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His education informs the common mind. Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined. Toward. This series the tender twigs proposes to bring together those best able to address themselves to the individual and social problems of youth in the twentieth century. It proposes to discuss a few of the most clearly recognized problems of our time. Mental health. Delinquency crime social pressures and human growth. And the practical steps that parents school community and church may take. In order to ensure youth development that is safe sane and straight. The tender twigs is produced and recorded by W. K.. Our
radio at Michigan State University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The tender twigs are you a task to help them grow safe sane and straight. The title of this program those who serve this program features a single guest. Each week we present a distinguished person who we feel has left a mark on our time by his thought and by his work. As it relates to our youth. Our guest Dr. Joseph lawman sheriff of Cook County Illinois a man who has had many years of experience both in federal and state projects and in the mass media as he has brought the problem of delinquency and aiding our youth to the public. Our interviewer for the series is Ben Thompson Research sociologist with a Michigan
Department of Corrections. Dr. Lowman you have written maybe delinquency isn't the right word. What should we say. Well I raise that point because the term delinquent was coined originally to protect young people from the adverse effects to being stigmatized as criminal. It was coined in order to regard youngsters as in some sense incomplete or in some sense irresponsible for reasons beyond their own personal control because they were immature. But who is there today who can say that the term delinquent is less stigmatizing than the word criminal. As a matter of fact once branded as such a youngster carries the shadow of that influence through the rest of his days. And if it isn't the right word it isn't. It is the problem that it is because it continues to provide a stigmatizing and therefore alienating social experience as a result of the way in which the public deals with that problem. Our interest and
the interest of the juvenile courts when they were originally founded was to rescue young people from adverse conditions both social and private in terms of the family and to give them that kind of guidance and direction and opportunity that would make them upright citizens. We've wandered from that and even under the cover of the juvenile court today our emphasis for the most part punitive it is negative. We arrest detain and incarcerate and as a consequence of that unbeknown to most of us have created a covert process of the law. Which is strange as persons from conventional society and makes them eventually seek only their own kind on the other side of the law. This happens in all too many cases there are very few youngsters Mr Johnson who would in fact not be a judge delinquent for their acts. If the public had had occasion to refer them to the police. It's fortunate I might say that most of them don't get referred to the police and they recover from their initial misadventures and therefore do not have visited upon the effects of the
stigmatizing as delinquent. I think this is the old business of giving a man a name you give him the deed certainly so but in this instance you not only give him the deed but you insure a process a kind of mechanism which society unwittingly has provided by which he will come to the commission of deeds which otherwise he would not have become involved in. I think I can illustrate this if I may in another way. I've said on occasion that half of the crime problem consists of the mistaken notions of the community in dealing with a crime problem that is to say half of it comes from irresponsibility in the community. This misadventures of youth as a result of broken home broken family or indeed low economic or social status or their membership in minority groups. And one way or another they may be introduced to values our norms which are at odds with those of conventional society. But on the other hand society has a corrective for these kinds of things in their own right through time youngsters
learn what is prized what is accepted and they get in line so to speak. What if before this happens we introduce the youngster because of these mysteries to the police. Then we have put him in the eyes of his own community apart. We have regarded him not only a second class in terms of his group status but in the eyes of the law and we introduce him to other persons like himself in the police station in the courts and certainly in correctional institutions which most people don't realize are communities just like the communities in which they formerly lived and even need more intense as communities than their original neighborhoods because there's nothing. With so little privacy and so much intimacy as is represented by a jail house or a penitentiary or to reform school and to live day after day week after week indeed year after year in such a close compact experience with other persons like yourself is to give them a common quality which they did not possess in the first instance. You see our youngsters get into trouble for
different reasons but they may be staying in trouble or remain in trouble for the same reason and that same reason is visited by the community and that's why I regard half of the crime problem as the way in which the community ill advisedly deals with a crime problem. We make our adult professional criminals they become habituated because of the misadventure of the law rather than because of the way in which from infancy they are determined to be criminal. Maybe I should say right here that Cook County Illinois. For those of you around our nation listening to this program is Chicago Chicago Illinois one of the largest cities in the world. And the man you're listening to is a sociologist and sheriff of Cook County. He's written an article titled A sociologist sheriff speaks out about juvenile delinquency. Could we take piece by piece of this some of the things that you've said and pick them up for a listening public. What about the family the changing family as it is
affected by Quincey problem. Yes I think this is the core of the problem in many respects because the family more than any other group reflects the instabilities the transformation and changes of the society at large here in Cook County we have a case par excellence as you perhaps are aware of a whole population of the United States is in a process of transition and relocation at the present time. About one third of the population of the United States has come to live within the circle of 14 cities of which Chicago is one. The Metropolitan Community is the new community of our time. But in this new community have been gathered together from the ends of the nation from the rural hinterland from the smaller villages and towns and from the older major cities population sorted resorted and resettled new population coming into the older sections of the central city order population moving out from the center of the
city toward the suburbs. In each instance however the individual family is so to speak on its own it is separated from other families. It is no longer reinforced and supported by attitudes and norms and understanding's which are generally participated in by not only a family but numbers of families so that the behavior of the youngster is modeled fashioned and directed not only within the home but within other families and in the surrounding community which reinforce those standards of the home. This puts our youngsters at loose ends and of course as the families are moving they are in themselves more in stable or unstable I should say they're more disorganized. They may even come apart for a time so that the mother and the children are left in one place while the father moves on before he takes up a new settlement. I know of one section in the city here of Chicago where you can make this astonishing observation. There is a primary school in which 40
percent of the young people in that school have never experienced a father symbol in the home. I don't mean by that that they don't think they have fathers they certainly are aware of that but they have never experienced one at breakfast at lunch or to dinner or in the afternoon or in the evening. Here are youngsters that are growing up without the effective role of the Father being played in a family life of which they are parts. Small wonder that those youngsters are incapable of expressing in their own behavior the understanding of the point of view the norms that would come from a well-balanced family organization. There is more of this than people realized in these places of translation families out of the South. Into the urban centers of the North families out of the slum areas of the north into the suburban areas of the north so that you have interestingly enough because of unstable families not only in the slum but some incomplete and not yet well established families in the suburban areas. New
delinquency emerging in otherwise well-adjusted community life. And so you have the greatest rate of increase today in delinquency spoken of from the standpoint of its base occurring in middle class areas at the periphery of the great cities and this is something for these communities to be alarmed about and I think concerned about in new ways. Actually I think most of us know and having worked with the delinquent and you've said one third of the nation's population now lives in 14 cities in this country. We know that delinquency is rarely encountered in a community of between five and 15000 for instance very few managers committed to the Michigan penal institutions come from communities of that size. How about the gang. This is something which you no doubt encounter here in Chicago. Well I think the gang although in most people's minds is associated with some very horrible predatory organization of adults is really
a term that applies to any grouping of young people or older people that grows up outside the conventional organized formal influences of the community. In other words what you may not think of as a gang but simply a playgroup on a corner is really the stuff out of which gangs are made. We use the tern gang because a particular group of youngsters may commit some act which therefore makes them objectionable to us and we give it the name gang by way of the reputation that it has earned for itself as that kind of a group. The real significance of these groups is that there are more and more of them developing outside the control and direction of the adult community and they represent the effort of all human beings to provide for themselves a social experience and a solution of their problems collectively which are not provided for by some responsible action by the community itself. They start out as play groups seeking adventure. Seeking and providing opportunities for personal expression in terms of
affection in terms of response relationships these may seem like sentimental phrases we have heard it so often said. Although I suppose not often from a sheriff that words like affection and love are simply ways of coddling bad kids. But I cannot in good conscience turn my back upon what I know to be a fact namely that kids without affection are mean kids. Kids without affection are frustrated kids and all these other kids that become hostile if there is a group of youngsters who has had visited upon them all the meanness that society could muster. It is these kids that have gotten into difficulty and we will not deal with their problems by denying them their needs which is for affection and response and for social relationships in which they can be adequate and simply to act harshly against them. This will only compound the problem further. That's what's happening in these gangs in these groups these kids in the streets are providing themselves the things they haven't gotten in their homes the things they haven't gotten in clubs and YMCA days and in Girl Scouts and in
Boy Scouts. And this is not by way of suggesting that these programs are not good they are they're fine. But I would be the first to say they do not reach into all the sections of the community and the degree to which they must. There are far too many of our young people who are not serviced by these programs and we must take positive action to bring these youngsters these groups within the reach of such programs. Let me put this another way Mr. Thompson. I think there's a disposition on the part of agencies which are carrying on a constructive purpose to think in terms of efficiency and economy and in terms of getting the job done and therefore to slough off at the margins of that program. These youngsters who won't go along with the rules and the regulations these of course are the youngsters that present themselves as problems the end of the community. And it is precisely as these youngsters present themselves as problems to the church to recreational agencies and to the school or to clubs and such associations that it becomes
necessary for us to activate those clubs those churches those recreational associations to adapt their programs to their needs to bring them within the reach of those services or to write them off or to write them off and to turn them over to the police. It is only to give them precisely that kind of an experience which is guaranteed to make them more hostile than they were before. I remember a couple of years ago Sheriff Loman you said something like this and correct me if I'm wrong but the very agencies and the very people who have an interest in helping youth social agencies correctional institutions and the like are the very agencies which are greatly contributing to the growth of delinquency. Am I properly quoting you. What I think you are providing I offer this comment so that we won't be misunderstood Mr Thompson first of all. I think if we are to assume as many of us do that an ample amount of work is being done in the field of
prevention by way of adequate group services group work. This is to immobilize us with reference to what our task really is what the needs really are and I think it is a disservice to say that they are doing all that needs to be done and this therefore contributes to the problem. As long as that attitude exists. Another thing however and probably the more critical problem is that many of the youngsters fall outside the reach of these agencies for one reason or another. And we must become more critically aware of the need for reaching out for these youngsters and to see to it that our agency programs include them. There are two ways for the most part by which these agencies are missing these youngsters. One is the lack of coordination effective cooperation between agencies within a given geographic area. And so you'll get a number of well operated agencies dealing with a limited number of youngsters. But a great number of youngsters still living the life of the gang in the streets. I think we've got to inventory the population and coordinate
those services and resources dealing with young people so that we do indeed put a roof over all those youngsters that's one way. The other thing is that many of our agencies are not equipped to deal with the various kinds of problems that young people exhibit. If we youngsters need is for affection you will not satisfy it by play. If the youngsters need is for dealing with emotional disturbance you will not satisfy him by merely passing a few moral phrases before him. If a youngster is in need of recreation then you will have to deal with his problem is one of recreation. If a youngster comes from a disorganised family life then you cannot deal with him save in some sense you face up to the needs of that family life from which he comes because he will return to it. He will be affected by it day after day as you deal with him in some other more irrelevant way. So what needs to be done is to recognise the delinquency in the first instance. Comes about for very many different reasons a child may steal for 101 different reasons never usually for the same in every instance. And our
agencies must be so diversified in their character and so filled in with reference to the character of the service that we are able to afford within a given community that we can refuse refer the youngster with specific needs to the agency which is relevant to the task at hand which can do the job and each agency must in turn be ready to do that. A boys club will not solve all the problems of boys in a community alone and solve one kind of problem and it needs to recognise that some of its youngsters even in the Boys Club must be referred to other agencies for the services that they require. I know as a matter of fact one study that a former colleague of mine many years back the University of Chicago conducted in New York Fred Thrasher in which he pointed up over a period of time that a number of boys club kids actually had a higher rate of delinquency system than some kids in the surrounding community. Now that's not an argument against boys clubs but it is by way of suggesting that this was only one way in which the lives of these youngsters were being met and that agency needed to work with some other youngsters in meeting the real needs of those
youngsters. Our problems are those of the unmet needs of youngsters and they are diversified they are varied and we must catalogue our services and we must coordinate our services. And if we do that then we can perform a positive rather than a negative function. I'm wondering what the press of population with the press of budget restrictions these days and state and I assume city government all of this may not be true here in Chicago. What will be the effect upon the general public in dealing with deviant peoples. Well that's a very pointed question Mr. Thompson and far as I'm concerned it's the heart of the problem because what we are confronted with is the need for strengthening the beneficence influence of the local community over the lives of the young people who grew up in it. This is their world. They don't live in the larger world they live in a local community a local world. And as the population takes on greater dimensions and proportions become more impersonal more mass like we have more and more of the problem of creating
wholesome steadfast relationships between the local community and each of its members. I think the function of government in our time is increasingly to work toward. Strengthening the capacity of local communities to deal with the problems where they arise. I think for one thing we've got to take fewer people out of the community to correct them at some distant point. We've got to correct them there. That means increase the capacity of the police there to deal with them compassionately and understandingly and in relationship to other agencies. In other words the function of the police should not be to take a youngster from the community but to return him to the community and that means keeping him from getting out of the community get him in the hands of an agency that can give him the services that he require a positive rather than a negative function for the police. By the same token I think that we've got to see to it that every community has the whole complement of social and psychological and service resources which are needed in building up the adequate lives of our young people. It is of course something that's
often done namely to suggest that youngster had been provided by his family with the things he needed. It's their fault it wouldn't be so bad and it's that's where the problem should be resolved. But I would remind those who are tempted to embrace this disposition of the idea that these youngsters who are growing up 8 10 12 years of age now are going to live for 50 years amongst the rest of us and we will work we reap the whirlwind society will have to make its peace with these youngsters they will work in our factories they will be on our street cars. They will be in the society and the society is dependent upon their productivity. As to its own future we cannot escape what is happening to them. On the other side of the tracks. And so we on the better side of the tracks must enter into the life of youngsters on the other side of the tracks so that when they come to live with us in the wider community they will live in such terms as to increase the prospects for better living. We've got to enter into their lives now and we cannot pass the buck we cannot past the brain. We cannot even go so far as to say it is some family's fault some
parents fault that simply to create to move sets of miscreants so to speak. Persons that you have to deal with and they on one hand as the youngsters and on the other hand as the parents say What are you going to do punish both of them. And where would you be then. We've got to make the parents adequate to deal with their youngsters this is our target and it's a difficult one but there isn't any other way to get out get at this problem. I think we often hear this is formally a school man so often I heard teachers say we can't do anything about this problem this is a problem which is in the home. And you want talk of this. Yes. THOMPSON I think that's a very well-taken point because after all we came to public education because it was recognized that the Society had a stake in the understanding and the skills and the knowledge of all of its people. And so we wouldn't rely on individual families to produce our engineers our chemists or whatever else it might be. In other words it was assumed that the society could not
prosper could not survive unless there was a minimum standard of intellectual attainment on the part of the whole population and skills. So we created the public school system and related to it of course our parochial school system. By the same token if youngsters for reasons which stem from inadequacy of family are not capable of learning in the short run to say the least we will have to develop adaptations within the school to deal with these inadequacies in order that we can develop the intellectual skills amongst them. If they are blocked emotionally it cannot be disposed of by merely writing them off. We're going to have to release them from these emotional blocking. To make it possible for them to learn and we have techniques and skills by which this can be done. Of course this will go abreast. It seems to me it's necessary that it go abreast with the work in the family and in the community at large to reduce these influences which produce emotional disturbance because of defective parent child relationships. But. The chances that we
will move ahead rapidly enough on that front to relieve us of the increasing numbers of emotionally disturbed kids who come to our schools is very slim. The psychologist and the psychiatrist tell us today that as many as 10 percent of the youngsters in the pro parochial and public schools of the United States are in some state of emotional disturbance and from these are code a very considerable number of the kids who are socially delinquent that they don't all become that. But in some sense they're damaged. And I think the school has got to be concerned with the re-education of the emotions just as surely as it is concern with the development of the farm and the actual skills so long as the society produces in great numbers youngsters who are emotionally damaged. What if I can press another point and I'm not sure I can frame this. Are we being misled by the idea that it is possible to take people out put them in some kind of an institution Correctional Facility. Or just because of increasing numbers of kids who are delinquent.
Aren't we failing to realize that this is kind of a sore on the body politic and those that are normal and those that are straight sane and safe as we say on this series I really becoming gradually corrupted so that the value system of the society in which we live has experiences a gradual break down from the influence of this existing population. Yes I think that I would subscribe to that chance and I it seems to me that it's an instance of the failing confidence that we have are the unwarranted confidence that we have in certain kinds of ways of making people right. And because we place confidence in something that doesn't do these things we contribute to the disintegration of the moral code of the society. I mean put this another way in a very concrete perhaps shocking way I think that half of the persons in the jails and penitentiaries of the United States should never have been sent there in the first place. And I say that not as some kind of extravagant statement. I think it is a
conservative statement. I do not say this because I think they are innocent. No they were guilty. Very few of them were innocent. But I am as certain as our presence here today that there is nothing in a jail or a penitentiary that can in any way come to grips with what it is that made them what they were. And as a result of that it's an enormous waste of time money energy and the lives of the persons involved to use these irrelevant means of protecting and securing society against their acts. They come out more dangerous than when they entered and infinitely more dangerous. Our guest has been Dr. Joseph Loman sheriff of Cook County Illinois speaking on the subject. Those who say next week the community is home away from home. Our guest will be Vincent Reece of the Minnesota U.S Conservation Commission. You have been listening to the tender twigs a series devoted to ensuring youth development but a safe sane and straight.
We invite you to join us next week at this time by the 10 to 20. Our interviewer was Ben Thompson. Research sociologist by the state of Michigan was Department of Corrections. The tender twigs was produced and recorded by Wayne C. Wayne for WKRN radio at Michigan State University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. And is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the NOAA E.B. Radio Network.
Tender twigs
Those who serve
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Dr. Joseph Lohman, sociologist and Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, discusses the roles of agents and agencies in the changing urban populations.
Series Description
This series discusses problems affecting today's youth, such as mental health, delinquency, crime, social pressures. It also considers solutions for parents and youths to employ.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Media type
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: Lohman, Joseph D. (Joseph Dean), 1910-1968
Interviewer: Thompson, Ben
Producer: Wayne, Wayne C.
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-43-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:30
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Chicago: “Tender twigs; Those who serve,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Tender twigs; Those who serve.” 1958-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Tender twigs; Those who serve. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from