Youth Squad: Policing Children in the Twentieth Century

Youth Squad: Policing Children in the Twentieth Century

Youth Squad: Policing Children in the Twentieth Century

Youth Squad: Policing Children in the Twentieth Centurys

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Référence bibliographique [22639]

Myers, Tamara Gene. 2019. Youth Squad: Policing Children in the Twentieth Century. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs

Intentions :
«This book substantiates Wolcott’s findings [about policing of juvenile delinquents] and adds another chapter to the history of policing youth by illuminating how police agencies in multiple large and small North American cities embraced reform and became youth conscious from the 1930s through the 1960s.» (p. 6) The second chapter of this book «charts the birth and evolution of a youth squad, using Montreal’s Juvenile Morality Squad (JMS) as a case study.» (p. 15)

2. Méthode

Échantillon/Matériau :
Données documentaires diverses

Type de traitement des données :
Réflexion critique

3. Résumé

In this book, the author argues «that police sought to explicitly challenge their ancillary role in juvenile justice, pointing to its failure to deter crime and rehabilitate delinquents. In diverting youth from juvenile institutions, police agencies expanded the everyday forms of social control over children and youth, constructing themselves as a community authority governing delinquency, child welfare, and even childhood.» (p. 6-7) For example, in «the mid-1930s, Montreal’s police department acted to create a vehicle for investigating youth troubles. The nascent and tiny youth squad engaged in morals policing and claimed to be motivated by a discourse of child protection. […] The JMS liberally used article 33 of the Juvenile Delinquents’ Act to target adults who were committing sexual abuse of children and sexual commerce involving young people.» (p. 76) «Article 33 targeted a range of adults, including family members of the victims. For their part, parents and guardians had the responsibility to remove the conditions that produced delinquent actions and ensure that children did not become delinquent. […] Those accused of violating article 33 were most frequently male, with women arrested for neglecting their own children or exposing them to immoral, mostly sexual, situations including the informal sex trade. Despite the fact that most child sexual assault involved men within the victim’s family, contemporary expertise pointed to the sexual menace of strangers.» (p. 49)