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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 93 (May 1947)

Juvenile detention home,   pp. [9]-11 PDF (2.1 MB)


Page [9]


JUVENILE
DETENTION HOM4E
Before November 1946, an act which
sociologists would consider a car-
dinal sin against society was commit-
ted regularly in Berlin: juvenile delin-
quents were sent to local jails where
they associated with hardened crimi-
nals and followed no educational, re-
creational, or vocational program of
any kind. Because of the lack of
homes for young offenders in the city,
overcrowded jails were used where
beds were insufficient and the boys
were forced to sleep on the floor.
Juvenile delinquency had increased
materially by 1946 over the prewar
years. In 1938, the Juvenile Courts
and the Public Welfare Office handled
6,108 cases, while in 1946 there were
17,562 boys and girls 14 years and
over who had committed delinquent
acts. In one of the smallest boroughs
of the US Sector of Berlin, the num-
ber of offenses by juveniles increased
from 46 in 1938, to 150 in 1946. Since
the number of juveniles in the bor-
ough was half as large in 1946 as in
1938, the juvenile delinquency rate
was actually six times as great as in
the earlier year.
Ample Space for Activities
To relieve this problem of delin-
quency and rehabilitation, a Juvenile
Detention Home was established at
the direction of the Director of Mili-
tary Government, Berlin Sector, under
the direct supervision of the Public
Welfare Branch. The best available
site was a former civilian internees
camp in Lichterfelde West. Consider-
able repairs were necessary to make
the nine barracks habitable, but the
grounds-a full city-block square-
afforded ample space for gardening
and outdoor recreational activities.
Emphasis was placed on social reha-
bilitation rather than punishment, and
the German Public Welfare Depart-
ment was made responsible for the
operation of the Home.
On 5 November 1946 the Home was
opened and the first child placed in
the Institution. Only one of the bar-
racks had been restored and furnished
Scene of the Juvenile Detention Home at a former civilian internees camp
in
Lichterfelde West, Berlin.                     Photo by Bowlds, PRO, OMGUS
at that time. As other buildings were
reconstructed and equipped the num-
ber of boys in the Home increased.
By the end of November 60 juveniles
were at the Home; on 30 April 1947
the number had jumped to 158. Six
barracks are now in full use.
The Detention Home is used for
delinquent juvenile boys between the
ages of 14 and 18 arrested by the
German police or US Military Police
for crimes committed in the US Sector.
Although it was originally intended
that younger boys and girls also
would be placed in the Home, it has
become more feasible to restrict its
use to older boys. A separate insti-
tution for delinquent girls and youn-
ger boys is to be opened this month
in the US Sector.
Economic Need as Motive
Of the 126 youths sent to the Home
during March, 76 were arrested by
the MG authorities and 50 by the
German  authorities.  The offenses
were largely crimes against property
and the motive in the majority of
cases was economic need. Of the
youths sentenced, approximately 53
percent came from homes where the


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