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The Boys' Reformatory, Redhill

From the Illustrated London News, Sept 18, 1869.

The annual harvest home of the Philanthropic Society took place at their farm, Redhill, on Wednesday week. The attendance of visitors was unusually large. The various buildings were gaily decorated for the occasion, and the whole establishment appeared to the best advantage. Nothing could exceed the cleanliness and good order displayed through the buildings and grounds of the farm, and the appearance of all the rescued "waifs and strays" of humanity under the society's charge was highly creditable. A muster of the boys first took place. Then a certain number of them were told off to carry the "last load" to the farmyard, one of the most pleasing features in the days' proceedings. A thanksgiving service in the chapel, with a sermon by the Rev. W.F.C.S. Fraser, followed. After the service in the chapel came races and games, a supper for the boys, the address of the chairman of the day (Mr. J. Gladstone, reasurer[sic] of the society), and distribution of the prizes. Addresses were also delivered by mr. C. White, J.P.; Mr. P. Hanbury, J.P.; Mr. Onslow, and the Rev. C. Walters, the resident Chaplain, to whose zeal and energy the society owes so much. The latter gentleman gave an interesting account of the progress of the society. He stated that, since the removal of the society's establishment to Redhill, in 1849, up to December, 1868, as many as 2128 have been admitted, and 1837 discharged. Of the latter, 892 have emigrated to various colonies. Since last harvest home seventy-seven boys have been admitted, and sixty-eight discharged. Of the latter number, thirty-eight emigrated, eighteen went to employment, eight to friends, two to sea, and two were unfit for school through disease. Ten of these went on license before term was ended, and all have done well. Of the sixty-six, none are now in prison, and only two are of doubtful conduct. The school is in a flourishing condition in every particular. The general health continues good, and the general conduct satisfactory. No death has occurred in the school for three years. The farming has also been good. There are at present in the school 293 boys, against 280 in 1868, 265 in 1867, and 256 in 1866. The cell cases are 111, against 100 in 1868, 118 in 1867, and 129 in 1866. The floggings number six, against six in 1868, sixteen in 1867, and eleven in 1866. The desertions show an increase. They number seven, against three in 1868, twelve in 1867, and seven in 1866. The conduct of discharged boys is usually good. Mr. Walters noticed that the usefulness of reformatories in diminishing crime appears from the comparative increase of adult and juvenile crime. Adult convictions increased 9 per cent, whilst juvenile convictions were less than 5 per cent in the year 1868; and in the two last years adult convictions had increased 15 per cent, and juvenile about 7. In Scotland, while adult convictions in 1868 increased 4 per cent, juvenile convictions increased 10 per cent. This unsatisfactory addition to juvenile crime happened at a time when reformatory work at Glasgow was almost suspended, through the temporary closing of the House of Refuge there. In 1868, 554 boys and girls were recognised in prison as having been formerly in reformatory schools, out of a total discharged of 11,402. The known relapses from the reformatory schools of Great Britain are therefore less than 5 per cent (5.1 boys and 3.6 girls). The average percentage doing well in all the reformatory schools in Great Britain in sixty-nine. The average at Redhill has been seventy-six. The average of relapses in the former has been 16 per cent, and in the latter 14 per cent.


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