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By Dr. J. Raymond Schmidt
General Superintendent National
Civic League, Washington D. C.
Juvenile delinquency b?s been a
problem of increasing importance
since the beginning of World War II.
The situation must be grave to spur
the Department of Justice into call
ing a "National Conference for the
Prevention and Control of Juvenile
Delinquency," ' in. Washington last
eluded the following
names: Mrs, La Fell Dickinson, presi
dent of General Federation of Wom
en's Clubs; Rev. F. J. Flanagan.
Founder of Boys' Town, .Omaha, Ne
braska; Karl Bofcoo, Director of
Youth Authority of California;
Henry Monsky, President of (tader of
B"nai B'rith; Mrs. John M. Russell,
Army, Y. M. C. A^nd Y.
which are working
A., all of which are working con
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stantiy witn youtn ama runy conver
Uwf -jav fVnL ??ifii),
sant witn UMT proDieins.
Of coarse, not every one interest
ed in the conference could be on the
Executive Committee created for its
promotion. But what strikes one as
sing-ular is the fact that the National
W. a T. U. was refuted the privilege
| of having delegates seated hi the
conference. Hie executive head of
i another organisation was granted
credentials on condition that he re
fraM from bringing up the subject
of alcohol and linking it to juvenile
The conference arrived at the con
clusion that slums, rental restrictions
against children, necessity for .moth
er taking outside work and juris
dictional labor disputes that delay
the erection of homes are definite
causes of juvenile delinquency. The
conference also- recommended over?
hauling the nation's training schools
for youthful offenders, revision of
juvenile court procedures sod the dis
continuance of the practice of sesid
ing youngsters to prison, where -they
are compelled to associate with hard;
ened adult criminals. .
Four commonly recognised factors
in causing juvenile delinquency were
not mentioned in' the findings of the
conference. They are crime-inciting
motion pictures, detective and under
world books and magazines and al
The potency of eertein types . of
books and magazines as crime breed
ers was forcefully brought home to
Washingtonians a few weeks ago
when a policeman was slain by a teen
age boy who admitted being a con
stant reader of such literary trash.
If in doubt about the existence of
such crime stimulating books and
magazines just take time to inspect
the offerings at the average news
stand. Unfortunately the comic sec
tions ot our great daily newspapers
iiihhv wi oiwiiuiic ueverageb
garettes, thanks to the dflig*
courage of one of the delegates,
William V. Mahoney, who is the one
person most responsible fo# the de
livery of lectures on alcohol aad to
baqpo in the senior and junior high
schools of Washington, D. C. On
the second day of the conference i. .
the chair granted permission for Mr.
Mahoney to read his resolution with
the stipulation that it would not be
debated or voted upon. Mr. Mahon
ey*s resolution reads as follows:
"WHEREAS, The use of narcotics
is one of the causes of juvenile de
linquency, therefore be it
"KES6LVED, ' That this National
Conference for the Prevention and
Control of Juvenile Delinquency: rec
ommends the promotion of education
al efforts for the elimination of nar
cotic addiction on the part of chil
dren and youth, and stresses the im
portance of scientific instruction in
public aad private schools regarding
the effects of all narcotics, especially
alcoholic beverages and cigarettes,
to children and adolescents."
By no stretch of the imagination
could this resolution be called "rad
ical," "too strong" or "drastic." Yet
the mere mention of alcohol and to
bacco seemed to frighten those in
charge of the conference. The only
way of knowing that the delegates
felt friendly toward the reso
lution was the generous applause that
followed its reading.
It is highly lamentable that such a
representative conference of promi
nent men and women should be en
couraged to sidestep the movies, al-'
coholic beverages and cigarettes as
causes of juvenile delinquency. The
blame apparently rests on those who
organized sad controlled the delib
erations ofthe conference rather than
the rank end file of the delegate*.
It would seem that the National Con
ference for the Prevention and Con
trol of Juxenlle delinquency did lit
tle more than call attCHfion to the
existence of the problem without'
mentioning such vital factors as
films, drink and smokes because of.
their acceptance, as good form and
usage on the part of so many socially'
Too much revenue comes front ifto-,
tipn pictures, alcoholic beverages and
tobacco products to expect govern-1
mental agencies to discourage their
patronage and use, even for such a!
noble purpose as the reduction of
juvenile delinquency. Any worth-,'
ship willing to sacrifice large reve
nues for the protection of our boys
and girls from exploitation for the
money that can be made from their
THE WHOLE TRUTH 4
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y have a
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