7 JUNE 1935, Page 3

Youth's Drift to Crime

The Recorder of Manchester, opening Quarter Sessions in that city last Tuesday, said he was shocked at the calendar before him, for it consisted almost entirely of young boys of seventeen and eighteen, who had started on a career of crime. Manchester and South-East Lancashire are in varying degrees "distressed areas," and the diffi- culty of finding work for young lads in such areas must inevitably increase the number of those who drift into lawlessness instead. Apart from what it may do by way of organized recreation or training or work-finding, in order to arrest the evil drift, the community's business is to ensure that, where it has occurred and the young delin- quent has been laid by the heels, it does not make a lifelong criminal of him, but revives in him the instincts of a decent citizen. For this what matters is not merely what hap- pens to him in Borstal, but still more what happens after his discharge. There is a strong case for appointing to look after young discharged prisoners a special category of "after-care officers" distinct from probation officers. Pro- bation officers themselves are usually far too hard-worked at their own job to be expected to cover this as well.