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Number of Jews in American Prisons and Reformatories Sinking to Negligible Quantity

A great decrease in Jewish criminality and delinquency in New York is described in an article in the current “Outlook” magazine by Ernest K. Couter, General Manager of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, in which he quotes comparative statistics on prison populations, showing that the number of Jews in prisons and reformatories is sinking to practically a negligible quantity.

“Regardless of the fact that 27.4 per cent. of the population of New York City is Jewish”, he writes, “the facts to-day are that less than eight per cent. of the population of the five great prisons of the state, where convicted felons of New York are sent, are Jews.

“While the Jewish boys in the House of Refuge, a state institution for delinquents and misdemeanants of New York City between the ages of 12 and 18, were 58 per cent. of the whole number seventeen years ago”, he continues, “the number of Jewish boys in that institution on last June 1st. was less than 5 per cent. The exact present figure is 3.56 per cent. Of the prisoners at Elmira 6.7 per cent. are Jewish. At Sing-Sing 10.6 per cent. are Jews. At the state institution for delinquent girls only seven out of the 511 girls are Jewish.”

The number of Jewish children arraigned before the Children’s Court was reduced from 33 per cent. to 12.1 per cent., Mr. Couter further points out.

The amazing decrease is attributed by Mr. Couter to the efforts of the Jewish communal leaders, who, led by the late Julius M. Mayer, judge of the Children’s Court, and the late Jacob H. Schiff set about to do the necessary preventive work. The present change is a result, he says, of the agencies organised by them after publicity had been given to a statement by the then police commissioner that the Jews, comprising one-fourth of the population, contributed one-half of the criminals.

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