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50 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 462 (1959-1960)
Thoughts Upon an Impact Study of an Industrial School for Male Delinquents; Ritchie, Oscar W.

handle is hein.journals/jclc50 and id is 474 raw text is: THOUGHTS UPON AN IMPACT STUDY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL
The author is Associate Professor of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.
The test of a law, court procedure or administration of justice in any of its aspects, is to be found in
its effect upon people; first of all, of course, upon the people to whom thelaw, procedure or administra-
tion is directly applied. Consequently, nothing that courts and penal institutions do is complete before
authorities have discovered their impact upon those who have heen through the mill.-EDrroR.

The reflections presented here are based upon a
recently completed study of the impact of an
industrial school upon its resident male delin-
quents. Specifically, this study was concerned
with determining the relationship between the
delinquents' assessments of the industrial school
and the length of time they had spent in residence.
The delinquents' assessments were obtained
through a questionnaire administered en masse
to the total student population of the institution.
When the questionnaire responses were classified
into favorable and unfavorable categories
and compared on the basis of the varying lengths
of time spent in residence by the respondents, no
significant differences were found.
Despite this finding, time is a central consider-
ation in the containment of delinquents. What is
more, because of its heterogeneous population, if
this school does in fact make an impact upon its
charges, the time required to do so can be expected
to vary rather widely.
It is probable, however, that the total character
of this institution is such as to preclude the exertion
of any considerable impact upon those committed
to its care. For certainly, the rehabilitative in-
fluences of an institution are not unrelated to its
size, personnel, facilities, and the other com-
ponents of its total structure. For the purpose at
hand, then, some reflections upon certain aspects
of the total institutional structure might well
prove fruitful.
The observations or reflections which follow are
based upon information gained from official
records and reports as well as general but relevant
literature. In addition, they are supported by
information, impressions, and insights gained from
personal visits to the institution and formal and
informal discussions with members of both staff
and student populations.
But first, a list of the structural and operational

features of this institution which probably inter-
fere with its effective functioning would include:
1. Its excessively large student population.
2. Its heterogeneous but relatively unclassified student
3. Its inadequacies in professional personnel and
services as well as in educational, recreational, and
vocational facilities.
4. The minimum contacts and relationships between
the boys and their families as reflected through
letter-writing, familial visits, and  conferences
with the field counselors.
5. The relative lack of positive efforts toward the
development of self-discipline as well as the general
absence of opportunities for decision-making and
responsible behavior.
6. The absence of consensus regarding treatment
techniques and methods; and the great concern
for and emphasis upon custody and control.
7. The numerous rules rigidly and categorically en-
forced and the little attention to the individual
needs of the boys.
The study discussed in this paper was concerned
with an analysis of delinquents' assessments of a
particular industrial school. Thus, caution must be
exercised against drawing broad, or final conclu-
sions even though they be limited to the particular
population in question. Despite the need to
exercise such caution, this particular experience
suggests that the basic research approach utilized
might well be refined and applied to the same
problem as it relates to other institutions similar
to the one under analysis.
Ideally, the prime objective of industrial schools
is to bring about positive changes in the attitudes,
values, and    behavior of committed      juvenile
offenders. With this objective in mind, it is gener-

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