This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
MacIvor answers questions about the Juvenile Delinquency Evaluation Project.
Jay Nelson Tuck moderates.
Panelists: Bernie Lufkowitz, Jack Parker, Jim Farrell, Elaine Paul
Probation system is grossly inadequate. Advises a better recruiting system, better working conditions, better training, and smaller workload. Proposes bringing together the various groups of probation officers currently under different judges. Probation is a good alternative to an institution. Youth can be incorrigible when they're so far alienated from their society that they can't change. Never assume anyone is incorrigible; get them before they get there. Many are averse to school, which lead to truancy and delinquency. Gangs. Advises against a rumored Police Department point system (quota) on delinquents. Role of religion in school: any instruction given would be perfunctory, and that's what the church is for. Moral training (respect for truth) could be helpful. On a whole, there may not actually be an increase in delinquency. The activity is more violent than it used to be because of the use of weapons. Recent incoming groups to the city are where the increase is found. Italians and Irish headed the list once; Puerto Ricans now. Skirts questions about the diminishing reputation of the police department. Increase in the number of arrests; reduction of the number of violent crimes last summer, perhaps because of the presence of the Police. Requests more juvenile aid bureau service, more uniform training services. Institution of curfews. Denies the influence of rock n roll on juvenile delinquency: "music is something that soothes the savage breath." Youth Court reorganization, handling of offenders. Background checks of potential suitors of girls.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72128
Municipal archives id: LT8312
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Should New York City adopt a caricature for juveniles should youth gangs be disbanded have police brutality lessened respect for the law among juveniles are present here when Elvis probation service is a failure for the answers to these and other questions listen now to YOUR said he stations campus press conference in this discussion the editors of college newspaper as QUESTION A prominent personality in the news J. Nelson talk well known newspaper man and critic is the moderator to introduce the panel and tonight's guest here is Mr Tuck. There is probably no subject on which you can start an argument more quickly than juvenile delinquency everybody has an opinion about it whether or not he knows anything about it presumably a part of our difficulty is that none of us knows quite enough about this group that is trying to do something about that is the juvenile delinquency evaluation project which has been studying the problem intensively and has so far made eleven reports on various phases of the subject in my all white house and the work is still continuing the heart of the project is our guest tonight on campus press conference here's Dr Robert M. McKeever a professor emeritus of Columbia University a distinguished author and one of the country's leading sociologists here tonight to question Dr MacKay with Bernie Lefkowitz of the City College observation post Jack Parker and Jim Carroll both of those Fordham student bar association and Elaine Paul of the Hunter College are ups and Jim has the first question because there are present Cuban operational services a failure. Well if you mean by that the services rendered by the provision of this by the probation system which is attached to the court they are. Grossly inadequate and now yes. You say an order to work doing the job then must take a very important part in the direction of guidance of the young person who has been adjudged delinquent earnings not time to an institution in fact putting them on probation is a major all time to descend into an institution now as a provision services going to work to be able to give real guidance to that youngster and this time he's on probation which means he's under surveillance and as it says with a very heavy caseload which these probation officers of the county and we have a limited time at our disposal and also I should add because it's very hard to maintain standard high standards or you have such low salaries and heavy schedules and generally that little of a Korea Well how would you correct the problem would you increase the amount of probation officers or would you stop the indiscriminate placement of people on probation for a house. That a recruiting system which would be possible if we gave them that our conditions Iraq and better salaries and lot caseload we need we need good training for this job but get that in this way and I'm buying another thing we are proposing also so I bring together and one professional body the various groups of probation officer through a side of the city court that I personally entirely separate because I under different courts the different judges presiding over them we think that if there were a united to make long service that be more of a career and be more of a professional standard established them right now and so it could get much better over do you think that they are placing juveniles under an arrangement of like what's on the operation was too readily You know I think on the contrary that's a very good thing to do so long as you know probation of all attended our needs. So I used to work in a community center which was part of Lena and worked in a group called the ninth Precinct area team as a group various social workers in centers in the ninth Precinct. Took it upon themselves to. Work with problem cases in the area that I was wondering if there is any close coordination with groups such as this and could more be transferred or could this help to alleviate the load. By voluntary groups remain instead of by a professional group for a while these are professional social workers but they are working in houses community houses rather than with a court I know some cases where they went into court and. Verified that they'd stand up for child and or a juvenile and then became God again of their probation rather than. I'm not God even I can't but they helped a child a juvenile through his probation and they got a job that said well if they accidentally had associated with the probation when a youngster was put on probation they were a source with a probation officer they could get help from from various agencies that are qualified to give it a mass and passion of Lena is one of the best qualified and the city to give side so I was Jack dark McG. a very I would you say that there is such a thing as an incorrigible you well there are some that are so nearly incorrigible that I wouldn't know the difference but on the other hand on the other hand you never know and moreover if they are incorrigible there was a time when they were not incorrigible they're incorrigible and I got so and you had to. Blaze of the valley and I know so far you and it is from their society when there are lots of drug dealers often that they simply do not see it that it's only can change them at least it takes a long time. Dr Doctor one other question along those lines dealing with our educational system are these incorrigible youths or and juvenile delinquents affecting the education which is available to normal youths being brought up under normal circumstances under-funded go to that now James Mann I point out I wanted to add that when I say that incorrigible I mean there may be some that I reach the stage but I would never assume that anyone with a card number over my major point would be get them before they become incorrigible I say but do you think that these juvenile delinquents as we name them are affecting the educational system today. Well actually they are mostly now taken out of the regular curriculum I would I guess schools even that can be very much a fact fact in it is that they cannot and there are special classes as well as special schools do you want is made do you think that they should be continued to be compelled to go to school until they reach the age of sixteen or do you think some of them should be permitted to go to work in the area or a general to go through the really sixteen year under the present law and I think many of them cannot take well let's call it and I could name a curriculum right through to that age many of them are already so. There are so. To the kind of thing they get in the schools I've had bad divide a bad treatment I've been retarded ever are maybe even they have had a bad teacher sometimes I wouldn't say that's not a case of the case of I'm a teacher myself but anyhow they are there and there are those kids who will not take it anymore and if you keep them in school let's develop a bit of value and they'll be true and when they get through and then the next thing is that they get a link when because you can't be true and last very long without a very great danger you become delinquent as well so I would I would say that you cannot let them out of school very much because you can get them jobs there are various reasons why they can't be implied I won't be employed other unions won't let him or something happen but something could be done to give them my last day in school that I cite on those who might get permits to leave and i'd rather than crease that number but while I stay in school I might be given a special type of training and I could get no regular school or the special division of the schools so it's not a victim greater distinction without decent guys heads well out of there and then there are a program of the which would not go in for anything no way up to much of the academic. That would let them get it in the. Instruction and some of the things that like to do I want to do I can do in a later life and give them a little help and I just want to live in this to help them to know how to get employment a lot of things are going. Forward speaking of schools Dr Mackay where there's a bill pending in the legislature to permit to choose to use corporal punishment What do you think of that I don't know it has risks is I'm going to feel tempted you know but I think that's right. I don't trust pictures enough I don't trust anybody enough to get another thought every. Brownie doctor McKeever moving out of the academic area are teenage gangs necessarily anti-social bodies there are many kinds of teenage gangs the gang is simply a word for the theme of it gets a little bit of a step or a mischievous. Patiently attend to violence. So that there are many kinds of gangs and to be I belong to a gallery and gangs are a natural thing for our young young person to be serving our cause sometimes it can sometimes they get. To be very vicious you know running can gangs become very into socially acceptable acceptable groups. And that's a good idea and it has been tried and sometimes with some degree of success but I guess I would say you've got to get I'm young about to get them in for the sixteen days. That farm team is and I gangs and the gangs you're right down almost to the can they gotten out get in my early deal with them that that's when you got a lot going to be right recently there in the papers reported on the fact that the police department was using a point system I would regard to juvenile delinquents at this point system was making the police department particularly tough. On the young kids. By forcing police officers to make a certain number of a mess within a month. Is this point to actually an operation and what kind of what you did have this kind of mini death metal effect on teenagers if you did I cannot say what exactly an operation and a family are farming. But I must say I do not like pine systems I don't like them in education I don't like them anywhere else why you have to wait that it starts depend on you have been able to get us out of a number of. Units of say cases that I wrestle with out of maybe I don't like to base the one that is made of a person simply on that sometimes a good policeman want a better case made by helping a person and without getting them into trouble. Jam certainly educators have suggested that one of the most basic causes of the current given our democracy problem is the fact that religion has been definitely excluded in any form from the public school system thereby as they charge increasingly group consciousness of the the individual class member but knocking down his own individual and therefore is more prone to conform to group mores then to a basic moral consciousness do you agree with this proposal I think Jim that that's extremely hypothetical in the first place the kind of education I get in the schools were valid to be perfunctory and moreover there are other institutions that are there for the primary primary purpose of giving them religious instruction of the judge and it. Not unfrequently not so often nowadays perhaps the family but that there are institutions for alleged instruction do you think there should be any moral instruction in the schools I think there should be training I think you can teach you can't educate people without giving them some training for it to begin with again and respect for the truth because you do to them to take knowledge as a Ted and not to destructive So that's the beginning of train if you fix them with respect for truth you begin beginning an ethical training and you can go on in many of various other ways to that end in the least interfere with an educational program Jack that Dr we all agree there is a juvenile problem problem today but is there in your opinion any actual increase in juvenile delinquency or is there merely a better reporting system and perhaps more publicity given to juvenile delinquent crimes Well Jack I think that's a rather good question and it has difficulties I mean the answer has difficulties and so I'm going to go not any kind of what I'd say a definitive answer but my own feeling I got some advice but not enough to justify. My theory is that at least there may not be any increase much increase in the total among. Mischief and delinquent behavior by youngsters I know but unfortunately that's not the whole story. That kind of behavior that kind of snow which calls for the attention of the police and the courts is more violent. Than it used to beit is more dangerous. Because in the old days they did not have the. Zip guns they did not use this which now I played they did not have other guns a tall and I thought my father had to live there first of the brickbats in any old thing. And that today I get that I get the occasional you somebody will get a. Bit of a bruise a bit you know broken Hadley but that was rather the rare compared with a kind of very serious things like the stabbing to to find out another leg whatever your change they might have again prove the armaments the are more casualties and less casualties and that that cause more attention to it and of course I hope we are more conscious to at the same time absolute need young people but are certain things that affect any theory any idea you have about growth next year increase remember that the increase is not for the population of the whole province the increase is probably in the coming group. When he might be in the movies and then coming due to this that the those of the high delinquency rate you think if they remain here over a long period when they got then we are going to go to great will automatically be that has been true of these incoming groups of past generations who are no longer an income. The Italians but. Had one time the IRA They want to have their head in the list one time now they don't how do you know them special they were the Puerto Ricans of years ago yes the Puerto Ricans haven't developed yet. More. And more cases. Probably at least. Among the incoming negro from the south the question of just and then there's the question of the question of this combination of the law as a whole lot of things that are more common among these groups. Speaking of. Whether our morals are changing or not whether things are better or worse Jack if there was a study made of cheating in colleges about six months ago. Man took one college out in the Midwest and he found that seventy five percent of the seniors admitted having cheated at one time or another on examination and that most of them didn't think it was dishonest they wouldn't characterize cheating is dishonest does this suggest to you know that we have perhaps less rigid moral standards than we used to have it's very hard to compare the past for the present and with the pump and the present as the advantage how invested just expand. And maybe sell at seventy deployable.