The Treatment of Juvenile Offenders - The Borstal System - The Children of Drunken Parentsthe Evidence of Sick Children

Under the Prevention of Crime Act, which came into operation in August, 1909, young offenders-i.e., persons of sixteen years of age and upwards, and not more than twenty-one-may be sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution, if the Prison Commissioners will receive them, for not less than one, and not more than three years.

Offenders under the Borstal system are taught a trade, and put in the way of obtaining honest employment after being discharged from the institution; and while under detention may gain various privileges by hard work and good conduct.

Punishment Of Children

The conviction of a child or young person is not to be regarded as a conviction for felony by way of forfeiture or disqualification for any employment or office which he may hold.

No sentence of death or of penal servitude can now be passed on a person under sixteen years of age.

A child under fourteen cannot now be imprisoned, and a young person-i.e., a person of fourteen and under sixteen-can only be imprisoned in exceptional cases; that is to say, if he is certified to be of so unruly a character, or so depraved, that he is not fit to be sent to a reformatory or industrial school, or other place provided under the Children Act.

. Offenders under Sixteen

A person under sixteen convicted of murder must be sentenced to be detained during the King's pleasure. For serious offences, such as manslaughter and attempted murder, he may be detained for a specified period in such place as the Secretary of State may direct. For offences punishable with penal servitude or imprisonment, he may be detained for a period not exceeding one month.

A youthful offender of twelve years of age and upwards may be sent to a certified reformatory school or to an industrial school.

And for certain offences male persons under sixteen may be whipped. Youthful offenders, if of the age of fourteen, may be fined; in rare cases only, imprisoned; and young persons may also be dealt with by being placed under the supervision of a probation officer, and being bound over to come up for judgment, or the parents or guardians of the offenders may be ordered to be fined or to give security for their behaviour.

Children Of Drunkards

When the parent of a child or young person is convicted of an offence of cruelty, and is an habitual drunkard within the meaning of the Act, such parent or person living with the parent may, in- lieu of imprisonment, be ordered to be detained in a retreat, provided that they so consent, and after any objection on the part of the wife or husband of the drunkard has been considered by the Court, if the Court is satisfied that provision will be made for defraying the expenses of the person during detention. The person may then be detained for a period not exceeding two years.

This, however, is merely an alternative, and does not affect the power of the Court to order a person convicted under the Inebriates Act to be detained in a certified inebriate reformatory.

Habitual Drunkard

An habitual drunkard is a person who, not being amenable to any jurisdiction in lunacy, is, by reason of habitual intemperate drinking of intoxicating liquor, at times dangerous to himself or herself or to others, or incapable of managing himself or herself or his or her affairs. The definition applies to a person who habitually drinks to excess, and who is, in consequence, at times, either when drunk or sober, dangerous or incapable. It is a question of fact, for a person might come within the definition who, in the intervals of his drinking bouts, was neither dangerous nor incapable.

Child Unable to Attend Court

The offence must have been wholly or partly committed within six months of the bringing of the charge, and if the child is certified as too ill to attend the police-court or to give evidence at the trial, a justice may call on the child and take in writing its deposition on oath, and the same, signed by the justice, may be admitted in evidence against the prisoner.

Glossary To Fire Insurance

Claim against the hundred. Now to be made to police authority for district.