The treatment of delinquent and potentially delinquent children and young persons in Scotland from 1866 to 1937
The treatment of delinquent and potentially delinquent children and young persons has its historical context within the development of the institutions of social control and regulation as they evolved and expanded within the changing role of the state in regulating, guiding and controlling the lives of its citizens. Between the middle years of the nineteenth century and 1937 there was a long process of gradual change from a position where the state took no particular regard of children and their problems to a situation where state intervention was expanding into almost every dimension of the lives of all young persons with a view to their potential as citizens. As the incoming tide of collectivist welfare policies washed away the foundations of the laissez-faire era, the nineteenth century emphasis on `punishment' was gradually replaced by a priority being given to `protection and training'. The criminal culpability of the Victorian delinquent was superseded by a new awareness of the social and psychological susceptibility of the twentieth century adolescent. The evolution of a more holistic approach sought to integrate, rather than alienate, wayward youth. Hence, the state took preventive measures in the `youth labour' problem and in the encouragement of `organized youth'. The institution of the juvenile courts and their developing expertise `diagnosed' rather than `judged' and gave priority to ameliorative methods of treatment within the community rather than to the Victorian emphasis on institutional isolation. Institutional treatment was regarded as a last resort and the systems of training in reformatories, industrial schools and Borstal institutions progressed from a severity of institutional pragmatism to a greater concern for the future integration of individual inmates as citizens.