Crime and the Woman
More women court officers are needed if the ends of Canadian justice are truly to he served
A CANADIAN POLICEWOMAN
THE court-room was crowded to the doors. B The overflow blocked the halls. Two men were on trial for an offence against two girls, an offence that under Canadian law is second only to murder and may be punished by death.
Three men had been associated in the alleged acts. Two of them had chosen to be tried together and the hearing of their case was drawing to a close.
The waiting crowd was tense with excitement because the trio were well-known in the underworld and their friends in the corridors were anxious to hear the verdict.
When the foreman of the jury announced that they found the accused men guilty, the listeners swept out on to the pavement where they discussed the news with dismay.
For the conviction of one of the crowd is a menace to all their kind.
And so it happened that when the third man sat in the prisoner’s dock, means had been found to procure for his defence the services of one of the ablest criminal lawyers in Canada.
The first change in the situation brought about by this able jurist was a request that all women leave the court. When they demurred the judge ordered the room cleared, which served the same purpose, for there were still left judge, jury, stenographers, clerks, defence and prosecution lawyers, provincial and municipal police officers and reporters—all men.
The trial was sufficiently important to have attracted forty odd male lawyers and law students who occupied the seats set aside for them.
The woman attendant who had charge of the girls against whom the offence was alleged to have taken place was refused admission.
These youngsters, ignorant, untrained, unprotected, went one at a time into that assembly of nearly one hundred men to give evidence in a matter of vital importance to every girl and woman in the land.
They did not have present to give them countenance one member of their own sex.
They were cross-examined for the defence by a man
eminent in public life, who had spent hours in debate on the political hustings and also as a member of the cabinet of one of our legislatures.
Just what happened in the “cleared” court the women never knew but the man was acquitted.
Next a stay of proceedings was obtained in the case of the two convicted men and they were freed.
And the underworld relaxed and our civilization received another setback, for it is not good for any Canadian woman or girl that men shall be found guilty of criminal assault by a jury of their peers and shall be released, having paid no penalty.
And so it is throughout many courts: judges, juries, attendants, clerks, reporters, lawyers, police—all men— handle to their liking the affairs of women and children.
It Happened In Ottawa
IN ONE of our Canadian cities a woman somewhat over middle age was returning at a late hour from a church social.
She was an honored member of a prominent family. Her entire life had been filled with good works. While on the street car she was seized with an attack of vomiting, then lapsed into unconsciousness.
The conductor did not notice her at the moment but as the car emptied he saw this helpless woman.
He notified the police who took her to jail and believing that she had been drinking, put her in a prison ward.
In the morning they discovered that she was ill and sent her to the hospital where she died a few hours later. A city flamed with indignation.
Citizens attacked the police department through the press, newspapermen wrote scathing editorials, ministers thundered from the pulpits.
An official with an unblemished record of nearly twenty years was suspended.
Not one voice was raised in comment on the fact that the City of Ottawa managed her police department after such a fashion that there was no matron on duty in a building to which women might be brought at any hour in a condition in which they would require the ministrations of one of their own sex.
The presence of such an attendant might have entirely altered this story.
It is not seemly that we should keep any woman, good or bad, obscure or well-known, locked up either day or night in an establishment occupied solely by men.
Public opinion is recognizing the need for more of the influence of women in the field of criminal activities— as officials, not criminals.
We have in several provinces women judges and probation officers in juvenile courts. The number is bound to increase because even anti-feminists concede that one of a woman’s special duties is the care of children.
We have in Canada at least three women magistrates, Mrs. R. R. Jamieson of Calgary, Mrs. Emily Murphy (Janey Canuck) of Edmonton and Dr. Margaret Patterson of Toronto.
In British Columbia women sit on juries.
A number of our cities, especially in the West, are realizing the value of women in police work and giving them the same powers and responsibilities as men.
POLICE departments and juvenile courts are becoming increasingly useful as clearing-houses for family and social difficulties, and for these adjustments women are especially well qualified.
The Brown’s hens eat the Robinson’s seeds. The Bruce’s dog kills the Brown’s hens. Pearl Maitland pulls up Mrs. Perkins’s two month old prize dahlias.
Irate citizens ’phone the police or the juvenile court. An official is sent to the scene of action.
Tact and patience—attributes possessed by many women—will accomplish much.
Sometimes restitution may be made, or destroyed property replaced.
Even when it is not possible to undo the damage, one can obtain expressions of regret and undertakings that the activities of dogs, chickens or children will be restrained.
Jenny Brandon was a fifteen year old cripple with a venomous tongue.
School-teachers, believing this bitterness to be the result of her sense of deformity as well as actual pain sometimes endured, forbade the children under any provocation to lay unloving hands on her.
Unfortunately she took advantage of her immunity to become increasingly disagreeable. She habitually hurled taunts at the children and when they threatened reprisals, dared them to touch her.
One evening in the neighborhood of her own home the smouldering rage of months broke out and during a quarrel between Jenny and Kate, the latter knocked her tormentor down in a mud-puddle.
The fat was in the fire.
The bitterness over the incident grew until the adult members of the family had staged three separate fistic encounters on the streets.
Finally the father of the aggrieved girl went to the police station to swear out an information of assault against Kate.
As the combatants were juveniles the rnatter was referred to probation officers of the junior court.
A woman investigator found it at first almost impossible even to talk to the warring factions.
She spent from one to three hours a day for several days making friends with the girls and their families.
Ultimately she succeeded in bringing about a meeting between the leaders of the two clans at which they smoked pipes of peace and agreed that it was the duty of the older, balanced heads of families to smooth over, and reduce to a minimum, differences that were bound to arise among their callow offspring and even their wives.
The quarrel died a natural death.
Trivial? Not at all. Police officers are “peace” officers and one way to establish peace is to nip rows in the bud.
Last July two Toronto men quarreled over the removal of garbage.
As a result, the janitor of an apartment house was killed and one of the tenants is serving a sentence for manslaughter.
A sad feature of the story is told in the concluding sentence of a newspaper report of the incident.
“The wife of the dead man was not at once informed of the tragedy.
She has been in poor health for some
time and the police, fearing the effect of the news, awaited the arrival of the doctor.”
We conserve the money, the health and the happiness of our citizens better by adjusting difficulties in their infancy than by allowing them to grow until one life is lost, a second endangered and money poured out like water in a murder trial.
There is also a social service performed by the police that is largely delegated to women in the cities in which they are employed.
Accidents are reported to the department. Often it is the duty of a woman to visit a home to break the news of the injury or even death of some member of the family.
Sometimes such women are detailed to remain for some time until relatives can be summoned to care for bereaved and helpless dependents.
Occasionally citizens will telephone in to tell of an insane woman who is disturbing a neighborhood, a mental defective who is allowed to roam the streets in a filthy condition, or a new-born infant left on a door-step or in an ash-can.
Such persons are taken in charge by policewomen and cared for while investigations are made and proper attention secured.
Some duties arise from court cases.
A bootlegger may be sent to jail, leaving behind no provision for the support of wife and young children.
It is the policewoman’s responsibility to get in touch with an official relief organization and to acquaint it with the facts of the case.
Or it will transpire that persons convicted of dis-
honesty or immorality are leading lives that make them
quite unsatisfactory guardians of their children.
In such cases the policewoman will communicate with the Children’s Aid Society or, if the youngsters have become delinquent, with the juvenile court.
At irregular intervals women, concerned either as principals or witnesses, may require supervision while sick in bed.
A victim of an illegal operation may struggle back to life in a hospital ward.
It is imperative that no one should tamper with her evidence.
Women will be deputed to guard her, seeing that only authorized persons approach her and they only in the presence of an officer.
Or an unmarried mother is held for the murder of her baby and supervision must be provided for her during her illness.
In two cases of which I know, the woman in charge was able to get the confidence of the accused and to communicate with the fathers of the dead children, who came forward, married the mothers and stood beside them during the painful trials that followed.
On one of these occasions the defence lawyer was trying to establish the fact that it was the life, not the death of her baby to which the accused had looked forward.
When he held up in the court the pitiful, cheap little garments, the best the mother had been able to provide, it was the man, not the woman, who broked own and sobbed until the proceedings had to be halted.
His interest did not bring the baby back but it was fitting that both parents should make such amends as they could for the life sacrificed.
However these are all occasional, although constantly recurring, episodes.
Salving the Young Delinquent
'THE most valuable work done by women is their regular patrol duty.
There are children who are trained by their own parents to bootleg and steal. Mothers have “lived off the avails of prostitution” of their ’teen age daughters.
Men have introduced children to vicious lives either for the satisfaction of their own desires or for commercial
But for the most part delinquent children have drifted into evil doing.
Streets, parks, playgrounds, beaches, docks, public dance-halls, all have their quota of idle youngsters standing around with no special occupation.
During their evening prowls they discover, perhaps accidentally, that it’s easy to steal chocolates and popcorn from an open store front.
They do this successfully several times then move farther afield.
They find many small shops easily accessible.
They begin to look habitually for weak locks, easily opened windows, machinery lying around yards, etc.
If they are unchecked some of them graduate into regular burglars, provide themselves with masks and guns and hold up harmless citizens.
Revolvers are more dangerous in the hands of youths than adults.
The unstable adolescent is more likely than his senior to lose his head and may fire wantonly under the strain of excitement.
Deaths at the hands of children are becoming painfully common.
Even Canada is producing her share. I have just read a daily paper which carries a heading “Montreal Boy of Ten Faces Charge of Murder.”
When boys and girls gather together in public places the situation becomes more serious. Not only do they encourage each other in general law-breaking but they add to that the possibility of illicit sex association with its danger of infection or the bearing of children by parents so young that they can provide neither material care nor guardianship for their offspring.
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Women officials who can spend enough time on public streets become acquainted with scores of inadequately guarded children.
Often they can make friends with them, warn them, and sometimes gain their own assent to more circumspect behavior and earlier hours.
Sometimes the interest of parents is obtained and their authority invoked.
It is possible in some instances to gain the co-operation of public or Sunday
Having been oppressed by one man she instinctively believes that all men are her enemies.
It sometimes requires much explanation and encouragement to persuade such a victim that the court exists for her protection and that her husband may be more responsive to the admonitions of a judge than to her tears.
Often under the guidance of women these wives swear out informations of assault and the men appearing in court
remembered who had lived in the rooming house while they did.
She found that among these tenants were two street-walkers with whom she was well-acquainted.
She appealed to them for help on the ground that whatever they did to make money for themselves it was not right that a man should exploit a fourteen-yearold girl for his own advantage.
The story they told made it possible to get ample corroboration from Ellen and the facts all came out in court.
Beryl and Ellen had worked in a café patronized by Mr. Coates.
He made friends with them and invited them to go, during their afternoon hours off, to rest at his rooming-house on the edge of Chinatown a few blocks away.
Here he gave them occasional drinks.
By degrees he suggested to them that there were easier ways to make money than by washing dirty dishes for low wages.
Finally he persuaded them to enter an immoral life.
Soon he had them sitting at the windows calling in Orientals from the street.
He is now serving a penitentiary term for procuring.
Ellen being over eighteen was beyond the control of the juvenile court.
Beryl was sent to a reform school.
She was so industrious and well-behaved that she was not required to complete her two year term but some months before it was up was allowed to return to her family in the country.
The average woman has a more sensitive conscience with regard to these matters than has the average man.
Let me emphasize average, because I have worked with men as clean in their standards as any woman, but my experience leads me to believe that they are exceptional.
The writer knew of an instance in which a fourteen - year - old white Canadian public school girl was taken out of a house in and around which several Chinamen were found.
Two of them admitted association with
She was taken to a detention home and they to jail.
She told a story of drugs and immorality which if proved would have sent into penal servitude a well-known lawyer and several Orientals.
When the Juvenile Court officials went to interview the men prisoners they discovered that they had been released almost immediately on twenty-five and fifty dollars bail each and could not be found.
The house from which they were taken was watched but they did not go back and the matter was dropped.
That men arrested under such circumstances should be released so easily shows criminal indifference on the part of officialdom.
It is probable that women would consider more seriously the ruin of a child’s life.
The work done by policewomen is so necessary that women’s services should be available in every department in the country.
School teachers, clergymen, Boy Scouts or other agencies for good.
Sometimes these people will persuade the children to join social or athletic groups.
A new set of interests will open up, more desirable companionships will be formed and life may run into cleaner channels. Work of this kind—not mentioned in any statistics—does more per dollar of investment to safeguard the lives and property of citizens than any other form of police endeavor.
For we must remember that a large proportion of our adult criminals began their law-breaking careers as youngsters on city streets.
In direct contrast with the service performed by women in making outside adjustments is the fine work they do in getting from women and children evidence necessary for their protection or at times for the penalizing of offenders against them.
The type of woman who allows her husband to beat her until she is black and blue is generally the type of woman who is afraid to go into a witness box to tell the story.
are bound over to keep the peace. The bully being a coward will usually not molest his wife again.
Ellen and Beryl
IN CASES of illegal operations, seductions and like sexual offences there are girls who find it impossible to discuss with men details necessary for evidence.
Beryl, a fourteen-year-old Canadian white girl was taken by the police out of a disorderly house run by negroes.
It was easy to prove the guilt of the latter.
The child, however, stated that she had been introduced to this kind of life by a Mr. Coates, and that there had been associated with her an eighteen-year-old girl called Ellen.
The police quizzed this last-named but could obtain no admissions from her.
It was impossible to proceed against Coates on Beryl’s unsupported testimony. They turned the latter over to the juvenile court officers and asked if they could obtain any further evidence. Miss X was instructed to try. She got from Beryl the names of every person that she
In some communities where only an occasional woman or girl is handled, a woman is sworn in as constable and paid a small retaining fee.
When her services are required she is specially summoned and paid for actual work done.
Not only do we need more women in police departments, we also need them on juries, in the prosecutors’ chairs and on judges’ benches.
In the neighborhood of a quarter of a million cases pass annually through Canadian criminal courts.
These result in approximately twelve thousand convictions of women and the appearance of many thousands more as complainants and to give evidence.
The most innocent bystander may be unfortunate enough to see a man climb into a neighbor’s window or witness a holdup on the street.
And because men and women, boys and girls are so inextricably interwoven in the court fabric composed of accused, complainants and witnesses it is fair according to modern ideas that men and women should both function in the machinery by which the proceedings are carried on.
The average man’s reaction toward women in court is singular.
When women are charged with theft, drunkenness, arson or bootlegging the probability is that masculine judges, juries and prosecutors will treat them more leniently than they would treat their fellow men.
I know of an instance of a woman who took a loaded revolver into a hotel bedroom and shot her husband.
While on trial for murder she broke down and wept in the prisoner’s dock and His Lordship led her into his rooms to recover.
I have not seen such consideration shown to men.
But the instant the alleged offence is a sex one the perspective changes.
With an instinct that has endured since the day of the great progenitor of us all, the men cry: “The woman that Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the fruit and I did eat.”
And pitifully often the men judging the evidence agree with their brothers that in sex offences women are to be blamed.
A woman goes habitually on the street and picks up morally loose men.
We may send her to jail.
A man goes habitually on the street and picks up morally loose women. That is his privilege. If we take him into court it is to give evidence that the woman led him astray in order that we may imprison her. We cannot hold him if we would.
Even in cases in which the law makes no distinction, for example those of keepers and inmates of disorderly houses, it is often the custom of the administrators of the law to use their powers to discriminate against women.
For years the writer saw men and women brought in from the same place at the same time and charged with the same offence, and the former were habitually released on twenty-five dollars and the latter fifty dollars bail.
That is not the law but the masculine attitude toward it.
It would be amusing if it were not that many of life’s deepest tragedies are rooted in these relations.
The Tragedy of Marge
AyfARGE’S father was reported missing TVA during the war.
Her mother died shortly afterwards.
An aged aunt, her sole surviving relative, took the three-year-old child into her house.
Unhappily, during the war, securities held by the former depreciated to such an extent that she was left almost penniless.
Feeling that she had lived most of her life and her future mattered little, she determined that fatherless, motherless, friendless Marge should have the best chance that she single-handed could give her.
She realized on her one remaining asset, an endowment policy that she had taken out rather late in life and supplemented this with such money as she could earn.
It is an old story with many variations.
Prices rose. The aunt with her aged body and failing faculties could find little work, just occasional charing or a few hours occupation caring for children.
She became embittered by deprivation and continually working beyond her rapidly failing strength.
Marjorie received inadequate care, but in the times when the food supply would not suffice for two she had all there was.
Perhaps the old lady spoiled her. She was the apple of her eye.
The child was clever and ambitious. She progressed rapidly at her studies and gave promise of becoming a brilliant pianist.
When poverty pressed bitterly on them she begged to be allowed to leave school and find work but her aunt would not let her, insisting that she would be happier in the end if she spent all her time on training for her later life.
She was popular at high school which she attended and had the usual number of beaux.
Her aunt refused to permit her to invite them to their two cheap rooms, each of which contained a bed.
Marge who remembered no other conditions could not see this situation as did the older woman.
Finally a quarrel incident to such circumstances arose. The aunt threw in the girl’s face the penury in which she had been left, the manner in which she herself had impoverished her old age to keep her even in the shabby manner in which they lived, charged her with ingratitude, and in her wrath suggested that no decent girl wanted to entertain a boy in a bedroom.
Stung beyond endurance Marge rushed out of the house and went down town to find employment.
The only position she came across was one playing the piano in an all night café.
She rang up the house and announced that she was going to work from eleven that night until two in the morning.
Her guardian flew into a frenzy, forbade the girl to stay out till such an hour and, when she persisted, told her that if she went there, she need not come home.
Still seething with resentment Marge played at the restaurant.
When she was through she felt embarrassed at the thought of going home.
She confided her troubles to a girl whom she met in the café and this young woman invited her to a party.
In this building she ran across a tenant whom she had met before. She told him that she had been put out by her aunt and that she had no money and asked if she could stay with him.
At first he refused and said that he and his chum would find her a room elsewhere. They took her out in their motor-car, drove around for a couple of hours, then took her back to their suite.
In the meantime the aged aunt, whose wrath had long since subsided, was terrified when Marge did not return.
She could not remember the name of the café and did not know where to look.
She went out in the driving snow and walked the streets until she found the place where her niece had played.
All they could tell her was that she had long since left.
The aunt enlisted the services of the police but the child had dropped out of sight.
Five days later she was found and she and the men who had sheltered her were apprehended.
The latter were charged with having wilfully and knowingly performed an act likely tomakeachildajuvenile delinquent.
The girl told in the witness box the familiar story of having been given liquor and of sex association.
The men denied this but admitted having taken her into their suite and that Continued on page 45
Continued from page 1,3 they had all occupied the same bed for several nights.
The judge declared that if ever there was a case in which a girl got what was coming to her, this was one and that rather than the boys contributing to her delinquency she was contributing to theirs.
He dismissed the charge against the men with caustic comment on the girl’s lack of modesty.
She had just turned seventeen, had been without the training and protection of her parents almost from infancy, and was not accustomed to liquor.
The “boys” were twenty-four and twenty-seven years of age, experienced men of the world.
One of them knew that the girl had a home and they both knew that even if she had been refused admission to it there were various agencies to which they might appeal for shelter for her until a proper arrangement could be made.
“The woman . . . she gave me of the tree.”
A WARRANT was issued for the arrest of Harrison, a married man with children, for an offence against a girl.
A police officer apprehended him but he managed to escape on his way to jail.
He was found, arrested, committed for trial and released on bail.
He once more disappeared.
The entire continent was circularized. He was picked up in an American city and held in the fifth story of an American prison pending the arrival of Canadian officers to take charge of him.
He and a fellow-prisoner attempted a getaway from their lofty room.
His companion fell and was killed.
He was once more free.
The Americans recaptured him.
Two Canadian policemen were sent with batons, revolvers and handcuffs to bring him back to trial.
The lawyer who defended him in the lower court withdrew from the case. Another man carried on.
To the petrified amazement of all beholders he was acquitted by a jury of twelve good men and true.
The writer was talking to one of them later and asked on what ground they had rendered their verdict and if they did not think the repeated flights almost conclusive evidence of guilt.
He admitted that they believed that violence had been proved and that there had been considerable discussion before they agreed. He said, however, that one of the jurors had felt that the girl had tempted the accused and he had lost his head.
That man had been able to dominate the rest of them.
Harrison escaped once in broad daylight from a police officer. He escaped from the fifth story of an American prison. Two stalwart armed men were required to bring him handcuffed from the States but a seventeen year old girl could lure him to a lonely spot and lead him astray.
Gentlemen, it is not good enough.
I am not picking out isolated or unusual cases, not relating in a single instance the folly of two adolescents.
I speak only of affairs between mature men and young girls.
These produce hundreds of prosecutions and there are incidents that might provide hundreds more.
What is often gained is the unspeakable humiliation of the girls involved, and an added confirmation of the men’s power of violating them with impunity.
And because police officers and social workers recognize this fact and do not desire either of these results they divert from our system scores of possible cases.
Because women understand better than men the problem of the girl’s susceptible years, her suggestibility, her need of protection against her own impulses, a
different attitude would be established if we had more women on the bench and on juries.
Unhappily some legal gentlemen, presumably courteous in their social relations, lay aside in court every semblance of good breeding.
I have seen children doing their best to tell the truth to men who deliberately pretended to misunderstand, who twisted their words, who shouted and pounded and roared and sneered until all power to think left the youngsters.
And a judge and prosecutor would sit placidly on, unknowing or uncaring that our courts were being prostituted to base uses and that little children were, in the name of justice, having their truth turned into lies.
In my opinion women would get facts from women and children much more carefully and conscientiously than many men.
Some years ago in Calgary a young man ran a flourishing real estate business. It was discovered that he was a minor and that many deals he put through were on that account illegal.
There was endless confusion and in some cases serious loss involved in returning the land to its original and only owners.
A youth sold a house to a man who made an initial deposit and paid a number of monthly instalments.
The official guardian learning that the vendor was “an infant” quashed the transaction and the buyer lost his money.
If you sell a fifty dollar coat to a young girl on the easy payment plan and she does not meet her indebtedness you are likely to find yourself with a frowsy garment on your hands, almost a total loss. You cannot sue.
If an adult enters into a civil contract with a minor he does so at his own risk. His ignorance of the age of the other contracting party is no safeguard.
Men have held that a person under twenty-one years of age does not know enough about property, about men or about life to protect his business interests and have safeguarded his land, his bonds and his money in many ways.
If there is no properly appointed executor to handle his assets a judge designates one.
Courts must sanction sales.
Estates are administered by official guardians.
The latter were established in most countries many years before Superintendents of Dependent and Neglected Children were thought of.
However, slowly but surely civilization is recognizing that the integrity of the souls and bodies of boys and girls is as important as their possessions.
We hold that youths know so little about property that they must be protected against exploitation by unjust men.
We are now ready to say that they know so little about life and its forces, so little of men, so little of the necessity of preserving wholesome minds and bodies that we must protect them along personal lines against exploitation by evil adults.
Men and women who tamper with the chastity of juveniles should be taught that they do it at their own risk, that no ignorance or waywardness on the part of youth excuses their crime.
It is a greater problem than the homekeeping man or woman knows—so difficult that some persons think it is impossible.
We can never tell until we try, and we have never tried.
I suggest to you that it is a problem that concerns all society and which requires the consideration of women as well as men.
When they both co-operate in a spirit of mutual understanding and helpfulness on the police force, the jury, in the prosecutor’s chair and on the bench, we will have taken a long step in the direction of establishing wholesome conditions on our streets, harmony in our homes, justice in our courts and clean living in our land.