The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 1889. JUVENILE CRIMINALS.
Mr Whitefoord and his brother Magistrates of North Canterbury have done the colony excellent service by the pains they have taken to indicate to the Government and the Legislature the best method of coping with an admitted difficulty, via., that of how best to deal with juveoSe offenders so as to check their development into full blown criminals. In the very well thought out report published a few days ago, and which it is intended to submit to the Government they advise five courses of procedure — all of which we think are eminently wise. These are that provision should be made for the separation of criminal from neglected children instead of sending them, to the same places of detention, as at Burnham for instance, to the manifest risk of contaminating the innocent by the evil communications of the guilty ; that parents guilty of neglecting the proper training of their children should be themselves held to some extent responsible for the conse quences, m some way punishable for that neglect and the consequent loss it entails upon society ; that m order to the better protection of girls the " age of consent " should be raised to at least fourteen; that instead of necessarily committing neg lected children to Industrial Schools the Magistrates should be empowered to apprentice them to persons willing to accept their services ; and, lastly, that a sea-going training ship should be established to which boys could be sent to learn to get their livelihood as sailors. Every one of these proposals is sound and good, and although some of them cannot bo carried out without an expenditure of money, yet thaimpney would be undoubtedly well spent, and it I would be true economy so to spend it be- j I cause calculated to save expenditure and loss to the State and to society m the long run. We sincerely trust tbat this very valuable report will not, after reaching Ministers, bo pigeon-holed and forgotten, but that active steps will be taken, to carry it out', as we are persuaded tbafc the results would bo highly beneficial and satisfactory. Not that all these means if adopted will put an end to juvenile crime altogether, but they would go far to minimise it, which is the next best thiDg.
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