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JANE WHITAKER INTERVIEWS "MRS. KEOUGH
ON JUVENILE COURT INTERESTS
BY JANE WHITAKER
Because I remembered the many days I have spent in the Juvenile Court,
inwardly raging against a law which permitted children to be taken from
their parents because the parents were guilty of the crime of poverty, I de
cided I would call upon Mrs. W. C. H. Keough, when I learned that she had
addressed a meeting upon this subject. J
Mrs. Keough is a former member of the Board of Education; she is a
member of the Democratic Party and is statistician for the Sanitary Dis
trict. She greeted me very cordially, though she resented the fact that the
newspapers hadVquoted her as saying she did not approve of the Babies'
"But doesn't ft seem so very strange that we are always spending
money to provide new institutions into which to put these children, to sep
erate them from their parents, yet we do no think of spending the money
to make proper homes for the mothers so that they may keep their chil
dren with them?" she questioned.
"My whole criticism began with the fact that Judge Olsen in address
ing a banquet of the Women's Club, said he was disappointed in the women's
vote since it had defeated the municipal bonds and put the city and state
back twenty-five years.
"I took issue with him. I said I did not think it was a bad thing to de
feat a plan to build more Juvenile Courts and institutions. I said that if the
juvenue law had been a success, the
number of juveniles brought into
these courts today after all these
years should have decreased.
"Instead, there were 8,000 arrests
made last year and 600 convictions.
On the first day the Boys' Court
opened there were 110 boys brought
there, and, besides the Boys' Court,
there is the Girls' Court and the court
presided over by Judge Pinckney.
"Many children, brought into the
Juvenile Court are made acquainted
with the police under conditions that
take away their respect-for the law.
And as they grow older we find a
number of them have no horror of
the police courts, much less respect
"Why isn't money spentJ by the
people so interested in childhood in
finding out -jvhy we have hangings of
young boys and why young boys are
given life sentences for crimes, the
real reason, and not, lay it to the
fact that their "parents live in. this
sort of house or that sort of house.
"We have money to spend "for in
stitutions in which to confine these
juveniles, but we haven't money to
sde that our men have work and our
mothers are provided with homes.
"I felt when I looked at the home
of Bobby Burns and saw the shelf of
a place called a bedroom in which
twelve children slept, including Bob
by, I felt thankful that Burns was not
born in the city of Chicago, state of
Illinois in this era of reform, or he
would not have been the poet he is.
We would not have allowed twelve
children to live in the home where
Burns dwelt; we would have taken
them away from their poor parents
and put them into institutions where
the love of life would be crushed out
"In talking to Jane Addams at one
time I questioned: 'Do you believe
today if you had been placed in an
institution, and had been asked who
were your parents, and had had to
hang your head and admit that you
had no parents, because the state had
saparated you from them', do you be
lieve you could love the state that
had done that-ihiug to you?'
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