Mounting Concern Over Juvenile Delinquency
A junior crime wave of serious proportions led the the Senate at its 1953 session to authorize the first congressional investigation of juvenile delinquency in the history of the country. The inquiry is to be opened in November by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. While the investigation may disclose nothing not presently known to specialists in the field, its findings are expected to shock the public, as did those of the Senate crime investigation of 1950–51, and to stimulate concerted action on the problem in areas where it is acute. No new federal legislation is now contemplated.
Despite growing efforts to provide constructive recreational and other facilities, misbehavior among young people has increased at an alarming rate during recent years. At least a million boys and girls were picked up by the police last year, according to the U. S. Children's Bureau. Countless others whose behavior was no better, and may have been worse, escaped police attention. F.B.I. Director Hoover, who will be among the first witnesses at the Senate inquiry, has noted the existence of “a myriad of programs to combat juvenile delinquency,” most of which have failed to produce the expected results. “Hundreds of children's agencies have provided … needed services for America's youngsters and there assuredly has been a conscientious effort in some parts of the United States to curb the delinquency problem, Yet delinquent behavior continues.”
Scope of Forthcoming Congressional Investigation
The stated purposes of the forthcoming senatorial investigation of unwholesome activity among young people are to determine (1) its extent, character, causes and contributing factors; (2) adequacy of existing laws dealing with young offenders; (3) sentences imposed and other correctional action taken by federal courts; and (4) extent to which juveniles are violating narcotic laws.