I remember contradicting him. The real story is not that they want to get out, I said. The story is how they got in. To send a child to a reformatory is a serious step. But many children's-court judges do it with a light heart and a heavy calendar. To understand a delinquent child one has to know the social soil in which developed and became delinquent or troubled. And, equally important, one should know the child's inner life history, the way in which his experiences are reflected in his wishes, fantasies and rationalizations.
Children like to be at home, even if we think the home is not good. To replace a home one needs more than a landscape gardener and a psychiatrist. In no inmate in that reformatory, as far as I could determine, had there been enough diagnostic study or constructive help before the child was deprived of his liberty.