Boy Steals Radio : Second Version

Wednesday, December 11, 1946

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

WNYC's public service series with NYC Department of Correction. Dramatization and meeting of Corrections Classification Board. Boy steals radio and thinks it's his ticket to the future. After dramatization, Classification Board reviews his case.

Early one morning (late in the night), a boy was walking down a quiet street thinking about leaving town. He's stolen a radio to pay for the ticket, and as he walks down the street (to sell it?), a police officer approaches him and asks about the radio. The boy's mother died when he was a boy, the father remarried to a woman who didn't care for the other children well. The father drank too much. The boy was sent to Children's Village for stealing a handbag. Arrested again for breaking a restaurant window. Fought with other children. After discharge from there, arrested again for robbery. Not employed, sent to Warwick Training School, ran away. Was stealing the radio to get away from there. Sentenced to 3 years in the reformatory. Got in to fights frequently. The super superintendent questions him about iodine and razorblades in his possession. The boy hit him and he was sent to Riker's, where he works on a sanitation squad.

Classification Board (Charlotte Carr, Executive Director of the Citizens' Committee on Children in New York; Captain Joseph A. Cukas, in charge of in-service training, Department of Correction; George E. Mears, Probation Officer, Kings County; Herman K. Spector, Director of Education and Recreation, Department of Correction; Dr. Bertram Pollens, Executive Secretary, New York Consultation Center; Norman M. Stone, Correction Department Executive Secretary) reviews his case.

Stone: 18 year old boy who has been insecure since he was 4 years old.

Mears: This young man is frustrated and insecure and has a strong feeling of rejection, after the death of his mother and his relationship with his stepmother. Unskilled and has a fair work record. Youngest of 5 children. Father is known to be a chronic alcoholic. Completed the 8th grade. Low in mechanical and clerical aptitude. How can we get this individual to conform to good standards of citizenship, accept authority, and understand his relationship to his parents.

Stone: Reformatory case and as such served some time in our reformatory. He assaulted employees there and was transferred to the pen, so he is a maximum security case at present. If he can conform a bit, we can create a real problem.

Pollens: Typical of 90% of our inmates in that his problems come from childhood. Repressed feelings towards his father.

Spector: Should be paired with personnel who could best handle his problems.

Pollens: Behavior is determined by unconscious emotional drives. We must go back to his early experiences and his relationship to his father.

Carr: We don't know the reasons for the father's alcoholism. We have to accept society is at fault. This is the kind of case that might well have been solved by foster care.

Cukas: The boy hasn't experienced any real child-parent relationship.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 69958
Municipal archives id: LT925


Charlotte Carr, Joseph A. Cukas, Kit Davidson, George E. Mears, Bertram Pollens, Rod Serling, Herman K. Spector and Norman M. Stone


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About Toward a Return to Society

With a mix of drama and industry assessment, this program (1946) aims to cast prison time as rehabilitative rather than punitive time. General details are provided about each inmate's health, mental state, and crime.  

From the program announcer, “WNYC will offer the first of a new series of public service programs tonight from 8 to 8:30 o’clock when ‘Toward a Return to Society’ makes its premiere broadcast…Designed to acquaint New Yorkers with the work of the Classification Board of the Department of Correction, the series will present radio sessions of the board’s meeting during which actual cases will be discussed…

“Composed of psychiatrists, penologists, wardens, social workers and psychologists, the Classification Board sits in review of each convicted person’s case. Members to be heard during the first four broadcast sessions are Commissioner of Correction Peter F. Amoroso, Norman M. Stone, George E. Meares, Herman K. Spector, Capt. Jerome Adler and Dr. Bertram Pollens.

“Dramatic portions of the script are written by Lilian Supove and the entire presentation is under the supervision of Seymour N. Siegel.”


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