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In many of our small orphanages the children do not receive the
THE JUVENILE COURT LAW.
The juvenile court law now in operation applies to boys under sixteen years of age and girls under seventeen years of age. This age limit should be extended to eighteen years for both boys and girls
THE VILLAGE FOR EPILEPTICS.
We believe that the growth of the Indiana Village for Epileptics should be natural and slow and that the legislature should provide for its development in that way. It should be the policy of this institution to do the greatest good to the greatest number, and for this reason it should receive first those cases that are most hopeful. We believe it would be wise to erect a cottage for boys of school age, with two school rooms, one for the ordinary school training and the other for manual training. Nowhere is the epileptic child so much out of place as in the public schools. In the Village for Epileptics such a child could enter into normal life and be trained to a life of usefulness.
The jail system we have is a relic of the olden times. It is not creditable to the State. The result of its operations is injurious. Our jails, as they are conducted, do more harm than good. In a rational prison system the jails should be simply places of detention. Convicted prisoners should be confined elsewhere. Provision should be made by law for the official condemnation of county jails by some board. The condemnation should be provided for when the jail is badly out of repair; when it is unsanitary; when the moral conditions are bad. In any event the authorities should be notified and given a reasonable time to remedy the wrong. In case of failure to do so, the facts should be properly presented by the board, and it should prohibit the use of the jail until the fault was remedied or a new jail built.
Most of the prisoners who are convicted and sentenced to jail are charged with violating the State laws. It is hard to understand why the State should not have charge of them. In most of our jails the prisoners are not separated, they are not classified, and they lead idle and frequently immoral lives. Why should not the State establish one or more workhouses as the need seems to arise, under State control, conducted on the merit system? These could be located upon diversified land, so as to afford as great a variety of employment as possible. The experience of some of our sister States in this way should encourage us as to the probable success of such a venture. To these workhouses all convicted prisoners could be sent who now go to the county jails, except the sentence be an exceedingly short one. There they would be under good discipline and proper training, and would have regular employment. The prisoners could be more cheaply maintained in such institutions, and, inasmuch as they would be conducted in accordance with the best reformatory methods, better results should be secured.
THE CORRECTIONAL DEPAR MENT OF THE WOMAN'S PRISON.
The law of 1907 creating the correctional department of the Woman's Prison, provides that all women convicted of violation of the law the punishment for which has heretofore consisted of confinement in the county jail or workhouse, shall be sentenced to the State institution. However, when the imprisonment adjudged is ninety days or less, or when the fine and costs assessed would not require a woman to serve more than thirty days, it is left to the discretion of the judge to send her either to the State institution or to the county jail or workhouse. This proviso will doubtless leave a great many women in the county jails. In the majority of such institutions there is a lack of proper sex separation; the women prisoners must depend upon the care of men; there are no arrangements for their employment; scandals frequently develop because of their presence there. It seems wise, therefore, to make such change in the law as will remove all convicted women from the county institutions. The correctional department of the Woman's Prison should be enlarged in order to receive them.
THE INDIANA BOYS' SCHOOL.
The proper training of the boys in the Indiana Boys' School demands many things not now possible because of the small appropriation granted the institution for its maintenance. The educational facilities should be improved; a fully equipped gymnasium is needed; the property should be thoroughly repaired; an additional parole agent should be employed. The next legislature should provide for these needs and should make a more liberal allowance for the operating expenses of the school. It has long needed a larger maintenance appropriation than it has received.
JUDGES' VISITS TO CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
Under our new system of criminal laws the various reformatory and penal institutions of the State are really a part of the judicial system. Our judges as a rule do not understand them or their work. It would be wise if provision could be made requiring each judge of a circuit or criminal court from time to time to visit each of these institutions, and providing for the payment of his actual traveling expenses. The value of such a step would be very great in the administration of the law and helpful to the institutions.
THE SCHOOL FOR FEEBLE-MINDED YOUTH. .
Under the present law, committing women between the ages of sixteen and forty-five years to the custodial department of the School for Feeble-minded Youth, the complainant is liable for the costs of such procedure. The law should be changed so that the prosecuting attorney can bring such action upon information. The institution's custodial department for women should be enlarged. The State has never taken a more important step than the establishment of this department. The building erected in 1901, with a capacity of 130, has long been full, and there is urgent need for an addition in order that other women of this unfortunate class can be given the care and protection of the State.
UNPAID BOARDS OF TRUSTEES.
The Board of State Charities, from its beginning, has favored unpaid boards of trustees for our State institutions. After an experience of seventeen years, during a part of which time most of our boards have served without compensation, we are more than ever impressed with the belief in unpaid boards of trustees. We believe that they render the best service and in all respects are more satisfactory. Many persons will accept such positions as an honor. The service they render will be as faithful as if paid for. The small compensation allowed is not an attraction to those who would be glad to render service for its own sake. It is attractive, however, to many who will accept such positions for the small salaries paid. We feel it would be better for the institutions and for the State if the boards were composed of members who were paid only their actual expenses.
SUPERVISION OF THE STATE'S WARDS.
There is nothing which pays so well, whether measured by the good it accomplishes or by the value received for money expended, as thorough supervision of those who are wards of the State and have gone out from its several institutions. The dependent children who have been placed out in family homes are supposed to be looked after by representatives of the orphans' homes from which they have gone and by agents appointed by the Board of State Charities. There is supervision by special agents of the men released on parole from the Reformatory and the State Prison. There is also an agent of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home who does some work and should do more. Additional agents are needed at the Indiana Boys' School and the Industrial School for Girls, and all these agencies should be brought to their highest efficiency in order that good homes may be sought and that a complete and thorough supervision of all the State's wards may be had.
As will be shown in this report, the Board of State Charities is not able, with the appropriation made to it, to do the visiting or exercise the supervision over the State's minor wards that the legislature intended. The appropriation is not sufficient to properly do this work. Therefore we recommend an increase by which at least two agents may be added to the force of officers.
SICK AND CRIPPLED CHILDREN.
Those who have to deal with the dependent and neglected children of our State know that there are many cases where these little , ones can not be received into a family, or are not permitted to receive an education or learn a trade, because they are crippled or sick. Many of these could be readily cured if the right provision was made for their care and treatment. As it is they have not a fair chance in the world. Their infirmities shut them out of good homes, prevent their obtaining an education and deprive them of a
chance to earn a livelihood. Consequently they are burdens upon their relatives or upon the public throughout their lives. By a very small expenditure per capita, in an institution provided for their needs, a large number of them could be restored to their natural rights as children the right to a home, to an education, to work for a living.
PROVISION FOR EXPENSES TO STATE CONFERENCE OF
The value of the State Conference of Charities is known to all who have given consideration to the subject. Objection is sometimes made by a disbursing officer to the payment of expenses of an official in attending these conferences. Definite provision should be made by statute for the payment of this expense.