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; HOBART: TUESDAY, MAY 19, 1953
SHADES OF PT PUER
YESTERDAY, two youths, aged 14 years and
. 16 years, were herded into the Hobart Gaol to serve sentences of three months'" imprison- ment for the illegal use of a car. This penalty was awarded by the Children's Court.
fri making even this reference "The Mer- cury" «is breaking the law. It is committing an offence by disclosing that the Children's Court has sent two adolescents into the appalling atmosphere of the gaol to be in daily contact with * murderers, thieves, and perverts.
It is bad enough to have to submit an adult to the moral degeneracy of the Hobart Gaol. To send a boy of 14 years into the company of hardened criminals seems, a deplorable action. Has the Bench of the Children's Court developed a new theory on the handling of juvenile delin- quency - that a lad of 14 years is already beyond all hope of redemption?
The two youths were sent into the gaol despite the existence of the Ashley Boys' Home. This institution may not be perfect, but at least it was established as a reformatory for juvenile
Proceedings and acts of the Children's Court are now cloaked in absolute secrecy. The law forbids the publication of any reference to what it does. The public has no means of knowing how many adolescents become involved in crime, or what the Court, in its wisdom, does with them.
The public conscience on this matter can- not be aroused because it is not permitted to hear anything about it. The only way this latest case can be brought before the public is for this news- paper to break the law deliberately, to disclose . what is happening. The law shrouding the Court . with secrecy should be wiped out.
Pt. Puer was one of the grimmest features of the Port Arthur penal settlement ;. it was for "criminal boys." How far has this community advanced in a century when it is still deemed necessary for a boy of 14 years to occupy a cell
in the Hobart Gaol ?