in the boys’ delinquency,
that the boys came from homes in meager financial circumstances,
that 75 per cent belonged to no clubs, and that 25 per cent
of the boys were on probation.
The above discoveries agree very well with those found
£
by Perry,
but in the way of disagreement, Allen found that
religion was no factor in causing delinquency, and most im5 Eugene Clyde Allen, ”An Educational and Sociological
Delinquency Factor Survey of the Los Angeles Boys Welfare
Center,” (unpublished Master’s thesis, The University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937)
^ Perry, crq. cit.
12
portant of all of the differences, Allen decided that upon
the basis of evidence presented in his study, ”most of the
causal factors of juvenile delinquency originate outside of
the schools, and hence are beyond the schools*
7
control,11
The last statement shows very clearly the difference
of conclusions which may be arrived at by two people study­
ing the same thing and obtaining results which agree to an
amazing degree.
Still another study was made of boys in a welfare
B
center in Los Angeles at about the same time by Pagliassotti,
whose investigation concerned the status of boys from broken
homes sent to the Port Hill school in 1934-35.
He found the
average age of the boys to be fourteen years, six months,
and that the average intelligence of the boys was below the
average for boys in the city in general.
In a different locality a study was made some time
9
later by Thomas, who attempted to determine the factors
associated with school delinquency among gunior high school
problem boys, and to contrast this group with a normal group
7 .
Allen, on. cit.
B
Louis Prank Pagliassotti, f,A Comparison of Problem
Boys Prom Normal and Prom Broken Homes,” (unpublished Master* s
thesis, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
1937).
9
Charles William Thomas, ”An Investigation of the
Bactors Associated with School Delinquency Among Boys in a
Junior High School,” (unpublished Master’s thesis. The Uni­
versity of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1940/.
of the same age in the same school.
Thomas1 study concerned "boys in a junior high school
in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Proceding along a carefully devised
scheme, he contrasted and compared the delinquent group with
a normal and a near-normal group on the basis of school,
leisure-time, personal, and home factors.
Some of the re­
sults were surprising, some to be expected, but all very in­
teresting.
Among others, he found a wide range of I.Q., that
the delinquent group vras retarded one s^ear on the average,
and that the non-academic fields offered greater opportunities
for readjustment to the lower group.
Thomas found that all three groups enjoyed and at­
tended the movies, but that the delinquent group attended
more times per week, and preferred gangster pictures.
He
found that all three groups read books freely, but that the
lower group read less, and preferred adventure, western, and
detective stories, in that order.
The lower group engaged in
less Boy Scout work, and made less use of their leisure-time
in general.
He found the delinquent boys physically inferior,
using more tobacco and using it more frequently, that they
had less life ambitions definitely fixed in mind, and that
they had less allowance and received what they did have
less regularly.
He also found that the delinquents came more fre-
14
quently from broken homes, and that the homes were broken
most frequently by divorce.
He found that the lower group
came from smaller houses, from larger families, from families
with less per capita income, and that they had a greater per­
centage of unemployed fathers.
Although Thomas*
study was made in a different lo­
cality some of the same general results show in it as do
in some of the other studies.
An investigation was made in Long Beach, California
in 1935 by Maxwell
10
in an attempt to clarify the juvenile
delinquency situation in that city.
He reported on the
case studies of some 1200 boys from 1927-28 to 1933-34.
In this study, Maxwell found that the delinquents
compared favorably in intelligence with normal children,
that a little more than half were retarded in school, 32.7
per cent were a^e, and 10.4 per cent were accelerated at
school.
He found, further, that two-thirds of them lived in
normal homes with their mothers and fathers, that as nearly
as could be determined, 40 per cent of the fathers were
day-laborers, and that only 398 out of the 1200 boys had
odd jobs.
^ William Calvin Maxwell, "An Investigation of Boy
Delinquency in Long Beach. California, and its Implications
for the Public Schools," (unpublished Master*s thesis, The
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1935).
15
Maxwell also found that only 2.0 per cent of the
"boys were Negroes, that over 46 per cent were first offenders,
that the average age was 13.6 years, and that the worst of­
fenders were from grades seven, eight, and nine.
Maxwell concluded that there was no crime wave in
Long Beach, "but that, on the contrary, the increase in de­
linquency was only half as rapid as the increase in population
in the city.
He also concluded that voluntary probation in
Long Beach was a failure.
Gordon*^ also investigated actual case histories of a
large number of problem cases in the schools of Los Angeles,
covering a period of ten years.
He found the median age to
be fifteen years, one month, and the median grade to be in
the low eighth.
He found that the three most important fac­
tors contributing to delinquency, according to frequency,
were lack of parental control, broken,homes, and bad com­
panions.
The boys in Gordon's study were found to be intellec­
tually below normal, retarded from one to two and one-half
years in school, in poor physical condition, and were pro­
portionately more often the sons of Negroes, Mexicans, Ital­
ians, and Russians.
More than 50 per cent of the boys were
Edmond David Gordon, "Problem Boys in the Special
Schools of Los Angeles,” (unpublished Master's thesis, The
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1936).
16
from homes which were considered abnormal from.,a financial
or a marital standpoint, more of them were motherless than
were fatherless, more were from lafge families than were from
small when considering families of five or more as large,
only 22 per cent of the boys were members of any clubs, and
33.3 per cent had previous records in court.
Summary.
It will be seen that, in general, many of
the results obtained by these investigators are quite similar
while others are entirely different.
The average age was us-
12
ually found to be in the fifteenth year, although Maxwell
13
found it to be 13.6 years, and Pagliassotti
found it to be
fourteen years and six months.
The usual grade average was
found to be in the eighth grade.
Usually the juvenile were
found to be retarded in school from one to three years, al­
though Maxwell found very little retardation and found that
10 per cent of the boys in his study were definiteljr acceler­
ated in school.
Maxwell also was the only investigator men­
tioned to find the delinquents to be of near normal intelli­
gence.
All of the six investigators mentioned found that the
delinquents came from homes in poor financial condition, and
all of them found that broken homes was a major factor in the
Maxwell, .op. pit.
13
Pagliassotti, pp. cit.
17
delinquency, although Maxwell differed again to a certain
extent in that he found that two-third of the boys in his
study came frpm normal homes.
All of these investigators who studied it found the
physical condition of the delinquents to be below normal.
They, who made a study of the factors, also found that very
few of the delinquents belonged to clubs, and that very few
had odd jobs.
Two of the investigators found that the boys came
generally from large families.
Only one of the investigations mentioned his boys
as having a large number of previous records.
Maxwell
14
found that the } percentage of previous records was 54 per
cent of thei>total number of boys studied, while Gordon
15
found that 33*3 per cent of the boys in his study had pre­
vious records.
Striking similarities on so many factors by so many
investigators certainly indicates great opportunities for
much remedial and preventative work in the field of juvenile
delinquency.
Each new study add a new part to the entire
picture of delinquency, and it only by many of such studies
that the problem may be successfully solved.
^ Maxwell, pp. cit.
15
Gordon, op. cit.
CHAPTER III
SOURCES OF DATA AND METHODS OF PROCEDURE
Since the purpose of this study was to analyze a rep­
resentative number of cases of juvenile boy delinquency occuring within the city of Los Angeles, California, within
the year 1939-40, the first step undertaken was the selec­
tion of a reliable source of data.
Source of data.
The investigator was fortunate in
having a brother who was a juvenile officer in the Los
Angeles Police Department.
With his aid the Investigator
found that the police records of all juvenile delinquency
cases occurring within the city of Los Angeles were stored
in a large filing cabinet in the Juvenile Record Bureau of
the Police Department, with headquarters at the Georgia
Street Police Station.
It was soon determined that the reports which the in­
vestigator desired to examine were kept in the strictest
confidence by the Police Department.
This necessitated ob­
taining special permission to examine the files.
This per­
mission was gained, after going through the proper channels,
from the superintendent of the record bureau.
Difficulties encountered.
Upon gaining access to the
files, the investigator found himself faced with a number of
obstacles.
19
The first difficulty encountered in the analysis was
the discovery that the arrest reports were not the only re­
ports in the files.
There were also court petitions, letters
to and from various agencies, reports to the county probation
officer, and many others of various types.
This difficulty
was overcome by noting the name ffJuvenile Arrest Report” on
the desired reports and choosing only these during the analysis,
ignoring all others.
The second difficulty encountered was the discovery
that the reports were not kept in order chronologically, by
successive days, months, or years, i.e., the reports were
not filed one after the other as each successive arrest was
made.
Instead, the following method was used:
Whenever a
delinquent was arrested for the first time in his life in this
city an arrest report was filled out and numbered, being
given the number next following the last fresh case.
If this
juvenile was arrested again later, another arrest report
blank, exactly like the first, was filled out.
But, instead
of filing it after the last previous fresh case report, it
was clipped onto the back of the offender* s first arrest re­
port, even though the former offense may have occurred a month,
a year, or even ten years before.
This made it possible to
keep each individual*s entire juvenile delinquency history
in one folder, all stapled together.
Number of cases and time span to be considered.
The
20
reports on file in this record office extended back over a
period of approximately ten years, and included approxi­
mately 40,000 cases of juvenile delinquency.
It would have
been very enlightening, if feasible, to have analyzed all of
the arrest reports on file, but such would have required far
more time than the investigator had at his disposal.
Since
the
purpose of the investigation was to determine, if possible,
the
influence of the
more recentsocial
conditionson cer­
tain delinquency factors, it seemed advisable to limit the
study to cases which had occurred within the past year.
The
40,000 cases represented a time span of approximately ten
year, or roughly 4,000 cases per year.
Therefore, it was de­
cided to select, at random, 1,000 cases, or 25 per cent of
the
cases within the
past year. It was the belief that 25
per
cent, if careful
sampling was used, would represent a
very good cross-section of all of the cases occurring within
the year.
The method of sampling.
After the number of cases to
be considered was decided upon, attention was turned to a
method of sampling.
Within the file cabinet were a great
many manila folders, each containing a number of reports of
various kinds, as mentioned above.
No two folders contained
the same number of reports, some containing only one or two
reports, while others contained forty or fifty.
There seemed
to be no particular system of filing them, other than that
21
mentioned above.
To avoid this difficulty, it was decided
to first note the dates of the fresh arrest reports, i.e.,
the numbered reports, in each folder.
Then starting with
the latest ones, those filed in July, 1940, select approxi­
mately eighty cases for each month, back through June, May,
April, etc., to and including August, 1939.
Of course, this
system did not allow for the possibility of a greater fre­
quency of offenses during mne month than another, but it
seemed the best possible solution, in view of the absence of
a more definite system of filing.
To make certain that cases
were not chosen from one particular part of any month, usual­
ly alternated folders were chosen.
It is readily admitted that such a system is not the
most desirable one, but the fact that the reader must bear
in mind is that the method as used by the police department
was such as to prevent a more orderly method of selection.
The system of filing, as used by the police, served their
purpose very well, namely, to arrange the files in such a
way that when Johnny Jones is arrested for some offense, the
officer can call in to this central office, and ask if
Johnny has ever been arrested here before.
The secretary
looks in a file containing small cards with only the names
and numbers of each case.on them.
If Johnny has been arrest­
ed in this city before she finds his card with the number.
Then she goes to the large cabinet, looks up the folder with
this particular number on it, takes it out, and has Johnny's
entire juvenile record before her.
In other words, the re­
ports of the cases, are filed in such a way as to facilitate
the work or the police department, and not in such a way as
to facilitate the task of the research worker.
Factors to be considered.
was someY/hat as follo?7s:
selected.
The analysis of each case
First of all, a master table was
On this table the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc., to cor­
respond with each case, were written vertically down the left
side of the paper.
Horizontally, across the top, were writ­
ten the various factors to be checked: age, grade in school,
offense committed, ddscent of the offender, school reputation,
club activities, part-time employment, previous record, oc­
cupation of the father, marital condition of the parents, ec­
onomic condition of the parents or guardians, number of
brothers and sisters, and disposition of the case by the
arresting officers.
Some of these factors must be explained in more de­
tail.
The classifications of each factor were numerous, and
each one had quite a long description.
To conserve time,
and space on the master table, each classification vvas given
a number and this code was kept separately.
In this way it
was possible to write down on the master table only numbers,
except v/here the answer could be "yes" or "no," or any other
one word ansv/er.
Later, when the facts were transferred to
23
other tables, these numbers were translated into the appro­
priate classifications.
The charges, listed by code•number, for which the
offenders were arrested, included grand theft, petty theft,
burglary, robbery, rape, sodomy, 700 B WIG (This item was
always listed on the reports in this way, and is interpreted
as "anyone in danger of becoming delinquent", similar to va­
grancy on the part of an adult.
On the tables it is abbrevi­
ated as "Del. luv." for delinquent juvenile.), receiving
stolen property, 4^0 VC (this item was also always listed in
this manner, and referred to anyone who was responsible for
a motor vehicle accident involving the death or injury of
any person), 288 A (again, this item was always listed as
such, and referred to sex perversion--using the mouth on the
sexual organs of another person), and 250a VG (again, always
listed as. such, and referring to anyone operating an- auto­
mobile without a driver*s license).
It was assumed that the descent of each individual
would include many nationalities.
To simplify this, a purely
arbitrary method of grouping various nationalities was used.
Whenever it seemed advisable these grouping were made accord­
ing to geographical locations.
In other cases nationalities
were grouped according to social customs and language simil­
arities.
In this way the English, Scotch, Irish, and Welsh
nationalities were all classed as British.
Norweigians,
24
Swedes, Danes, and Finns were all classed as Baltic nation­
alities.
Chinese, Japanese, and Philippines were all classed
as Orientals.
Russians, Rumanians, Latvians, Lithuanians,
and Poles were all classed as Russians.
Germans, Austrians,
Swiss, Netherlanders, Hungarians, and Czeckoslavakians were
all listed as Germanic nationalities.
Italians,. Greeks,
Bulgarians, and Yugoslavians were all classed as Mediterran­
ean nationalities.
All of the descendants of countries ly­
ing around Jerusalem were classed as Jev/ish nationalities.
The Mexicans, Indians, Negroes, and French were each listed
by themselves.
As mentioned before, these groupings were
purely arbitrary, and in reality were made up, in the main,
of descendants of the people from England, Ireland, Scotland,
France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Mexico, the Netherlands,
China, Japan, and the Negroes of North America.
The question of school reputation was ansv/ered simply
as good, average, fair, poor, bad, and very bad.
This mat­
ter was not delved into further by the police, and it was not
the intention of the investigator to go.beyond these reports.
The question of part-time employment was answered simp­
ly by wyes,f or f,no.n
It was not the purpose of this study
to go into this matter any more thoroughly.
It was desired
only to knoY/ whether or not the offender did engage in some
form of part-time, or odd-job, employment.
Again, in the case of club activities, a Y/ide range of
25
clubs was anticipated.
To simplify these, they were grouped
according to the following main headings:
school clubs,
scouts, church clubs, Young Men*s Christian Association,
Reserve Officers Training Corp, All-Nations, boys clubs,
and miscellaneous clubs.
It was also necessary to simplify the anticpated
widespread variety of occupations of the father of the offend­
er.
So these were classified as unskilled laborer, semi­
skilled laborer, skilled laborer, clerical, business, exec­
utive, professional, retired, and relief.
In some cases it
was impossible to tell into exactly which group an occupation
should fall, but in general the divisions given were quite
definite.
Again, the question of previous record was answered
either as Myestf or t1no,”
A more careful analysis of the
previous record was not included in the purpose of this study,
nor could it have been accomplished with the data available.
It was also anticipated that the marital condition of
the parents would cover a wide range.
listed under the following titles:
Therefore, they were
normal— man and wife
living together, both parents dead, widowed mother, widow­
er father, parents divorced, parents separated but not divorced,
parents never married, and condition unknown.
Since it was neither the purpose of this study, nor
were the facts available from the reports, no attempt was
26
made to learn the actual financial conditions of the parents
or guardians heyond the following classifications:
good,
average, fair, poor, or relief.
The disposition of the case refers to the manner in
which it was disposed of by the arresting officers.
ways, listed by code, were as follows:
These
voluntary probation,
action suspended, detained in the juvenile hall, detained in
the county jail, released to the father, released to the
mother, released to the parents, released because of insuf­
ficient evidence, referred to some welfare agency, and trans­
ferred to some other city or state.
The number of brothers and sisters was given as a
combined number, since the only purpose here was to determine
the effect of the size of the family.
Distribution tables.
Following the checking of the
factors described above, smaller distribution tables were
made for the purpose of comparing such social factors as age,
grade in school, occupation of father, etc., with such de­
linquency factors as offense, previous record, and disposition
of the case.
Bach table was then carefully analyzed, unusual
relationships were noted, and the results interpreted into
meaningful conclusions and recommendations to various insti­
tutions such as schools, churches, etc., engaged in child
guidance.
The tables, and the detailed description of each,
age given in Chapters IV, V, and VI.
27
Summary.
In this chapter it was pointed out that
the data for the investigation was obtained from the Juvenile
Record Bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department,
The
sources of difficulties encountered and the manner in which
these difficulties were overcome were explained in detail.
It was pointed out that 1,000 cases were considered and
that these represented 25 per cent of the .cases filed from
August 1, 1939, to July 31, 1940.
Y/as carefully explained.
The method of sampling*
The classifications of each of
the factors to be considered were discussed in detail, and
a thorough description of the master table, as well as the
subsequent frequency tables, was given.
CHAPTER IV
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE OFFENSES COMMITTED
AND VARIOUS SOCIAL FACTORS
It is the purpose of this chapter to compare some
of the relationships between the different types of offenses
committed by the one-thousand boys and various social factors,
such as the age of the boy, his grade in school, the marital
condition and economic conditions of the parents, and the
like.
A study of the tables included for this chapter re­
veals some rather unusual and interesting facts which may
throw some light on the questions raised in connection with
juvenile delinquency.
The personal beliefs of the inves­
tigator concerning these relationships are not included in
Chapters IV, V, and VI, but are deferred and put Into Chapter
VII in much greater detail.
Age and offense.
The age range was found to be from
seven to eighteen years, as shown in Table I, with the most
frequent offenses committed by boys of ages fourteen to
seventeen, inclusive.
Offenses committed during these four
years comprised 81.6 per cent of the one-thousand cases
studied.
Of the younger boys, those seven to twelve years of
age, the vast majority were charged with merely being in
danger of becoming delinquent, and were classed as delinquent
29
TABLE I
DISTRIBUTION, BY AGE, OE 1,000 JUVENILE
DELINQUENCY OFFENSES
Age
Offense
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Del. juv.
1
3
2
13
4
11
22
39
55 107
99
1
357
2
7
5
10
20
37
48
46
30
1
206
2
1
3
8
29
62
42
46
6
6
17
21
33
34
19
21
1
8
5
7
8
3
1
A
1
4
1
1
8
2
3
6
2
5
3
5
4
4
Petty theft
Grand theft
Burglary
1
3
4
Robbery
Runaway
1
1
Battery
1
1
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
1
1
1
1
1
1
Narcotics
Sex perver.
1
1
29
11
2
3
2
2
1
1
2
6
9
28
19
166
4
1
Murder
Total
193
3
Unlie# dr.
Sodomy
Total
4-2
75 154 213 230 219
3
1000
30
juveniles for the want of a better term.
However, an inter­
esting fact is that one of the two seven-year-old boys,
three of the six eight-year-old boys, and four of the nine
nine-year-old boys were arrested for burglary, a; very serious
offense for boys no more than nine years of age.
Further study of Table I shows the following sur­
prising facts:
The one boy arrested for murder was only
eleven years of age.
This boy was found to have been re­
leased, however, due. to insufficient evidence.
All of the
six boys charged with sexual offenses were thirteen to fif­
teen years of age, inclusive.
One case of rape was committed
by a thirteen year old boy.
An analysis of each offense committed shows that
the boys most frequently in danger of becoming delinquent
were those of ages sixteen and seventeen.
Petty theft v/as
committed most frequently by the fifteen and sixteen-yearold boys.
Grand theft was committed far more frequently
by fifteen-year-old boys than by boys of any other age.
Burglary was committed most frequently by boys of ages four­
teen and fifteen.
Robbery was about equally divided between
the fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen-year-old boys.
Runaway cases were quite scattered among all the age groups,
occuring a little more frequently among the fourteen and sixteen-year-old boys.
Battery eases also were quite scattered,
although confined to boys of ages eleven to seventeen.
The
31
other cases--rape, receiving stolen property, involvement
in vehicular accidents, peddling or using narcotics, driv­
ing without a license, and sex offenses— were fairly scatter­
ed over the various age groups, but confined, generally, to
the older boys of thirteen years or older.
All of the nar­
cotics offenses were committed by seventeen year old boys.
Offense and the grade in school of the offender.
A brief survey of Table II shows one unusual fact immediate­
ly.
Of the one-thousand cases studied, 11..5 per cent of the
boys were not even in school.
Several of these were indicated
on the reports as high school graduates, but the vast major­
ity were not.
Grades eight, nine, ten, and eleven were the highest
attainment of 62.7 per cent' of the boys, with a few more
in grades nine and ten than in the other two.
This fact,
when compared with the,tabulations of Table I, seems to
indicate that the boys were of quite normal scholastic
advancement.
In fact, whereas Table I shows only.three boys
eighteen years of age, Table II shows forty-five boys in
the twelfth grade.
This also would seem to indicate that
a large per-centage of these boys were of at least average
intelligence.
Table I also reveals that 106 boys were of ages ten
or less, while Table II shows only fifty-four boys in grades
four or less.
32
TABLE II
DISTRIBUTION, BY SCHOOL GRADE, OF 1,000
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY OFFENSES
Grade in school
Offense
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
5 14
9 16 31
44
53
61
41
18
357
2
5
9
8 20
29
52
32
31
8
206
1
2
3
T
26
41
54
30
12
193
9
9 17 17
32
24
20
12
1
166
2
5
6
4
3
1
29
2
1
1
3
1
1
1
8
2
1
1
6
2
5
None
1
2
3
Del. juv.
5S
1
6
Petty theft
'8
2
Grand theft
16
1
Burglary
18
3
Robbery
8
Runaway
1
Battery
4
4
1
5
6
2
3
1
1
11
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
1
Narcotics
1
Sex perver.
1
Unlic. dr.
1
2
3
Sodomy
1
1
2
1
1
1
Murder
Total
1
1
2
2
1
1
5
1
4
3
1
1
115
4
1 12 11 30 34 45 SO 13S 186 177 126
45
1000
33
Disregarding the number of boys not in school, it
is apparent that boys most frequently in danger of becoming
delinquent were in grades nine and ten, followed closely
by those in grades eight, eleven, and seven, in that order.
Grand theft was committed most frequently by boys in the
tenth grade, while petty theft was committed most fequently
by those in the ninth grade.
Burglary was committed most
frequently by boys in the eighth grade, robbery most fre­
quently by boys in the ninth grade, and all of the other
offenses were scattered over several age groups, but gener­
ally, as in Table I, confined to boys in the higher grade
levels.
It is interesting to note that while all of the boys
arrested on narcotics charges were seventeen years of age,
one was not in school, possibly a graduate, two were in
grades eleven and twelve, while the other one was only in
grade seven.
This is one of the few instances in which the
available facts seem to indicate that the boy was retarded
in school, and in this case it seems to have been a retarda­
tion of about four years inasmuch as a seventeen year old
person would most likely normally be in the eleventh grade.
Offense and descent of the offender.
A glance at
Table III reveals the fact that, as one would naturally ex­
pect, the greatest percentage of offenders were of British
descent.
This group was followed closely by those of Mexican
34
TABLE III
DISTRIBUTION, BY DESCENT, OF 1,000 JUVENILE
DELINQUENCY OFFENSES
Descent
Offense
Bal
GriB r . tic. Med. ent. G-er. Fr. Russ. Jew Mex. Ind. Neg. Un. Tot.
Del. juv.
114
8
8
1
37
16
5
8
66
Petty theft 62
6
3
10
20
7
1
2
53
Grand theft 68
3
8
2
16
3
2
55
Burglary
2
11
1
15
6
1
2
1
46
Robbery
7
Runaway
4
Battery
2
1
1
1
Rape
2
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
2
Narcotics
2
Sex perver.
3
48
357
29
13
206
18
16
193
54
18
10
166
8
7
3
29
2
11
1
8
2
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
Murder
19
32
15
95
34-
4
1
4
1
3
2
1
312
5
5
1
Sodomy
6
1
1
Unlic. dr.
Total
2
40
6
1
8
14
249
8
118
96 1000
35
descent, and these two groups are then followed by offenders
of Negroid descent.
The investigator could find no figures indicating the
proportion of the population of Los Angeles which was dis­
tinctly British or other nationalities.
However, the 1930
federal census, which was the last federal census available
at the time the study was made, shows that 7.8 per cent of
the population of the city were Mexicans, and the present
study shows more than three times this proportion, or 24.9
per cent, as being Mexicans.
Also the 1930 census reported 3*1 per cent of the
city1s population as Negroes, whereas 11.8 per cent, or
nearly four times the proportion for the city, of the onethousand boys were Negroes.
Possibly some of the other nationalities would show
a larger percentage of boys in this study than is normal for
the percentage of descendants of that nationality in the city,
but such figures were not available.
The two cases above
are very outstanding and offer definite possibilities for
improved racial adjustments.
Of the one-thousand cases studied, only fifteen were
of Oriental descent.
This small amount might seem to be very
significant, but actually the percentage of Orientals living
in Los Angeles, according to the 1930 census, the latest avail­
able, was 1.9 per cent.
Even so, possibly the Oriental
36
children receive some kind of training that could he very
profitably used by people of other nationalities.
Of further
significance in the case of the Orientals, is the fact that
of the fifteen juveniles, ten were arrested on the charge of
petty theft.
Another fact worthy of noting is that only eight of
the one-thousand offenders were Indians, and six of these
were charged merely with being in danger of becoming delin­
quent.
Again, this seems a very small percentage, but actual­
ly only 0.05 per cent of the population of Los Angeles was
Indians, by the 1930 census.
A more careful analysis of Table III reveals that only
on charges of rape, unlicensed driving, sodomy, and murder
were boys of other descents arrested more frequently than the
boys of British, Mexican, and Negro* . and these offenses
occurred so infrequently that a fair comparison can hardly be
made.
A check
across the table in the other direction
shows that more than one third of the boys of British des­
cent were arrested on the delinquent juvenile charge.
The
same holds true for boys of Baltic descent, while almost
one-third of the boys who descended from nationalities bor­
dering the Mediterranean Sea committed burglary.
The Ger­
manic boys leaned mostly toward juvenile vagrancy, as did
boys of all the remaining nationalities.
37
The offense committed and the school reputation of
the offender.
Table IV shows the results tabulated from a
question of the report which was not carried to completion
thoroughly enough to give very reliable results.
As ex­
plained in a previous chapter, the officer making the arrest
merely telephoned the school attended by the juvenile and asked
the principal what kind of a reputation the particular boy
had.
The officer then classified the result as excellent,
good, average, fair, poor, bad, or very bad.
It may be seen at a glance that a good many officers
did not even bother to answer this item, for it will be noted
that the school reputation of 43.2 per cent of the offenders
was not listed on the arrest reports, whereas only 11.5 per
cent, as shown in Table II, were not in school.
However, it
will be seen that of the 56.8 per cent whose reputations
were obtained, only 1.6 per cent
had what the school authori­
ties termed a bad or very bad reputation.
A few more, 7.5
per cent, had a poor reputation, but the most astounding
fact is that 47.7 per cent of all of the boys (or approxi­
mately 84 per cent of the boys whose reputations were inves­
tigated) enjoyed what their teachers and principal termed a
fair, good, and even an excellent reputation.
This assured­
ly is not the result one would expect for a group of boys who
are having to be investigated by the juvenile officers of the
city.
It hardly makes sense that a boy would have a good
38
TABLE IV
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000'JUVENILE OFFENSES
ACCORDING TO SCHOOL REPUTATION
School reputation
Offense
Unk. V.-bad Bad Poor Fair Ave. Good Excell. Total
Del. juv.
187
2
31
70
17
45
3
16
73
18
35
2
8
53
10
29
15
47
7
34
166
3
6
1
29
- 2
3
1
2
1
Petty theft
61
Grand theft
81
Burglary
63
Robbery
18
Runaway
c
s
Battery
2
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
.involved in
accidents
3
3
2
Narcotics
2
1
Sex perver.
1
3
Unlic. dr.
1
1
Sodomy
2
4
1
1
2
1
193
11
2
8
1
6
5
5
1
4
4
1
3
2
1
1
432
357
206
2
3
Murder
Total
2
3
6
10
75
268
56
150
3
1000
39
reputation in school and cause so much trouble out of school
that the juvenile authorities would have to take him in
charge.
The offense committed and the club activities of the
offender.
Even a passing glance at Table V reveals the most
significant fact, that 86.5 per cent of all the offenders
belonged to no club whatsoever.
Of the remaining, the great­
est number belonged to the Boy Scouts of America or to the
Sea Scouts, the next to some type of school club, and the
remainder to various other clubs.
It will be noted that one-hundred per cent of the
boys committing the three offenses of driving without a
license, sodomy, and murder belonged to no club, while all
except one who committed each of the offenses of runaway,
rape, receiving stolen property, and sexual perversion be­
longed to no club.
Furthermore, no boy belonging to the
Reserve Officers Training Corp or to a church club was ar­
rested on the charge of being in danger of becoming delin­
quent, or on any other charge other than petty theft, burglary,
and sexual perversion.
Of the four most frequently committed offenses, 90.5
per cent of the delinquent juveniles belonged to no club,
81.6 per cent of the boys committing petty theft belonged to
no club, 91.2 per cent of the boys arrested for grand theft
belonged to no club, and 80.7 per cent of those committing
40
TABLE V
DISTRIBUTION, BY CLUB ACTIVITIES, OF 1,000
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY OFFENSES
Clubs
Offenses
Scouts Church YMCA ROTC All-Nat Boys Sch Misc None Tota!
Del. juv.
7
2
1
7
8
323
357
4
1
3
8
8
168
206
2
1
2
3
6
176
193
2
1
11
135
166
25
29
1
10
11
1
5
8
5
6
4
5
3
5
2
4
3
4
Unlic. dr.
3
3
Sodomy
2
2
Murder
1
1
863
1000
9
Petty theft
12
Grand theft
3
Burglary
12
2
1
Robbery
2
2
1
2
1
Runaway
Battery
1
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
1
Narcotics
2
1
1
Sex perver.
Total
1
1
1
40
4
17
2
7
8
21
36
41
burglary belonged to no club,
Thus, it can easily be seen
that even for offenses where the frequency is sufficiently
large for a safe check, a very small minority belonged to
clubs of any sort.
Offense committed and the part-time employment of
the offender.
The data tabulated in Table VI gives results
which are as evident as were the results of Table V.
Here
again, we see that a vast majority, 84-7 per cent, of the
one-thousand boys had no work whatsoever by which they might
earn a little spending money.
It will be noted that one-hundred per cent of the
boys arrested for runaway, for involvement in vehicular ac­
cidents, for sex perversion, for unlicensed driving, for
sodomy, and for murder were employed at no odd jobs, or steady
employment during their otherwise leisure time.
Again, all
but one boy arrested for battery, rape, receiving stolen
property, and narcotics were not employed in any way.
Of the five most frequently committed offenses, 89.6
per cent of the delinquent juveniles, 76.2 per cent of the
boys arrested for petty theft, 79.8 per cent of those com­
mitting grand theft, 91.0 per cent of the burglars, and 65.5
per cent of the robbers had no work to occupy their leisure
time.
Such a condition certainly indicates that much more
juvenile delinquency in the cities could be prevented if the
parents and other associates of the boys would see to it
42
TABLE VI
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENSES
ACCORDING- TO PART TIME-EMPLOYMENT
Part-time employment
Yes
No
Total
Del. juv.
37
320
357
Petty theft
48
158
206
G-rand theft
39
154
193
Burglary
15
151
166
Robbery
10
19
29
11
11
Offense
Runaway
Battery
1
7
8
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
InvolYed in
accidents
1
5
6
1
4
5
5
5
Narcotics
1
3
4
Sex perver.
4
4
Unlic. dr.
3
3
Sodomy
2
2
Murder
1
1
&47
1000
Total
153
43
that the hoys had some form of odd job employment whereby
they might earn at least a few dimes per week.
The offense committed and the previous record of the
offender.
As explained in a previous chapter, no attempt
was made by this study to determine the nature of the previ­
ous record that a delinquent boy might have.
This investi­
gation determined merely ¥rtiether or not the boy had been ar­
rested before on any juvenile charge.
One might suppose that at least 50 per cent of the
boys would have had previous juvenile records, but a study
of Table VII shows that 67-7 per cent of them had never been
arrested before for any offense.
Of the five most frequently committed offenses, there
seems to have been no great variation in the percentage of
boys who had had previous records.
Thirty-three and one-tenth
per cent of those in danger of becoming delinquent, 29.1 per
cent of those committing petty theft, 38.9 Per cent of those
committing grand theft, 30.1 per cent of those accused of
burglary, and 41.4 per cent of the boys arrested for robbery
had had previous records.
So, about all that may be said
is that petty theft seemed to attract the beginners more than
did any of the four other leading offenses, while robbery
and grand theft seem to have grown on the boys to such an
extent that they were more apt, then, to continue committing
crimes.
All five boys who were arrested for receiving stolen
44
TABLE VII
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENSES
ACCORDING TO PREVIOUS ARRESTS
Previous arrest
Offense
Yes
No
Del. juv.
lid
239
357
Petty theft
60
146
206
Grand theft
75
118
193
Burglary
50
116
166
Robbery
12
17
29
Runaway
2
9
11
Battery
1
7
8
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
1
5
6
5
5
1
4
5
Narcotics
1
3
4
Sex perver.
1
3
4
Unlic. dr.
1
2
3
Sodomy
2
2
Murder
1
1
677
1000
Total
323
Total
45
property were novices in crime, as were the boys arrested
for sodomy and for murder.
Very nearly all of the boys ar­
rested on charges of runaway, battery, rape, involvement in
vehicular accidents, narcotics, sexual perversion, and un­
licensed driving had never been arrested before.
The offense committed and the occupation of the
father of the offender.
Too large a number, 28.3 par cent
of the total, as shown by Table VIII, of the fathers*
cupations were not listed on the reports studied.
oc­
This may
have been due to a number of reasons including neglect .on
the part of the juvenile officer, or the father being dead, or
not living with the boy for various other reasons.
However,
of those listed, the greatest percentages were the unskilled
and semi-skilled laborers.
These two occupations, it should
be remembered, were representative of all types of labor which
required very little or no preparation for the job.
Unskil­
led laborers comprised 25 . 8 per cent of the fathers, while
19.6 per cent were only semi-skilled.
This makes a total
of 45*5 per cent, or nearly half, of all of the fathers
employed on jobs requiring little, or no, education or other
preparation.
A surprising fact is the very low percentage of
fathers, 1.5 per cent, who were on relief.
Contrary to pop­
ular belief, it apparently is not the children of families
on relief who fill our juvenile courts.
46
TABLE V I I I
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENSES
ACCORDING TO THE OCCUPATION OF THE
FATHER OF THE OFFENDER
Occupation of father
Offense
Unsk Semi Skil
lab lhb lab Cler
Bus
Exec
Prof
Not
Ret Rel list Total
Del. juv.
84
68
30
18
18
6
8
9
3
113
357
Petty theft
58
41
10
15
11
1
5
3
3
59
206
Grand theft
46
41
20
9
13
3
5
7
6
43
193
Burglary
52
28
17
6
12
3
2
2
44
166
Robbery
9
9
4
1
2
4
29
Runaway
3
2
5
11
Battery
1
2
2
8
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
1
4
6
1
Narcotics
1
Sex perver.
1
Sodomy
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
2
Unlic. dr.
1
1
5
1
1
5
3
4
1
4
2
3
2
1
Murder
Total
2
1
258
196
85
51
57
10
23
22
15
1
283 1000
47
The lowest percentage of all comes from homes where
the father is an executive of some kind.
Boys whose fathers
held executive positions apparently were better trained than
the sons of men in any other occupational group.
It seems strange that of all boys in danger of becom­
ing delinquent, a larger proportion of boys under any one oc­
cupational group were the sons of executives, where 60.0 per
cent
were arrested on this charge.
Only 20.0 per cent of
the sons of men on relief were arrested on this charge.
Approximately 30 per cent of the sons of men holding
clerical positions were arrested for petty theft, while only
10 per cent of the sons of executives were arrested on the
same charge.
Forty per cent of the boys whose fathers were on re­
lief were arrested for grand theft, while only 17*6 per cent
of the sons of clerks were arrested on this charge.
Twenty-three per cent of the sons of skilled laborers
committed burglary, while only 9*1 per cent of boys whose
fathers were retired committed this offense.
The offense committed and the marital condition of
the parents of the offender.
Table IX shows that almost one-
half, actually 49.5 per cent, of all of the offenders came
from normal homes, i.e., homes where the father and mother
were living together.
Of the remainder, the marital condition
of 2.6 per cent of the parents was not listed on the reports;
us
TABLE IX
DISTRIBUTION OE 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENSES
ACCORDING TO THE MARITAL CONDITION OF
THE PARENTS OF THE OFFENDER
Marital condition of parents
Offense
Both Wid.
W i d fr.
Norm* dead mother father
Del juv.
Div* Separ. Unwed Unk. Total
160
20
52
27
45
41
12
357
Petty theft 108
9
36
5
29
18
1
206
Grand theft 100
5
19
15
33
17
4
193
Burglary
89
3
20
5
23
18
7
166
Robbery
16
1
3
3
6
Runaway
4
2
Battery
4
1
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
2
1
1
1
3
2
Narcotics
1
2
Sex perver.
3
1
4
Unlic. dr.
2
1
3
Sodomy
2
1
29
1
3
2
8
1
2
3
6
5
5
1
4
1
4 95
11
2
Murder
Total
1
1
38
139
1
59
145
97
1
26
1000
49
13.9 per cent came from homes in which the father was dead
and the child was living with his mother; 14.5 per cent were
sons of divorced parents; 9.7 per cent v/ere sons of parents
who were separated, "but not divorced; 5.9 per cent were liv­
ing in homes in which the mother was dead and the father was
keeping the home; 3*8 per cent were "boys whose parents were
both dead; and in one cases the boy was born out of wedlock.
Thus, in 50.5 per cent of all of the cases the boys
came from broken homes, and 15.6 per cent of the total number
came from homes which v/ere broken by divorce or separation.
Or, in other words, nearly one-third of all of the homes we re
broken by divorce and separation.
In studying the proportion of boys from each type
of home who committed various crimes, it may be shown that,
52.6 per cent of boys whose parents were both dead were ar­
rested on the charge of being in danger of becoming delin­
quent, while only 31 per cent of the sons of divorced parents
were arrested on this charge.
Twenty-five and nine-tehths per cent of the boys
whose mothers v/ere dead committed petty theft, while only
8.5 per cent of the boys whose fathers v/ere dead committed
this offense.
A fraction more than 25 per cent of the boys whose
fathers were dead committed grand theft, while only 13.1 per
cent of the boys whose parents were both dead committed this
50
same offense.
Burglary was committed By 22.6 per cent of the sons
of normal parents, and only by 7*9 per cent of the boys 'whose
parents were both dead.
Robbery was committed by only 5*1 per cent of the
sons of widower fathers, and even lower percentages of the
sons of parents in other conditions.
it is strange that there were no cases among the'
thirty-eight whose parents were both dead where the boy was
arrested for runaway, battery, rape, receiving stolen proper­
ty, involvement in accidents, narcotics, unlicensed driving,
murder, or sex offenses.
Boys who committed these crimes
came generally from normal homes, homes in which the father
or the mother was dead,and homes where the parents were di­
vorced.
It is also very strange that five out of the six sex
offenses should be committed by boys from normal homes.
The offense committed and. the economic condition of
the parents or guardians of the offender.
Table X does
not give a very accurate check on the actual monetary returns
of each family inasmuch as no attempt was made to determine
the actual wages earned by the wage earner of each family.
As may be seen, in 132 cases no attempt was even made to de­
termine the economic condition of the home.
Of the remaining
868 cases reported, Table X shows that in 112 cases the parents
51
TABLE X
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENSES
ACCORDING TO THE ECONOMIC CONDITION
OF THE PARENTS OF THE OFFENDER
Economic condition of parents
Offense
Relief
Poor
Fair
Average
Good
Unlisted
Total
Del. juv.
36
72
108
46
34
61
357
Petty theft
24
36
79
28
19
18
206
Grand theft
23
23
67
30
27
23
193
Burglary
23
36
48
19
20
18
166
5
13
3
5
3
29
3
1
1
5
11
1
3
Robbery
Runaway
1
Battery
1
Rape
Rec. stolen
property
Involved in
accidents
1
Narcotics
1
Sex perver.
Unlic. dr.
1
2
1
1
6
1
1
1
2
5
2
1
Total
1
I
2
5
1
1
3
1
3
2
1
1
112
4
4
2
1
Sodomy
Murder
8
3
1
186
324
132
114
132
1000
52
or guardians were on relief; in 186 cases the condition was
described as poor; in 324 cases conditions were fair; in 132
cases conditions were average; and in 114 cases conditions
were described as good.
Just where the dividing line between
poor and fair, and between fair and average, lay, was not
explained.
However, it may easily be shown t h a t .24.6 per cent
of the cases came from homes where the economic condition
was called average or better, and in 62.2 per cent of the
cases the conditions were reported as no better than fair, with
29.8 per cent being in definitely poor circumstances, finan­
cially.
One rather outstanding fact is that three of the four
boys arrested for sex perversion were from homes where the
economic condition was good, while the two who v/ere arrested
for sodomy came from homes where the condition was at least
fair.
As one might expect, four out of the six cases of
runav/ay came from homes in which the economic condition,
when listed at all, was poor.
Another strange fact is that none of the twenty-nine
boys arrested for robbery came from |iomes where the family
v/as on relief.
The table shows that the danger of becoming delin­
quent v/as the most frequent cause of arrest, and this v/as
followed in order by petty theft, grand theft, burglary, and
53
robbery— these being the five most frequently committed offenses.
But the table also shows that in the case of boys
from homes in good .economical condition the orderiis not the
same as that for the totals.
In this case delinquent juvenile
is followed, in order, by grand theft, burglary, petty theft,
and robbery.
Apparently petty theft is not so appealing to
these boys from homes in which the family is much more likely
to provide the boys with more spending money.
In the case of boys from poor homes it may be shown
that burglary and petty theft are committed much more fre­
quently than grand theft, while in the case of boys shown to
be from homes on relief, the frequency with which each of the
three offenses, grand theft, petty theft, and burglary,
was committed was very nearly the same.
The number of brothers and sisters of the offender
and the offense committed.
The data tabulated in Table XI
probably have greater significance than any other item of
information gained in this investigation.
One glance is
sufficient to show that beyond any question of doubt one of
the greatest factors contributing to the delinquency of these
boys is the small size of their families.
In a total of 791
cases of the one-thousand studied there v/ere no more than
five children in each family, and in a total of 538 cases,
or more than fifty per cent, there were no more than three
children in each family.
In an alarming number of cases,
54
TABLE XI
A COMPARISON OF THE NUMBER OF BROTHERS AND
SISTERS OF, AND THE OFFENSES OF,
1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Number of brothers and sisters
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
74
69
55
51
39
17
26
5
10
3
1
1
Petty theft 18
48
43
31
17
15
13
7
4
2
2
G-rand theft 34
37
30
32
21
18
6
5
5
2
Burglary
17
35
29
27
16
17
11
5
3
2
7
9
3
5
2
1
2
2
5
1
1
1
1
4
1
2
2
Offense
Del juv.
Robbery
Runaway
Battery
1
Rape
Rec. stolen
R property
Involved in
accidents
1
1
Narcotics
Sex perver.
Murder
Total
1
2
1
1
2
1
5
357
2
4
206
1
1
1
193
1
1
2
166
29
1
11
8
1
6
1
5
1
1
3
Unlic. dr.
Sodomy
3
12 Unh Total
1
5
2
4
1
4
1
3
1
1
1
1
157 206 175 152 101
2
71
59
22
23
9
5
5
2
13 1000
55
15*7 per cent of the total, the delinquent was the only
child in the family.
Truly large families contributed a very small per­
centage of the total number of boys arrested.
Only twenty-
one of the one-thousand boys came from homes where there
were ten or more children in the family, and only 209 came
from families where the number of children was greater than
five.
However, the picture does not look so black when
one considers the fact!that the 1930 federal census showed
the average family size for the city of Los Angeles to be
2.57, with 85.2 per cent of the families having five or less
in the family.
There were no cases of battery, receiving stolen
property, involvement in accidents, narcotics, sex perversion,
unlicensed driving, or murder committed by boys from families
having seven or more children.
There were, furthermore, only
two cases of robbery, one of runaway, one of rape, and one
of sodomy committed by boys from families of this size.
One peculiar fact shown is that not one of the eleven
cases of runaway v/as an only child.
Another strange fact is that grand theft v/as so much
more popular for boys who were the only child than was either
petty theft or burglary.
In Table X it v/as shown that most of the sexual of­
fenses were committed by boys from homes in good financial
56
condition.
How, in Table XI, we see that about the same
proportion, or four out of six cases, were committed by boys
who, in each case; were the only child in the family.
Summary.
A brief surfey of Chapter IV shows the
following important facts:
The age range of the boys was found to be from seven
to eighteen years, inclusive, with the most frequent offenses
committed by boys fourteen to seventeen j^ears of age, inclus­
ive.Boys of this age comprised 81.6 per cent of the total
number of cases.
The most serious offenses were, with few
exceptions, committed by boys in the upper half of the age
range.
It was shown that 11.5 per cent of the boys v/ere not
attending school.
Of those who were in school the greatest
proportion of offenders were in grades eight, nine, ten,
and eleven, with a few more in nine and ten, than in the
other two.
The facts seem to indicate that the boys were of at
least average scholastic advancement, and some definitely
were accelerated in school.
Only one case was definitely
retarded as far as could be ascertained from the data.
The most serious crimes were most frequently committed
by boys in the ninth and tenth grades.
The majority of the boys were descended from English
speaking people.
Next, in point of frequency, were the boys
57
of Mexican descent, and then those of Negro descent.
There was a much greater proportion of Mexicans and
Negroes in the study than is true for the city.
The per­
centage of Mexicans in the study was more than three times
the percentage of Mexicans in the total population of the city,
and the percentage of Negroes in the study was nearly four
times the percentage of Negroes in the population of the
city.
The tabulations on school reputations cannot "be ex­
tremely reliable since 43*2 per cent of the cases did not
even have listed the school reputation, and the results
which were obtained were very inconsistent.
There were very
few boys with either bad or poor reputations, and over 150
with good or excellent reputations.
By far the greast majority, £6.5 per cent, belonged
to no clubs of any sort.
Of those who did belong, the most
frequent membership was in the Boy Scouts with school clubs
second.
The vast majority, 84*7 per cent, also had no odd-job
employment,, and the greatest proportion of those not working
committed burglary.
Just about two-thirds, 67.7 per cent, of the boys had
no previous juvenile records.
A little more than one-fourth, 28.3 per cent, of the
fathers’ occupations were not listed on the arrest reports.
5S
Almost half, 45-5 per cent, of the fathers were no better
than semi-skilled laborers.
There were very few fathers on
relief, and least of all those listed were the sons of men
holding executive positions.
The study of the marital conditions of the parents of
the offenders showed that 49*5 per cent of the boys came
from homes where the father and mother lived together nor­
mally, and 50.5 per cent came from broken homes.
One-third
of the broken homes were broken by divorce or separation.
The lowest proportion of serious crimes were com­
mitted by boys whose parents w.ere both dead.
The majority of sexual offenses were committed by
boys from normal homes.
Homes in average economic conditions or better
comprised 24.6 per cent of the total, while 62.2 per cent
were fair or worse, with 29.8 per cent definitely poor.
Boys who ran away from homes v/ere most frequently
from poor homes, and boys committing sexual offenses were
most frequently from homes in good economical conditions.
Boys committing robbery were most frequently from homes on
relief.
The greatest majority of the boys were from truly
small families, although the families v/ere large as compared
witj£ the average sized family in the city of Los Angeles.
Families of five or less comprised 53.8 per cent of the total,
59
and in 15.7 per cent of the cases the hoy was an only child.
No cases of runaway were recorded for hoys who had
no brothers nor sisters.
Grand theft was committed most
frequently hy the lone child, and the majority of sexual of­
fenses were committed hy hoys who had no brothers nor sisters.
CHAPTER V
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF THE
OFFENDER AND VARIOUS SOCIAL FACTORS
It frequently happens that persons who commit certain
crimes will repeat them or commit other crimes later, while
others will he taught such a lesson that they will not dip
into crime again.
There are various factors which probably
influence an offender to such an extent that he does or
does not again break the laws of his country or city.
Chap­
ter V is devoted to a study of the effect of some of these
factors on the tendency of the thousand boys to reappear
in juvenile court after a previous appearance.
The previous record and the age of the offender.
Table XII shows that approximately one-third of all the boys
had been arrested previously.
The eight boys who were seven
and eight years of age had no previous record.
One-third
of the nine-year-old boys had previous records with the
police.
After the ,age of nine the frequency of arrest increase©-,
in general, with the increase in the age of the boys.
Only
one-seventh of the ten-year-old boys had been previously
arrested.
Previous arrests are then reported for approximate­
ly one-fifth of the eleven-year-olds, a little more than
one-fourth of the twelve-year-olds, a little more than onefourth of the thirteen-year-olds, more than one-third of the
61
TABLE XII
A COMPARISON OF THE AGE AND PREVIOUS
RECORD OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Age
Yes
No
Total
7
2
2
8
6
6
9
3
6
9
10
X
2x
28
11
X
15
19
12
11
31
X2
13
22
53
75
IX
59
95
15X
15
71
1X2
213
16
35
1X5
230
17
6x
155
219
IB
Total
3
323
677
3
1000
62
fourteen-year-olds,
just one-third of the fifteen-year-
olds, a little more than one-third of the sixteen-yearolds, and a little less than one-third of the seventeenyear-olds.
The greatest percentage was among the fourteen-
year-old hoys where fifty-nine out of 154, or 38.3 per cent,
had a previous record.
This age group wasfollowed closely
hy the sixteen-year-old group where eighty-five out of 230,
or 37.0 per cent, had previous records.
The previous record and the school grade of the offend­
er.
Tahle XIII shows a condition in which the frequency of
repetition is similar to that shown by Tahle XII.
In gen­
eral, the frequency of repetition of offenses increases
proportionately as the rise in grade level, up to about the
tenth grade.
The one first grader had no previous record and only
one of the twelve second graders had previously been arrested.
The third graders show a sharp rise with three of eleven
having been arrested previously.
The frequency among fourth
graders drops back to six out of thirty, or one-fifth.
From that point the frequency climbs quite steadily until
the ninth grade where seventy-one out of 166, or 38.2 per
cent had previous records.
The boys not attending school show the highest fre­
quency of previous arrests of all.
In this case forty-
seven out of 115, or 40.9 per cent had previous arrests.
63
TABLE XIII
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS RECORD
AND THE GRADE IN SCHOOL OF
1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Grade
Not attending
Yes
No
Total
47
68
115
1
1
1
2
1
11
12
3
3
8
11
4
.6
24
30
5
7
27
34
6
13
32
45
7
28
52
80
8
43
95
138
9
71
115;
186
10
58
119
177
11
34
92
126
12
12
33
45
323
677
1000
Total
64
The previous record and the school reputation of the
offender.
Tahle XIV shows some rather inconsistent results.
Of the 432 hoys whose school reputation v/as not reported,
138, or 31-9 per cent, had heen arrested previously.
Of
the six whose reputations were listed as very had, 2, or
33.3 per cent had previous records, while of the three with
excellent reputations two, or 66.6 percent had previous
records.
On the other hand, of the ten hoys whose reputa­
tions v/ere
given as had, five,
vious record, while
of the 150
or 50 per cent, had a pre­
with good reputations, only
thirty-nine, or 26.0 per cent had previous records.
Of the
seventy-five with poor reputations, twenty-eight, or 37.3
per cent had previous records, and 109 out of 3249 or 33.6
per cent, of those whose reputations v/ere average had pre­
vious records.
Thus, the most persistent repeaters had excellent
reputations in school, and these were followed, in order,
by those whose reputations were had, poor, average, very
had, and good.
The
offender.
previous record and
the cluh activities of the
Tahle XV shows that
of the hoys who hadprevious
records, the greatest proportion of the total number v/as
from those who belonged to a church cluh.
In this case
two out of four, or 50 percent, had heen arrested before.
Next in order were hoys belonging to the Y.M.G.A. where
65
TABU] XIV
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS RECORD
AND SCHOOL REPUTATION OF 1,000
JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Reputation
Yes
No
Total
Not listed
13 B
294
432
Very bad
2
4
6
Bad
5
5
10
28
47
75
109
215
324
39
111
150
2
1
3
323
677
1000
Poor
Average
G-ood
Excellent
Total
66
TABLE XV
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS RECORD
AND THE CLUB AFFILIATION OF
1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Total
Yes
No
Scouts
13
27
40
Church
2
2
4
Y.M.C.A.
7
10
17
2
2
•
o
H3
•
O
•
•
Club
All-Nations
2
5
7
Boys Club
3
3
8
School
4
17
21
11
23
36
None
281
384
865
Total
323
677
1000
Miscell.
67
seven out of seventeen, or 4-1,2 per cent, had previous records;
boys belonging to Boys* clubs where three out of eight, or
37.5 per cent had previous records; boys belonging to the
scouts where thirteen out of forty, or 32.5 per cent had
previous records; those belonging to no clubs where 281 out
of 865, or 32,5 per cent, had previous records; those belong­
ing to miscellaneous clubs, where eleven out of thirty-six,
or 30.7 per cent, had previous records; those belonging to
the All-Nations club, where two out of seven, or 28,6 per
cent, had previous records; and lastly, those belonging to
school clubs, where four out of twenty-one, or 19.1 per
cent had been arrested previously.
Thus, it seems that, of the types of clubs listed,
the school clubs were more beneficial to the boys from the
standpoint of j.uvenile readjustment than any of the other
clubs.
It is interesting to note that while 32.3 per cent
of all the one-thousand boys had previous records, practi­
cally the same percentage, namely 32.5 per cent, of those
belonging to no clubs had previous records.
Percentages of
members in only two definite types of clubs, the school
clubs, and the All-Nations club, fell below this mark of
32.5 per cnet.
The previous record and the descent of the offender.
The percentages of the boys who had previous records, arranged
in order from the highest to the lowest, together with their
descent, as shown in Table XVI, are as follows:
first, boys
of Baltic descent-eight out of nineteen, or 42.1 per cent;
second--boys of Mexican descent— ninety-five out of 249,
or 38.2 per cent; third, boys of Russian descent-three out
of eight, or 37.5 per cent; fourth, boys of Germanic des­
cent— thirty-two out of ninety-five, or 33.7 per cent; fifth
boys of Negroid descent— thirty-seven out of 118, or 31.4
per cent; sixth, boys of British descent— ninety-seven out
of 312, or 31.1 per cent; seventh, boys of unlisted descenttwenty-eight out of ninety-six, or 29.2 per cent; eighth,
boys of Jewish descent-four out of fourteen, or 28.6 per
cent; ninth, boys of French descent— eight out of thirtyfour, or 23.5 per cent; tenth, boys of Mediterranean descent
seven out of thirty-two, or 21.9 per cent; eleventh, boys of
Oriental descent— three out of fifteen, or 20.0 per cent;
and twelfth, boys of Indian descent; one of eight, or 12.5
per cent.
Thus, the percentage range is quite large, from 42.1
per cent for the sons of Danes, Norweigians, Swedes, Finns,
and the like, to 12.5 per cent for indian boys.
Here again,
may be seen the tendency on the part of the Oriental and
Indian boys to have had no previous record as being greater
than the tendency on the part of soms of men and women of
any other nationalities mentioned.
for these nationalities,
This speaks quite well
69
TABLE XVI
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS
RECORD AND THE DESCENT OP
1,OOO JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Descent
Yes
No
Total
British
97
215
312
Baltic
8
11
19
Mediterranean
7
25
32
Oriental
3
12
15
Germanic
32
63
95
French
8
26
34
Russian
3
5
8
Mexican
95
154
249
1
7
8
Negroid
37
81
118
J ewish
4
10
14
Unknown
28
68
96
323
677
1000
Indian
Total
70
In this case, there were eight groups— British,
Mediterranean, Oriental, French, Indian, Negroid, Jewish,
and the unlisted group— whose percentages fell below the
32.3 per cent of previous records for the total number of
cases studied.
It may be rather significant that, although boys
of British descent contribute most greatly to the total
number of cases studied, they ranked sixth, or half way
down the list, among those with previous records.
The previous record and the part-time employment
of the offender.
Table XVII shows that fifty-eight out of
153, or 37.9 per cent, of the boys who worked at odd jobs,
had previous records with the juvenile courts, while 265
out of 847, or 31.3 per cent of those not having odd jobs
had previous records.
This would seem to indicate that the
mere working for f!pinfl money during the boy* s leisure hours
was no insurance that he would not again appear in court.
The previous record and the occupation of the father
of the offender.
The precentage of boys with fathers in
the various occupational groups, who had previous records,
as shown by Table XVIII ranged in order from the highest
to the lowest are as follows:
first, boys whose fathers
were retired— twelve out twenty-two, or 54.6 per cent;
second, boys whose fathers were on relief— eight out of
71
TABLE XVII
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS RECORD
AND THE PART TIME-EMPLOYMENT OF
1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Yes
No
Total
58
95
153
No
265
582
84?
Total
323
677
1000
Employment
Yes
72
TABLE XVIII
A COMPARISON OE THE PREVIOUS RECORD
AND THE OCCUPATION OF THE FATHERS
OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Father* s occupation
Yes
No
Total
Unskilled lahor
87
171
25S
Semi-skill, labor
57
139
196
Skilled labor
30
55
85
Clerical
14
37
51
Business
12
45
57
Executive
4
6
10
Professional
7
16
23
12
10
22
8
7
15
92
191
283
323
677
1000
Retired
Relief
Unknown
Total
73
fifteen, or $3*3 per cent; third, boys whose fathers held
executive positions— four out of ten, or 40.0 per cent;
fourth, sons of skilled laborers— thirty out of eightyfive, or 35*3 per cent; fifth, sons of unskilled laborers—
eighty-seven out of 258, or 33*7 per cent; sixth, boys whose
fathers1 occupations were not listed— ninety two out of
283, or 32.5 per cent; seventh, boys whose fathers held
professional positions--seven out of twenty-three, or 30.4
per cent; eighth, sons of semi-skilled laborers— fiftyseven out of 196, or 29*1 per cent; Hinth, boys whose fath­
ers held clerical positions— fourteen out of fifty-one, or
27*4 per cent; and tenth, boys ¥/hose fathers v/ere in business
for themselves— twelve out of fifty-seven, or 21.1 per
cent.
Apparently the parents or guardians who own their
own business can keep their sons out of trouble more easily,
after they have once been in trouble, than any other occu­
pational group.
Also, it appears that sons of fathers who
were retired or on relief have an extremely difficult task
of readjusting themselves to normal life after one or more
experience in the juvenile courts.
Sons of these two groups
show a much higher percentage of crime repetition than does
any other group.
It should be understood that throughout this dis­
cussion, whenever the occupation of a father is referred
to, it means the occupation of the guardian in cases where
the father is not the legal guardian of the boy.
In some
74
cases studied the fathers were in prison, and the hoy was
in the custody of either some other man, or the mother, or
some agency.
In these cases the occupations of these other
individuals were used in the analysis.
As mentioned previously, there was no sharp dividing
line between the three groups of labor-unskilled, semi­
skilled, and skilled.
If these three are grouped together
it will be seen that there will be a total of 539 cases
studied, and a total of 174 of these who had had previous
records.
This gives a percentage of 32.3, which is exactly
the same as that for the total number of cases studied.
However, as the data are arranged in Table XVII, the skilled
laborers and the unskilled laborers hold the fourth and
fifth places, respectively, while the semi-skilled group
hold eighth place in the proportion with which their sons
had had previous records.
The previous record and the marital condition of the
parents of the offender.
The one boy arrested who had been
born out of wedlock had no previous record.
Of the remainder
the percentage rank from the highest to lowest for those
with previous records, as shown in Table XIX, is as follows:
first, boys whose parents1 marital condition was not listed—
ten out of twenty-six, or 38.5 per cent; second, boys v/hose
parents were separated, but not divorced— thirty-seven out
of ninety-seven, or 38.1 per cent; third, boys who were
75
TABLE XIX
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS RECORD AND THE
MARITAL CONDITION OF THE PARENTS OF
1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Marital condition
Yes
No
Total
Normal
159
336
X95
9
29
33
Widowed mother
XX
95
139
Widower father
22 •
37
59
Divorced
X2
103
1X5
Separated
37
60
97
1
1
10
16
26
323
677
1000
Both dead
Unwed
Unknown
Total
living with a widower father— twenty-two out of fifty-nine,
or 37.3 per cent; fourth, boys whose parents were married
and living together normally--159 out of 495, or 32.1 per
cent; fifth, boys living with a widowed mother— forty-four
out of 139, or 31.7 per cent; sixth, sons of divorced parent
forty-two out of 145, or 29.0 per cent; and seventh, boys
whose parents were both dead— nine out of thirty-six, or
25.0 per cent.
If all except the normal and unlisted groups are
listed together and considered as broken homes, it would
showr 154 out of 479, or 32.2 per cent, as having had pre­
vious records.
This, compared to the percentage of repeti­
tion among boys whose parents are living together normally—
32.1 per cent—
shows a difference of only 0.1 per cent.
This is a very small difference indeed.
Apparently then,
there is no greater tendency for sons of broken homes to
repeatedly commit crimes than there is for sons of normal
parents.
One very encouraging point shown by these results
is that only 25 per cent of the boys whose parents were
both dead had previous records.
It is quite evident that
these boys learn a lesson that they do not soon forget when
they must be arrested for delinquency.
The previous record and the economic condition of
the parents or guardians of the offender.
Table XX shows
77
TABLE XX
A COMPARISON OF THE PREVIOUS RECORD AND THE
ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE PARENTS OR
GUARDIAN OF 1,000 JUVENILE OFFENDERS
Previous record
Economic condition
Tes
No
Total
G-ood
33
81
114
Average
37
95
132
Fair
114
210
324
Poor
68
118
186
Relief
26
86
112
Unknown
45
8?
132
323
677
1000
Total
78
that sixty-eight out of 186 boys, or 36.6 per cent, coming
from homes in poor economic condition had previous police
records.
This leads all of the other groups.
Next, in order,
follows boys from homes in fair economic condition with
114 out of 324, or 33*2 per cent; boys from homes whose
economic condition was not listed— forty-five out of 132,
or 34.1 por cent; boys from good economic conditions--thirtythree out of 114, or 28.9 per cent; and boys whose families
were on relief--twenty-six out of 112, or 23.2 per cent.
The last percentage mentioned is quite encouraging.
It is quite surprising that the sons of parents who were
on relief should be the ones least likely to reappear in
juvenile courts after one appearance.
This table shows results which, again, are rather
inconsistent.
According to the results show, familes on
relief are most likely of all to keep their sons out of
court after a first appearance, while those in poor homes
are most likely to have sons who will repeatedly appear in
court.
79
Approximately one-third, 32.3 per cent of
all the hoys had a previous record with the juvenile author­
ities.
It was found that the frequency of previous records
increased proportionately as the age of the boys after about
the age of nine years.
The largest proportion of boys with
previous records were those fourteen years of age.
The frequency of previous records also increased
proportionately as the grade level, but in this case only
up to about the tenth grade.
Of all of the boys, those not in school most fre­
quently had a previous record.
A study of the relationships between the previous
record and the school reputation showed results as incon­
sistent as appeared between the reputation and the offense.
Two-thirds of the boys with excellent reputations had a
previous record, while only one-third of those with a very
bad reputation had a previous record.
The frequency of
previous records from highest to lowest was excellent, then
bad, poor, average, very bad, and then good, in that order.
The most frequent repeaters were members of church
clubs, and the least frequent were members of school clubs.
The percentage of frequency of previous record v/as almost
identical for the total number of boys and for those who
belonged to no club.
80
The most persistent offenders were of Baltic descent,
and next most were of Mexican descent.
The least persistent
were the Indians, and then the Orientals'.
The percentage of previous records of British descend­
ants was not nearly as great as the percentage of frequency
of arrest for British descendants.
A study of the part-time employment of the boys showed
that there
were more, who worked, who had previous records
than there
were of those who did not work.
The
most frequent repeaters were the sons of
retirement, and
relief.
men in
next most frequent were sons of men
on
The least frequent were sons of business men, and
next were the sons of clerks.
The percentage of repetition for sons of day laborers
was exactly the same as the percentage of repetition for
the total number of boys.
The most frequent repeaters were the sons of separated
parents, and the next most frequent were the sons of widower
fathers.
The least frequent were boys whose parents were
both dead, and next were the sons of divorced parents.
The percentage of repetition for boys from broken
homes was almost identical with the percentage of repetition
for the total number of boys.
The most frequent repeaters were boys from homes in a
poor economical condition.
The least frequent were from
homes op relief, with boys from good homes next.
CHAPTER VI
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE DISPOSITION OF
THE CASES AND VARIOUS SOCIAL FACTORS
As stated in the chapter on procedure, upon the completion of the interrogation by the arresting officer, of
each boy, his case was disposed of by one of a number of
methods, including voluntary probation, suspension of the
action, etc.
Chapter
VI concerns these methods of disposi­
tion and their relationships to some of
the social factors.
The disposition of the case and the age of the offen­
der.
Table XXI shows that the action was quite frequently
suspended.
This was done in 280 cases.
In 135 instances
the action was referred to some child welfare agency. Onehundred and thirty-two were placed on probation, and the
rest of the cases were disposed of in the manner indicated
by the table.
Some of the reports apparently were never
completed, for in sixteen cases this very important item
of disposition was not even listed.
A brief survey
that, in general, the
of the table will suffice to show
tendency to place the boy on probation
increased proportionately as the age.
Five out of twenty-
eight, or 17.9 per cent, of the ten-year-old boys were
placed on voluntary probation, while only nineteen out of
82
TABLE XXI
DISTRIBUTION, BY AG®, OF 1,000 JUVENILE
DELINQUENCY DISPOSITIONS
Age
Disposition
7
8
9
Vol. prob.
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
5
3
7
12
34
31
21
19
14
15
28
38
65
61
44
2
280
8
11
26
43
6
2
1
104
3
2
40
45
Act. susp.
2
3
8
Det. juv* hall
1
1
5
Det. co. jail
Rel. to father
Rel. to mother
1
Rel. to parents
3
2
Ref. co. prob.
2
Rel, insuf. evid.
1
1
Ref. spec. inv.
1
1
Ref. welf. agcy.
1
Transferred
Not listed
2
1
Total
2
6
18
Total
132
90
1
1
2
2
3
1
6
8
6
11
8
41
6
4
13
21
14
21
84
5
5
10
4
26
2
2
6
6
18
1
3
5
4
3
9
18
1
1
2
3
12
18
39
58
135
1
1
1
6
3
11
14
10
47
1
3
3
2
2
16
2
9
28
19
42
75 154 213 230 219
3
1000
33
219, or 8.7 per cent of the seventeen-year-old boys were.
The tendency to suspend the cases was, quite natur­
ally, less for boys from about the age of fourteen and up
than it was for those of ages thirteen and down.
None of the eleven-year-old boys were detained in the
juvenile hall, and an unusually small percentage of the six­
teen and seventeen-year-old boys were.
The next disposition
shows, however, that a much higher percentage of these tv#o
age groups were detained in the county jail.
Quite natur­
ally also, no boy of thirteen years or less was detained in
the county jail, and only five of the fourteen and fifteenyear-old boys were.
Only one boy of less than twelve years was released
to the custody of either parent separately, although five
were released to both parents.
It is interesting to note the small percentage of boys
released because of insufficient evidence, and it is strange
that most of these boys should be fairly old, from fourteen
to seventeen years of age, inclusive.
Neither were there
very many cases referred for special investigation.
Strange as it may seem, the older the boy, the great­
er was the tendency to refer his case to some welfare agency.
Some cases were found to be out of the jurisdiction
of the Los Angeles courts and were transferred to another
city, county, or state.
84
The disposition of the case and the school grade of the
offender.
The case of the only boy in the first grade was
referred to a welfare agency, as was the greater number of
cases of boys who were not in school, and the greater number
of boys in the second grade.
Table XXII does not show as great a tendency to
decrease the number on voluntary probation with increases in
school grade as does Table XXI with respect to the ages of
the boys.
There was no gradual increase or decrease in the
number as the grade level increased.
Neither does the table
show any general trend along the increasing grade level for
the suspension of action, nor for detention in the juvenile
hall.
In the next disposition, however, it may be seen
that there was an increased tendency to place boys in the
county jail who were farther along in school.
A curious
fact in connection with this disposition is that Table XXI
shows no boy under the age of fourteen as having been held in
the county jail, whereas Table XXII shows six boys under the
eighth grade being disposed of in this manner.
Table XXII shows a much more widely spread distri­
bution along the grade scale for boys released to their par­
ents than Table XXI does along the age scale.
The same is
true for cases referred to the county probation department.
Table XXI limits cases disposed of in this manner to
£5
TABLE XXII
DISTRIBUTION, BY SCHOOL GRADE, OF 1,000
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY DISPOSITIONS
Grade in school
12 None Total
1 -2
3
4
5
6
7
S
9
10
11
Vol. prob.
1
3
2
8
7 13
26
26
21
14
2
9
132
Act. susp.
2
2
5 12 15 24
36
56
52
43
17
16
280
1
5
3
£
£
21
31
14
5
8
104
1
1
1
2
1
10
26
15
26
90
2
1
1
9
Disposition
Det. juv. hall
Det. co. jail
1
Rel. to father
Rel. to mother
2
Rel. to parents
1
1
6
1
6
1
4
4
10
4
6
12
2
4
10
17
16
13
6
5
84
1
3
6
7
4
1
2
26
1
1
4
3
3
3
1
18
2
18
31
135
5
41
Ref. co. prob.
2
Rel, insuf. evid.
1
1
Ref. spec. inv.
1
1
2
2
3
5
2
5
5
4 15
16
17
18
9
1
2
4
7
£
6
12
47
3
3
2
1
2
16
1 12 11 30 34 45 80 13 S 186 177 126
45 115
1000
Ref. welf. agcy.l
4
Transferred
Not listed
Total
2
1
2
1
2
6
£
86
five ages, while Table XXII shows them distributed over
eight grade levels.
In fact, if there is anything outstand­
ing at all about Table XXII it is the fact that the disposi­
tions were scattered over so many grade levels.
Each type of
disposition was used for boys in many school grades.
The disposition of the case and the marital condition
of the parents of the offender.
Table XXIII shows that the
largest proportion of boys on probation were sons of widowed
mothers, and sons of divorced parents.
Approximately one-
fifth of the boys from each of these two types of homes were
placed on probation.
The greatest proportion of cases in which the action
was suspended was for sons of parents living together,
where exactly one-third of their sons1 cases were disposed of
in this manner.
Disregarding the cases in which the items were not
listed on the reports, the greatest proportions for each
of the other methods of disposition were as follows: detained
in the juvenile hall--approximately one-sixth of the sons of
separated parents; detained in the county jail--one-eighth
of the sons of widowed mothers; released to the father— onefifteenth of the sons of widower fathers; released to the
mother— approximately one-eighth of the sons of separated
parents; released to the parents— a little less than one-sixth
of the sons of normal parents; referred to the county probation
87
TABLE XXIII
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE DELINQUENCY DISPOSITIONS
ACCORDING TO THE MARITAL CONDITION OF
THE PARENTS OF THE OFFENDER
Marital condition of parents
Disposition
Vol prob.
Bo tli Wid. W i d ’r.
Norm. dead mother father Div. Separ. Unwed Unk. Tot
52
2
26
6
29
16
165
6
39
9
33
21
7
280
Det. juv. ball
37
2
11
10
17
21
6
104
Det. co. jail
45
4
17
4
14
3
3
90
4
1
2
12
12
Act. susp.
Rel. to father
2
Rel. to mother
3
11
Rel. to parents
75
1
1
Ref. co. prob.
16
2
2
Rel, insuf. evid . 8
1
2
Ref. spec. inv.
9
1
4
Ref. welf. agcy. 52
17
21
2
4
Transferred
21
Not listed
10
Total
495
2
139
9
3
41
84
2
1
26
18
6
18
3
1
17
15
11
2
135
6
4
7
3
47
3
1
1
16
1
38
132
5
3
1
1
59
145
97
1
26 1000
88
department--approximately one-nineteenth of the boys whose
parents were both dead; released due to insufficient evi­
dence— approximately one-twenty-fourth of the sons of divorced
parents; referred to a special investigator--one-thirty-fifth
of the sons of widowed mothers; referred to welfare agencies-—
a little less than one-half of the boys whose parents were
both dead; and transferred elsewhere— one-tenth of the sons
of widower fathers.
It seems, therefore, that in case the boysT parents
lived together normally, most frequently the action was sus­
pended, or he was released to his parents.
When both parents
were dead the cases were most frequently referred to some
welfare agency.
There does seem to have been some slip-up
in the case of boys with both parents dead, since one of them
was reported to have been released to his parents.
It might
be assumed, however, that the report was meant to be that he
was released to legal guardians.
Where the father was dead the cases were most fre­
quently suspended, the boys placed on probation, or the case
referred to some welfare agency.
Where the mother was dead
the cases were most frequently referred to welfare agencies,
and next most frequently, the boys were detained in the
juvenile hall.
Where the parents were divorced the cases were most
frequently suspended, or the boys were placed on voluntary
89
probation.
Only one son of divorced parents was released
to his father, while twelve sons of divorced parents were
released to their mothers.
Where the parents were separated the cases were most
frequently suspended, or the boy was placed in the juvenile
hall, or on probation.
The disposition of the case and the economic condi­
tion of the parents or guardians of the offender.
Table
XXIV shows that for every economic condition except one the
case was most frequently suspended.
Where the economic
condition was not listed the case was more frequently refer­
red to some welfare agency.
The greatest proportion of boys placed on voluntary
probation came from homes where the families were on relief,
and, strange as it may seem, the tendency to place boys on
probation decreased generally as the economic condition of
the home became better.
Twenty out of 112, or 17.9 per cent,
from homes*on relief, twenty seven out of 186, or IX.5 per
cent, from poor homes, fifty-one out of 324, or 15*7 per cent,
from fair homes, sixteen out of 132, or 12.1 per cent, from
average homes, and fourteen out of 114, or 12.3 per cent,
from good homes, were placed on voluntary probation.
The largest proportion of cases in which the action
was suspended came from homes in good economic condition,
where more than one-third of the cases of boys from this type
90
TABLE XXIV
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE DELINQUENCY DISPOSITIONS
ACCORDING TO THE ECONOMIC CONDITION OF
THE PARENTS OF THE OFFENDER
Economic condition of parents
Good
51.
16
14
4
132
48
98
36
42
29
280
7
29
32
10
6
20
104
11
16
28
12
10
13
90
Rel. to father
1
1
2
3
1
1
9
Rel • to mother
9
5
11
8
4
4
41
11
7
33'
15
14
4
84
Ref. co. prob.
2
1
13
2
3
5
26
Re 1 f insuf. evid
3
4
2
1
4
4
18
Ref. spec. inv.
6
3
2
1
3
3
18
Ref. weIf. agcy.
9
30
35
19
10
32
135
Transferred
4
10
14
4
2
13
47
Not listed
2
5
3
5
1
112
186
324
132
114
Relief
Poor
Vol. prob.
20
27
A c t . susp.
2?
D e t . juv. hall
D e t . co. jail
Rel. to parents
Total
Fair
Unknown
Total
Average
Disposition
16
132
1000
91
of home were suspended.
The largest proportion of hoys detained in the juvenile
hall came from poor homes, and the smallest proportion from
hoys in good homes.
The largest proportion of hoys detained
in the county jail came from homes on relief.
The largest proportion of hoys whose cases were dis­
posed of in the following manners are given helow:
Released
to their fathers— hoys from average homes; released to their
mothers--hoys from homes on relief; released to their parents-hoys from good homes; referred to the county probation-hoys from average homes; released because of insufficient
evidence— hoys from homes on relief, followed closely by
boys from good homes; referred for special investigation-hoys from homes on relief; referred to welfare agencies—
hoys from poor homes; and transferred elsewhere--boys from
poor homes.
Thus, for five different dispositions the great­
est proportion of cases came from homes on relief, and in
three more cases they came from poor homes.
The only times
the largest proportion came from good homes was when the
action was suspended and when the hoy was released to both
parents.
For no disposition did the largest proportion come
from homes in a fair condition.
The disposition of the cases and the previous record
of the offenders.
Table XXV shows that where the hoy was
disposed of by each of the methods, the greatest proportions
92
TABLE XX?
DISTRIBUTION OF 1,000 JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
DISPOSITIONS ACCORDING TO PREVIOUS
ARRESTS OF THE OFFENDER
Previous record
Yes
No
Total
Vol. prod.
34
98
132
A c t . susp.
71
209
260
50
54
104
47
43
90
Rel. to father
3
6
9
Rel. to mother
11
30
41
Rel. to parents
23
61
84
Ref. co. prob.
13
13
26
R e l , insuf. evid.
3
15
18
Ref. spec. inv.
2
16
18
Ref. we If. agey.
31
104
135
Transferred
31
16
47
4
12
16 '
323
677
Disposition
Bet.
juv. hall
D e t . co. jail
Not listed
Total
1000
did or did not have previous records
following:
as is shown by the
Placed on probation— thirty-four out of 323, or
10.5 per cent, had a previous record, while ninety-eight
out of 677, or 14.5 per cent,,had not; action suspended-eeventy-one out of 323, or 22.0 per cent, had a previous
record, while 209 out of 677, or 30*9 per cent, had not;
detained in the juvenile hall, fifty out of 323, or 15*5 per
cent, had a previous record, while only fifty-four out of
677, or 7*98 per cent, had not; detained in the county jailforty-seven out of 323, or 14.6 per cent, had a previous
record, while only forty-three out of the 677, or 6.35 per
cent had not; released to the father— 0.93 per cent had a
previous record, while 0.89 per cent had not; released to
the mother— 3*4 per cent had a previous record, while 4*4
per cent had not; released to the parents— 7*12 per cent had
a previous record, while 9*0 per cent had not; referred to
the county probation department— 4*0 per cent had a previous
record, while 1.9 per cent had not; released due to insuffic
ient evidence— 0.93 per cent had a previous record, v/hile
2.2 per cent had not; referred for special investigation—
0.62 per cent had a previous record, v/hile sixteen of the
677, or 2.4 per cent, had not; referred to welfare agencies9.6 per cent had previous records, while 15.4 per cent had
not; transferred elsewhere— 9*6 per cent had a previous re­
cord, while 2.4 per cent had not.
94
Thus, for five types of dispositions— detention in the
juvenile hall, detention in the county jail, reference to the
county probation department, release to the father, and trans­
fer elsewhere— the largest proportion had had previous police
records.
For all the other dispositions the largest propor­
tions had had no previous records.
Summary.
The most frequent disposition used was the
suspension of the case.
This occurred in 28 per cent of the
cases, and the next most frequent was the reference of the
case to some welfare agency.
The tendency to place boys on voluntary probation
increased with the age of the boys, v/hile the tendency to
suspend the action decreased with age.
Very few boys were released because of insufficient
evidence.
The tendencies to refer the cases to welfare agencies,
and to place the boys in the county jail increased with the
ages of the boys.
Most of the cases of boys not in school were referred
to welfare agencies.
The dispositions were much more widely scattered over
the various grade levels than they were over various ages.
The boys placed on voluntary probation v/ere most fre­
quently the sons of widowed mothers, and the sons of divorced
95
parents were next.
The cases of suspended action were most frequently
of boys from normal homes.
Boys detained in the juvenile hall were most fre­
quently sons of separated parents while those detained in
the county jail were most frequently the sons of widowed
mothers.
Gases referred to welfare agencies were most frequent­
ly those of boys whose parents were both dead.
More sons of divorced parents were released to the
parents than were to the fathers.
The tendency to place the boys on probation decreased
as the economic condition of the home increased.
When five types of disposition— voluntary probation,
detention in the county jail, release to the mother, release
due to insufficient evidence, and reference to a special
investigator— were used, the most frequent cases were of boys
from homes on relief, and in three inore--detention in the
juvenile hall, reference to welfare agencies, and transfer
elsewhere--the cases were of boys from homes in poor finan­
cial condition.
In the cases of only two dispositions, where
the action was suspended, and when the bojr was released to
his parents, were the cases most frequently from homes in
good financial condition.
When five different types of disposition— detention
96
in the juvenile hall, detention in the county jail, release
to the father, reference to the county probation department,
and transfer elsewhere--were used, the majority of boys had
a previous record.
?/hen any of the other dispositions were
used the majority of the boys had no previous police records.
CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSIONS, SUMMARY, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Enough facts have been presented in the preceding
chapters of this thesis to form a sound basis for some gen­
eral conclusions which cannot be overlooked, and upon the
basis of which recommendations should be made to various
agencies engaged in educating and protecting juveniles.
These conclusions, a comparison of some of them with some
of the facts given in the chapter on related studies, a gener­
al summary, and the recommendations will be found in this
chapter.
Conclusions.
On the basis of evidence presented in
Chapters IV, V, and VI, it is the investigator’s opinion
that the following conclusions may safely be drawn:
1.
Juvenile delinquency covered a wide range of
ages, being from seven to eighteen years, inclusive, with
the highest frequency of offenses being committed by boys
of ages fourteen to seventeen, inclusive.
The related studies reported in Chapter II gave the
average age of delinquency usually as in the fifteenth year.
While this investigation did not determine the average age,
it will be seen that the average age of the others falls
within the area of highest frequency found in the present
study.
98
2.
school.
Too many boys, 11.5 per cent, were not attending
Of those attending, the area of highest frequency
was found to he in grades eight, nine^ ten, and eleven, with
a few more in nine and ten than in the other two.
This differs slightly from the findings of other in­
vestigators mentioned in Chapter II, who found the average
grade to he in the eighth year.
3.
As far as can he determined from the data, the
hoys were not retarded in school, and some were definitely
accelerated.
This is a decided difference from the findings of
the others, who found in most cases that the delinquents were
retarded anywhere from one to two and one-half years.
4.
The tendency for hoys of Mexican and Negro descents
to commit crimes was much greater than the tendency for hoys
descended from any other nationality in the city of Los Ange­
les.
This point is very significant, and agrees quite
closely with the findings of
5.
G-ordon.-^
The school reputation, as recorded on the reports
for this study, is not an accurate measure of the hoys* in­
clination toward delinquency.
The present study showed many
more with good or excellent reputations than with had or poor
Edmond David Gordon, "Problem Boys in the Special
Schools of Los Angeles," (unpublished Master1s thesis, The
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1936)
99
reputations having committed offenses,
6„
Very few of the boys belonged to any character
building clubs, and of those who did belong, the most fre­
quent membership was with the Boy Scouts, with school clubs
second.
This also agrees quite closely with those found by
others, although the percentage not belonging was shown to
be much greater for the present study than for the earlier
ones.
The present study showed only 13*5 per cent belonging
to clubs, while Gordon-^ found only 22 per cent, and Allen*^
and Perry"^ each found 25 per cent of the boys in their studies
belonging to clubs,
7.
The lack of odd-job employment was a decided factor
in the delinquency of the boys in the present study.
This also agrees quite well with the evidence found
by Maxwell
20
and Thomas,
21
Gordon, o£. cit.
1S
Eugene Clyde Allen, ffAn Educational and Sociologi­
cal Delinquency Pactor Survey of the Los Angeles Boys* Wel­
fare Center,” (unpublished Master1s thesis, The University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937)
-*-9 Glenn Edwin Perry,”Juvenile Delinquency in the
Junior and Senior High Schools of Los Angeles; Its Prevalence,
Manifestations, and Causes,” (unpublished Master1s thesis,
The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937)
William Calvin Maxwell, tfAn Investigation of Boy
Delinquency in Long Beach, California, and its Implications
for the Public Schools,” (unpublished Master’s thesis, the
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1935)
Charles William Thomas, ”An Investigation of the fac­
tors Associated with School Delinquency in a Junior High School,”
(unpublished Master’s thesis, The University of Southern
California, Los Angeles, 1940)
100
8.
A previous juvenile record was an influencing
factor in one-third of the cases studied, and those hoys
with previous records leaned more strongly toward robbery
and grand theft, while those without committed petty theft
more frequently.
This is exactly the same percentage of repeaters as
pp
was found by G-ordon^
but was considerably less than the
54 per cent found by Maxwell^? to have had previous records.
9.
The fact that almost half of the fathers of the
boys in the present study were no better than semi-skilled
laborers was a great factor in the boys* delinquency.
10.
Broken homes was a large contributing factor
to the delinquency of the boys, and divorce and separation
were all too frequently the cause of the homes being broken.
In every study reported on in Chapter II, this was
found to be the case, although Maxwell found it to be promi­
nent in a lesser portion of cases.
11.
A rather large portion of the boys came from homes
in poor financial circumstances.
This also was found to be the case by all of the
investigators mentioned in Chapter II, who studied this item.
12.
Boys from homes in good economical conditions did
not run away from home as often as do boys from poor homes,
G-ordon, o£. cit.
^
Maxwell, crq. cit.
101
but they did .commit grand theft more often*
13.
The delinquents in this study came most frequently
from families having three children or less, and in all too
many cases, 15.7 per cent, from families wherein the delin­
quent was the only child.
Thus, it is safe to
say that
the
small size of these families was a definited factor.
In the studies of Gordon24 and Thomas*^ the families
were found to be large.
14.
Although the only child did not run away as often,
he did commit grand theft and sexual offenses more frequently
than the boy from larger families.
15.
The frequency with which the delinquents had
previous records increased with increasing age, after about
the age of nine, and with the school grade, up to about grade
ten.
16.
The school reputation was not an accurate measure
of the tendency to commit new crimes after a first offense.
17.
Boys belonging to no clubs were no more prone to
appear repeatedly in court than were other boys, but the study
showed that, of those who did belong to clubs, the most fre­
quent of the repeaters were members of church clubs, and the
least frequent repeaters were members of school clubs.
IB.
The fact that a boy worked at odd-jobs was no
Gordon, o£. cit.
25 Thomas, o£. cit.
102
insurance that he would keep out of the juvenile courts, once
he had been arrested*
The present study showed that more
working boys had previous records than non-working boys had.
19.
Boys from broken homes were no more prone to re­
peat crimes than were the average of all the delinquent boys*
20*
The most frequent repeaters came from homes in
poor financial conditions, while the least frequent came
from homes on relief, followed closely by boys from homes in
good economic condition.
Thus, we may have little to fear,
according to the data in this study, of boys from good homes,
or from homes on relief, repeatedly commiting crimes,
21,
The tendency to dispose of the cases by volun­
tary probation, reference to welfare agencies, and detention
in the county jail generally increased with advancing age,
while the tendency to suspend action decreased with advanc­
ing age.
22,
The tendency to place boys on voluntary probation
became noticeably less as the financial conditions of the
home increased.
23,
The arresting officers were not as thorough as
they could have been in making out their reports. The items
not listed on the reports, together with the frequencies,
included:
descent, 96; sqhool reputation, 432; fathers* occupa­
tions, 283; parents* marital conditions, 26; parents*
economic
conditions, 132; size of a family, 13; and disposition of the
103
cases, 16.
A much more accurate check could have been made
of relationships between some of the factors had these items
not been omitted from the reports.
24.
The Los Angeles Police Department is doing a
splendid job of preventing the attachment of lasting stig­
mas onto young delinquents.
The fact that in 357 cases out of one-thousand, the
charge against the arrested juveniles was listed merely as
nbeing in danger of becoming delinquent,w shows the reluctance
with which the police attach more serious charges to the
delinquents*
juvenile records.
Summary.
The present investigation was carried out
in an attempt to illuminate and clarify the juvenile delin­
quency situation in the city of Low Angeles, California.
The investigation seemed thoroughly justified in view
of the great portion of criminals in the United States today
who started their crime careers during their adolescence or
earlier, and in view of the amazing amount of juvenile de­
linquency prevalent in our nation.
The study was limited to male cases, and to the orig­
inal arrest reports, which were described in detail in Chap­
ter I.
The study was also limited to juveniles as defined
under criminal law, or those under the age of eighteen, al­
though a few cases were included who were in their eighteenth
year.
104
The data were obtained from the files of the Juvenile
Record Bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department, with
headquarters in the Georgia Street Police Station*
A method of representative sampling was used to obtain
25 per cent of the approximately 4,000 cases occuring during
the year, August 1, 1939, to and including July 31, 1940.
Each case was numbered to avoid exact identity, and
the data were recorded on a master table for the fifteen
items
described in detail in Chapter III.
Upon completion of
the compilation of the data on the
master table, the data were broken up and placed on twentyfive frequency tables which were arranged in such a way as
to facilitate the comparison of the offense committed, the
previous record, and the dispositions of the cases v/ith the
various social factors.
The frequency tables together with
the results shown on each
a condensation of
one, and the summary for them,
are to be found in Chapters IV, V, and VI.
In Chapter II a review was given of the investigations
carried out by other in the field of juvenile delinquency,
particularly of those which dealt with delinquency as it
occurred in the vicinity of Los Angeles, since it was believed
that the findings of these were more closely related to the
present study than would be the studies made in entirely
different localities and under different circumstances.
105
The final step was the conclusions drawn by this
investigator.
These conclusions are to be found in this
chapter.
Recommendations.
Upon the basis of evidence gained
from the data presented in the foregoinginvestigation, and
bearing in mind the facilities and limitations of existing
institutions, the investigator feels thoroughly justified in
making the following recommendations:
1.
More attention should be given to boys during the
ages of fourteen to seventeen, and particularly to boys in
grades nine and ten who are of these ages, in an attempt to
guide these boys of of the path toward juvenile delinquency.
This might be done by methods described below.
2.
State, city, and school authorities should coop­
erate one-hundred per cent in keeping boys in school until
they are either eighteen years of age, or until they have
graduated from high school.
3.
Additional provisions must be made for the orien­
tation and integration of the Mexican and Negro boys.
Much
is already being done about this, but still not enough.
These boys must be made to feel that they are American citi­
zens just as much as boys of any other nationality, and as
such are entitled to just as much freedom, and are expected
to be just as law-abiding.
4.
Every school, particularly the junior and senior
106
high schools, should make every attempt to^establish a well
balanced program of character building clubs, and should
encourage every student, particularly the more backward and
timid one, to become an active member of at least one club.
5.
Parents in the city should encourage their sons
to obtain odd jobs, for the two-fold purpose of earning a
little "pin” money, and for keeping them occupied during
at least some of their spare time.
The parents should, by
all means, help their sons to get started on these jobs, and
should always follow their boys1 progress with sincere inter­
est and encouragement.
o.
When a boyrwho has had a juvenile court appear­
ance re-enters society, everyone should go more than half
way to make the boy1s re-adjustment possible and pleasant.
He should be treated not as a young criminal, but as one
who has been corrected after making a grave mistake.
Teach­
ers and other adults can do much to encourage other chil­
dren to be kind, courteous, and sincerely helpful to the
young delinquents who return to the ways of normal life.
7.
It would be an extremely helpful factor in reduc­
ing delinquency among juveniles if divorce laws were made
much more strict, or if divorces and separations could be
prevented by other means.
It is quite possible that college
courses on marriage and family relationships will improve the
situation, but these courses do not reach a large enough pro-
107
portion of marriageable people.
At present the number of
cases wherein sacred marriage vows are treated so lightly
and discarded so easily, ate seriously and alarmingly in­
creasing.
8.
Determined efforts should be made to eliminate
class favoritism and class conscousness in this country.
In the elementary and high schools especially, children from
poor homes must be treated no worse and no better than chil­
dren from homes in good economical conditions.
Also'/ civic,
county, state, and federal authorities must do all in their
power to eliminate slum districts and to provide wholesome
recreation for children from poor homes.
It is still true
that tfan ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
9.
Parents in homes in good economical condition
must be very careful that they do not rob their sons of the
usual knocks and adventures of life to such an extent that
the boys will turn to grand theft for their thrills.
10.
It is hard
their families are
to convince the American people
that
too small, but the facts found in this
investigation seem to warrant the recommendation that if
couples wish to provide a valuable environment of compan­
ionship for their children, they had better plan on a family
considerably larger than is the average family today.
From
the standpoint of reducing the rate of juvenile delinquency,
a family of from six to nine, or ten, is a highly desirable
108
asset to any community.
11.
It may have proven disastrous before to place
boys from homes in good financial condition more frequently
on voluntary probation, but it is the recommendation of this
investigator to do so, in view of the fact that the evidence
presented shows that the boys who repeated crimes came more
frequently from poor homes than they did from homes in good
financial condition.
It seems only logical that parents in
better homes are better equipped, in many ways, to insure
the best and safest re-adjustment to normal conditions for
any boy who has erred once already.
12.
Finally, this investigator believes that the
Los Angeles Police Department could improve even more the
fine job they are doing in the handling of delinquents, by
doing two things:
First, by insisting upon completed reports
in every detail by arresting officers; and second, by allow­
ing graduate students from well known universities to study,
from a purely impersonal standpoint, the records of the juven­
ile cases in their files.
This investigator, fully respecting the confident nature
of the case reports, and desiring only to aid the schools as
well as possibly the police, themselves, found it extremely
difficult, and well-nigh impossible to examine the juvenile
records in the Police Department files.
As soon as the men in charge of these important files
109
recognize the difference between morbid curiosity and a
sincere desire to improve existing conditions, by men and
women who are in the best position to bring about this im­
provement, the progress made toward diminishing juvenile
delinquency will move forward much more rapidly than it can
possibly do today.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ill
A.
BOOKS
Baker, Harry, J. , and. Virginia Traphagen, The Diagnosis and
Treatment of Behavior-Problem Children. New York:
The
Macmillan Company, 1935* 393pp.
A study of clinical work on problem children in the
schools of Detroit, Michigan.
Burt, Cyril, The Young Delinquent.
and Company, 1925.
619 pp.
New York:
D. Appleton
One of the earliest and most thorough works in the field.
It concerns the prevalence and treatment of juvenile
treatment in and about London.
Cooley, Edwin J . , Probation and Delinquency. New York:
Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1927. 544pp.
Presents methods of probation as practiced by the Catho­
lic Charities Probation Bureau in the city of New York.
G-lueck, Sheldon, and Eleanor Glueck, Juvenile Delinquents
Grown U p . New York:
The Commonwealth Publishers, 1940.
330 pp.
A follow-up study of children who have passed through
the Boston Juvenile Court.
It was made with the aid of
the Judge Baker Foundation.
_______ , One-Thousand Juvenile Delinquents; Their Treatment
by Court and Clinic. Cambridge:
Harvard University
Press, 1934.
341 pp.
A thorough study of the records of delinquents after
their cases were disposed.'of by the juvenile courts of
Boston, Massachussetts.
Goddard, Henry Herbert, Juvenile Delinquency.
Dodd, Mead and Company, 1923.
120 pp.
An early study of the problems of youth.
but very interesting and worth while.
Healy, William, The Individual Delinquent.
Brown and Company, 1924.
New York:
It is short,
Boston:
Little,
An early presentation of case work and the value of treat­
ing delinquency from an individual standpoint, rather
than collectively.
112
Healy, William, and A. F. Brormer, Delinquents and Criminals.
New York:
The Macmillan Company, 1926.
317 pp.
An investigation carried out v/ith the aid of the Judge
Baker Foundation.
It concerned the case studies of
3,000 juvenile delinquents in Chicago and Boston.
Lindsey, Benjamin Barr, and Wainwright Evans, The Revolt of
Modern Youth. New York:
Boni and Liveright," 1925.
3&4 pp.
An interesting and thorough study of the nature and treats
ment of juvenile delinquency by Denver's famous early
juvenile delinquency crusader, Judge Ben Lindsey.
Reckless, ^falter Cade, and Mapheus Smith, Juvenile Delinquency.
New York:
The McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.f 1932.
412 pp.
A thorough and careful analysis of juvenile delinquency.
It considers every phase of the problem and sharply criti­
cizes many efforts at the treatment of delinquency.
It
offers many suggestions and preventative measures.
Slawson, John, The Delinquent B o y .
C ompany, 192bT
Boston:
G. Badger and
This book was offered first as a thesis at Columbia
University.
It treats delinquency among boys as it oc­
curred in institutions in the state of New York.
White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, Yol. IY,
The Delinquent Child. New York:
The Century Company,
1932. 499 pp.
B.
PERIODICAL ARTICLES
Bates, Sanford, "Unwarranted Criticism," The Phi Delta K a p p a n , 22:330-31, March, 1940.
Hoover, J. Edgar, "The Task of the Teacher,"
Kappan, 22:329-30, March, 1940.
Scudder, J. W . , "Guidance vs. Delinquency,"
Method, 15:97, November, 1940.
The Phi Delta
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C.
BULLETINS
"Crime Prevention Through Education/1 National Education
Association Research Bulletin, Yol, X, Number 4, Sep­
tember, 1932.
D.
UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS
Abbott, J. L . , "An Analysis of 3,000 Cases of Discipline
in a Junior High School." Unpublished Master1s thesis,
The University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
1934.
67 pp.
Allen, Eugene Clyde, "An Educational and Sociological Delin­
quency Factor Survey of the Los Angeles Boys Welfare
Center." Unpublished Master*s thesis, The University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937.
104 pp.
Cheney, W. L. , "A Comparison of Mental and Physical Ability
of Delinquent Boys Assigned to Special Schools." U n ­
published Master*s thesis, The University of Southern
California, Los Angeles, 1934*
H 4 PP*
Dahl, Yirginia D. , "G-eographical Concentration of Juvenile
Delinquency in Los Angeles County." Unpublished Master’s
thesis, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
1932.
91 pp.
Gordon, Edmond David, "Problem Boys in the Special Schools
of Los Angeles." Unpublished Master’s thesis, The Uni­
versity of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1936.
Katshy, M. J . , "How to Handle Incorrigible Boys in a Special
School." Unpublished Master’s thesis, The University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, 1930.
100 pp.
Maxwell, William Calvin,
"An Investigation of Boy Delinquency
in Long Beach, California, and its Implications for the
Public Schools." Unpublished Master’s thesis, The Uni­
versity of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1935.
346 pp.
Pagliassotti, Louis Frank, "A Comparison of Problem Boys From
Normal and From Broken Homes." Unpublished Master’s thesis,
The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937.
76 pp.
114
Paine, Arthur Elijah, "The Relationship and Treatment of
Truancy and Delinquency." Unpublished D o c t o r s disser­
tation, The University of Southern California, L'os
Angeles, 1939. 357 pp.
Perry, Glenn Edwin, "Juvenile Delinquency in the Junior and
Senior High Schools of Los Angeles; Its Prevalence, Mani­
festations and Causes." Unpublished Master*s thesis,
The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1937.
75 PP.
Skinner, Kenneth Ray, "A Survey of the Prevention of Crime
Through Juvenile Summer Camps for Underprivileged Boys."
Unpublished Master’s thesis, The University of Southern
California, Los Angeles, 1939.
137 pp.
Thomas, Charles William,
"An Investigation of the Factors
Associated with School Delinquency Among Boys in a
Junior High School." Unpublished Master’s thesis, The
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1940.
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