Published December 1962 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
From the Office of UNITED STATES SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD, Room 342 Old Senate Office Building, Washington 25, D. C. Volume II -- Number 52A 12/28/62 BYRD'S EYE VIEW A Public Service Column by
U. S. SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY DECLINES IN STATE AND IN NATION
Juvenile delinquency in West Virginia's 55 counties showed an overall 3-per-cent drop in court cases in 1961 as compared with 1960, according to figures compiled and recently released by the Children's Bureau of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Two West Virginia counties scored the biggest decline in juvenile delinquency. The Cabell County Court reported a decline from 313 juvenile cases in 1960, to 249 cases in 1961. In Kanawha County, the decline was from 793 court cases tried in 1960 to 501 cases tried in 1961.
State-wide, the drop in juvenile cases tried before county courts was from 3, 325 in 1960 to 3,232 cases in 1961. A few West Virginia counties experienced a slight increase in cases tried in 1961 over 1960. In most such instances, however, the increase was approximately 2 per cent.
Nation-wide, juvenile delinquency cases dropped one per cent. This is the first time in 13 years that a nation-wide decrease in such cases has occurred. In 1960, for example, the number of juvenile delinquency cases increased by 6 per cent over the 1959 figure. In West Virginia juvenile delinquency court cases, girls generally accounted for only one out of every five cases tried. Half of the offenses committed by girls during 1961 were for runaways, for truancy, and for being ungovernable.
Almost 50 per cent of the offenses for which boys were tried included larceny, unauthorized use of an automobile, robbery or burglary, and being drunk or disorderly.
While the general decline in juvenile delinquency cases in West Virginia is an encouraging trend, the overall data for the State give us no room for complacency. He cannot by any means be sure that we have turned the corner insofar as preventing and controlling juvenile delinquency are concerned. We can only hope that 1962 figures will show a positive breakaway from past patterns.
In this respect, the experimental program in preventing and controlling juvenile delinquency which the Charleston Youth Community, Incorporated, is about to conduct, may prove to be a demonstration project worthy of attention by all other communities in the Appalachian area.
Our children are our most priceless possessions. We must learn to treat them as we wish ourselves to be treated. Respect for a child will encourage respect in a child. Young people who have self-respect are not likely to become de1inquents. A little thoughtfulness on the part of adults can prevent a lot of carelessness on the part of youth. --30---