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Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, Mr. Attorney General. We are very happy to have had you with us. Your testimony has been most helpful to the subcommittee. I wish you good luck.
Mr. LAFOLLETTE. Thank you very much, Senator.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BRONSON C. LA FOLLETTE, ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF
WISCONSIN Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for inviting me to appear before the subcommittee to testify with respect to S. 1248, the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Act of 1967.
I am sure that you gentlemen, by now, are vividly aware of the problem that juvenile delinquency and juvenile crime presents the United States today. You have read in the report of the President's Crime Commission that the arrest rates for persons age 15 through 17 are the highest in the country, particularly for the crimes of burglary, larceny and auto theft. You are also aware, I am sure, that the number of young people in our population, in terms of both percentage and total number, is increasing faster than any other age group in the population. This simple statistical fact poses grave problems to our juvenile justice systems. For instance, without any increase in the percentage of juveniles who become involved in delinquent acts, the total number of juvenile delinquents and total amount of juvenile crime is bound to increase sharply. As a matter of fact, the only way to prevent a rise in juvenile crime in the face of our rapidly increasing juvenile population, would be to sharply decrease the percentage of juvenile delinquents in the juvenile population as a whole. This gentlemen, presents a formidable task to our social institutions that deal with our nations youth, such institutions as our schools, our churches, our community youth organizations, our juvenile justice administration system, our community welfare agencies, etc.
Let me give you an example of how this juvenile population explosion has affected the state training schools in Wisconsin. In 1957 the reception center of the School for Boys at Wales admitted a total of 615 delinquent boys for that Fear. Five years later, in 1962, the number had gone up to 1,017. By the end of 19,6 the number of admissions had increased to 2,239 delinquent boys. That is a 100% increase in the last four years alone, and nearly a 400% increase in the last ten years.
There is another, lesser known statistical fact about our American population that bodies ill for institutions concerned with youth. This is the fact that we are presently faced with a shortage of people in our adult working population. This is because most of the adults now in our productive age groups were born during the depression decade, 1930–1940. In that decade there were only 24 million births recorded in the United States, as compared to 30 million births from 1940 to 1950 and 40 million births from 1950 to 1960. Mr. Ben J. Wattenberg, writing in collaboration with Richard M. Scammon, director of the U.S. Bureau of Census, 1961–65, states in This U.S.A. that “these facts add up to one startling conclusion: Our productive labor force has diminished drastically in relation to the number of people it must support. ... The Statistics remarkable demographic situation : Here in the nation of soon-to-be 200,000,000, we are short of people ucho produce. Of course we're short of doctors and engineers—we're short of mature, productive people."
What does this shortage of productive people mean to our juvenile institutions? The social sciences have made great progress in the past half century in understanding the causes of juvenile delinquency, and in developing tools with which it can be prevented or cured. This means that our juvenile institutions now have tools at their disposal by which they could bring about a decrease in the percentage of delinquency, which is totally necessary if our juvenile crime rate is to stop climbing. let alone decrease. But, despite the increasingly effective tools at our disposal, the population statistics which I have cited suggest that our social institutions dealing with youths will be increasingly unable to prevent or cure delinquency in the immediate future. This is because they are faced with a shortage of trained, professional personnel, and have no immediate prospects for filling out their depleted ranks. Yet, at the same time, they are faced with a fantastic juvenile population explosion.
This means that any program which hopes to control the rising juvenile crime rate must have three major thrusts, each of which is absolutely necessary to cope with the present situation. First of all, there must be a de-emphasis on centralized programs, and a development of local community programs which can more effectively use persons who are younger and less trained. At the same time. there must be a major investment made in the training of college youth and young adults in the fields of social sciences and social work.
Finally, a major effort must be made to make our present jurenile institutions, including the juvenile justice system, the educational systems, and community youth and welfare services, to operate at maximum efficiency, so that their scarie resources will produce maximum benefits to our society.
I think we should examine these two bills, S. 1248 and H.R. 12120, to see how they may work, in actuality, in light of the problem facing our juvenile agencies in the immediate future. I am sure that you all realized, when I was speaking of the first thrust a program must take, that of an emphasis on local community services, I had in mind the Youth Service Bureaus recommended in the President's Commission report.
California has adopted some experimental programs along this line. Out of a randomly selected group of juvenile delinquents, they put half in a correctional institution, and the other half were returned to the community, to a program tailored to meet the needs of the individual. They found out what each individual needed, whether he needed to learn to read and write, whether he needed to learn a trade, etc. They had some rather startling results: the recidivism rate for the experimental group was roughly one-half that of the group that went to the conventional institution.
I do not know the details of this California experimental program, but I do know that cutting the rate of recidivism is the kind of preventive program that is absolutely essential to halting the rise of all crime in the United States, and the California in-the-community program has been successful.
I believe that any bill that is passed must contain provisions to quickly bring about the formation of Youth Service Bureaus. These organizations must be designed to carry out comprehensive preventative and rehabilitative programs at the community level, and to do so by using all the resources of the community that are available, including those of persons from the community. Persons from the community usually may lack the professional training, but they more than make up for this with an in-depth understanding of the problems of their community and the needs of its youth.
Let me make a few specific comments about the contents of the bill that is finally passed. This bill must contain provisions for the inclusion of persons at the community level in the planning and administration of its programs, if their expertise on the problems of the community is to be fully utilized. Secondly, the bill must provide for the inclusion of all agencies presently working in the community. This means, for one thing, that any projects that the Office of Economic Opportunity is operating in the community must be included, whether or not that program may later be transferred to some other agency. Also, some thought should be given to specifically mentioning, in the bill, the inclusion of projeets that are being run by private businesses and corporations. This would have the effect of further encouraging such projects.
As I have just emphasized, it is essential that we utilize the large numbers of younger and untrained persons immediately available in the metropolitan environment. We cannot expect, however, that these persons will be capable of meaningful functioning in any youth service program without professional guidance.
The potential source of professionally trained persons to fill the gap is availalbe to us now in the ever increasing undergraduate enrollment in our colleges and universities. Our challenge is to utilize this source to its fullest capacity. We must encourage the establishment of new, and the continued upgrading of existing, undergraduate and graduate programs in the area of social service and social work. These facilities must not be simply available, however; they must present curriculum designed to develop teachers capable of meeting the demands that working with juveniles will place on their imagination and understanding.
Vital to this type of training is the ability to get out of the classroom ; to learn in the environment in which one will be expected to lead. Internships and inservice training programs, in all areas of juvenile crime potential, must be available on both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Such potential areas for juvenile crime may exist not only in the metropolitan area, but also in the suburbs, in the less densely populated areas in our states.
The student population of our colleges and universities is not only increasing in size, but the student body is evidencing increasing social awareness and concern. The students are there. They're interested. We need only to take advantage of this interest to provide the numbers of professionally trained people that will be needed in the coming years.
The leadership training programs must be established and they must be staffed. Stipends for students engaged in internships or in-service training must be available to ensure the full effectiveness of the programs. I feel that the bill that is passed must contain provisions for this training.
I would now like to discuss the third major thrust that a legislative program must take-providing more efficiency in our systems for the administration of juvenile justice. Let me insert a few words of caution here, at the outset of this discussion.
First of all, I would like to warn against putting too much emphasis on reform of the jurenile justice system, and by reform I mean both the movement to make it more "humane" and the movement to make it "tongher." I am convinced that the number one problem with our juvenile justice systems today is that they are too overworked and too overcrowded to efficiently utilize the resources they bare, and to achieve the goals they espouse.
The sheer crush of numbers makes it almost impossible for our present institutions to “rehabilitate” juveniles, and prevent them from turning into adult criminals. Our juvenile justice systems have been reduced to systems whereby jureniles are screened, processed and held, and ultimately returned to their communities with little assurance that they will turn into useful adult citizens.
The "get tough on juveniles” approach to which some people subscribe would only add to the already overwhelming burden placed on our institutions. Furthermore, I do not believe that the threat of swift punishment would significantly decrease the number of juveniles who get in trouble with the law. First of all, centuries of experience with our punitive adult criminal system have proven that punishment alone cannot reduce or eliminate crime and criminal tendencies. Secondly, as the United States Supreme Court recently recognized in the Gault case, our present juvenile justice system has been punitive in fact. Juvenile delinquents, and juveniles in general, were aware of this fact before the Supreme Court recognized it, yet the threat of punishment inherent in the juvenile justice system has not reduced the number of juvenile delinquents in the country, nor eren prevented a large percentage from repeating delinquent acts, even after having been institutionalized.
l’nder either approach, rehabilitative or punitive, huge expenditures by the states, with or without the help of the federal government, would be required to provide our present juvenile justice systems with facilities adequate for the task with which they are presently faced. And even if the states were to pour millions of dollars more into the construction of new facilities to meet the demands of the juvenile population explosion, it would be next to impossible for them to obtain experienced, well-trained professional personnel necessary to staff the new facilities. I am convinced that we must look elsewhere than to our present juvenile justice system if we are to find means to cope with the problems of juvenile crime with which we are presently faced.
We might take a lesson from our mental institutions. Until recent years, our Wisconsin mental institutions were little more than places to which the mentally ill could be removed from the community. They were, in effect, for holding, not curing. Now, new techniques have been devised for treating the mentally ill within the community, and the population of our Wisconsin mental institutions has been decreasing, despite the general increase of population in the state.
Community based programs for the prevention of delinquency, and the treating of delinquents, would mean great savings in cost to the states-the cost of building and staffing expensive new centralized institutions.
There are many other added advantages of community-based programs. First of all they have a much greater opportunity to act preventively. They have the chance of doing a complete job of assessing and meeting the needs of a potential delinquent on first contact, before he ever becomes a delinquent. The communitybased program should have the total resources of the community available to it, including the resources of educational institutions and their psychologists, of religious institutions, of youth welfare and service agencies, and of knowledgeable and dedicated local individuals. Our present juvenile justice systems have few of these resources. Furthermore, the fact that a legal determination of delinquency must be made usually means that a comprehensive preventive program designed for the individual would not be implemented at first contact.
Emphasis on community-based programs has the added advantage of using the juvenile's parents and family to fuller potential. Our present juvenile laws, and most writings in the juvenile field, concentrate on the juvenile as an individual, and tend to forget that, at the age groups of the juveniles we are talking about, the parents and family still have a significant influence in the youth's life. They could play a much more important role in the prevention of delinquency, Granted, there are parents who are delinquents themselves, or who subconsciously drive their children toward delinquency, but I believe the experience of field psychologists and other trained personnel will bear me out when I say that many parents are capable of playing a much more important role in controlling their children, and in preventing or minimizing the development of delinquent tendencies. I believe that the juveule laws should not ignore the role of the parents, as most of them do today, but, rather, should recognize and encourage parental responsibility.
Finally, emphasis on developing community-based programs will take the pressure off our state institutions, and our state juvenile justice systems. I am convinced that, if this great burden were removed, our juvenile justice systems would be able to work more effectively with the hard-core delinquent, and be able to produce true rehabilitation in a much larger percentage of cases. I believe studies are needed to assess the actual capabilities of our juvenile justice systems, and to rewrite the laws to make sure that the youth gets the treatment necessary for his rehabilitation, and that, at the same time, specialized resources are not wasted.
There is also great need for studies of delinquency in middle and upper class areas, and especially in our suburbs. Studies have, so far, been concentrated in urban slum areas. The reason behind this is that there are quantitatively more delinquents available for study in such areas. These studies have have been very useful in helping us to understand slum delinquency.
But delinquency patterns exist at every level and in every subculture of our society. The proverbial rich man's son who leads the life of a playboy, squanders his money, and is a totally unproductive individual is in terms of his culture delinquent in all the legal sense of the word. He is a deviant from the norm of highly productive people. His deviancy is peculiar to his sub-culture, i.e., that of the supper classes, yet is as much a product of that culture as is the delinquency of slum youth. What I am saying is that all classes and cultures of people produce their own peculiar behavior problems. This is a basic proposition of the sociologists which has been all to frequently misunderstood because the studies have been concentrated on slum areas. But the rise of crime in the suburbs shows that we need more studies of middle and upper class areas, and the causes of delinquency there.
Finally, I would like to say a word about the Gault case. Some people have interpreted it as demanding that we do away with the juvenile justice system. or make it, in effect, a procedural carbon copy of the adult criminal system. I do not read the Gault case that way. I believe that it requires us to look at the system as it exists in fact rather than in theory. For example, the court recognized that the juvenile justice system is in fact punitive and that is why it held that fundamental fairness must be guaranteed to the juvenile.
But there is a second thrust to Gault which tells us that the jurenile justice system must be cleaned up—not abandoned. Gault tells us to close some of the gaps between theory and practice. If we, in fact, provide the guarantees that the system provides in theory, this would in itself make the system more compatible with the requirements of 14th Amendment Due Process. The adult criminal system has proved to be a failure in the prevention and cure of crime. The juvenile system has not yet been given a fair chance. The time has come for all of us to do so. I believe that the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention And Control Act of 1967 is a step in the right direction.
Senator CLARK. We will take a short recess at this time. (At this point in the hearing a short recess was taken.) Senator CLARK. Let us resume the hearing.
Mr. Rector, we are happy to have you with us. Will you identify the gentleman with you?
Mr. RECTOR. Yes. This is my associate, Mark Furstenberg, who is our Washington representative.
Senator CLARK. Very happy to have you, sir.
I have had a chance to scan your prepared statement. I would like to have it printed in full in the record. I think you make a number of excellent points which have been made also by other witnesses. Personally, I find myself in sympathy with them.
I would suggest that you just hit the high spots and perhaps tell us a little bit about the work of the National Council as it impinges on the legislation we are considering. STATEMENT OF MILTON G. RECTOR, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUN
CIL ON CRIME AND DELINQUENCY; ACCOMPANIED BY MARK
The National Council on Crime and Delinquency has for many years provided technical consultation and management study and survey services to juvenile courts, State agencies, and Federal agencies in all parts of the United States. Each year our technical staff, now officed in 18 States and four regional offices, goes into about 400 communities a year.
Senator CLARK. Are you financed by public funds ?
Mr. RECTOR. As a nongovernmental agency, our operating expenses are financed totally by contributions.
Our only public funds are restricted grants for research and demonstration, and our contract with the National Institute of Mental Health whereby we keep all abstracts of professional writings about crime, delinquency, and abstracts of all research and demonstrations, with the National Institute of Mental Health clearinghouse. So there is now a repository of everything that is going on in this field at the present time.
I mention this just briefly as background, because the organization does not pretend to have all the answers. But it is aware of what is going on in the United States and the significant issues and problems.
There is one issue not in my statement that I would like to speak to. I was reminded by the testimony of the attorney general from Wisconsin. And that is the need for a uniform accounting system, State by State and nationally, for the juvenile and the criminal justice system. This is why I allude in my statement to the need for coordinating, planning at State and National levels, between HEW and Justice, evaluating how moneys are being spent, how planning is being done, so that we can, before the Federal Government spends very many millions of dollars, develop an accounting system to measure the effectiveness of police practices, the effectiveness and decision making of juvenile fam. ily and criminal courts.
Senator CLARK. This might loosely be called systems analysis—very loosely?
Mr. RECTOR. This is the base material that any good systems analysis requires.
For example, we were invited by the Governor of Oregon and the Governor of Oklahoma, and the Governor of Indiana this past year to do statewide analyses of their systems of dealing with offenders after arrest. And we always have the problem of gathering data, finding out how many offenders they handle, recommending training programs for judges who look at the same case with different eyes and different biases, which will be corrected only by good judicial training programs. And the same for police departments and probation departments.