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The Osborne Association

1938-43 Reports on reformatories


Rules, Regulations, and Disciplinary Policies -- There is a so-called honor system with its blue shirts for boys in good standing for a month for more, and an honor cottage for 24 of these boys, with work, school, and conduct reports determining the individual ratings. More reliance appears to be placed on corporal punishment than on rewards, however, for the control of the boys. Both the superintendent and assistant superintendent stated that there was no form of special segregation used for disciplinary purposes.

Corporal punishment is administered by the supervisor of boys for serious offences such as running away from the school grounds. It is claimed that the state law provides for this, and the assistant superintendent said that even though he does not consider it a desirable form of discipline, he does not know what substitute could be devised to supplant it with the present limited personnel. An ordinary razor strap about 4 inches wide and 14 inches long is used. The boys to be flogged are stripped naked before the entire assembly in the gymnasium, held in a spread eagle position by four other boys, and beaten across their buttocks. Sometimes the maximum of 39 strokes is given, and at other times 15 are considered sufficient, depending upon the offense. The beatings are referred to as a "frailings," a term probably derived from "flailing."

These floggings had decreased greatly in 1941, but as late as 1939 they were said to be very frequent, with at least three hundred boys flogged in a year. It was the customary procedure in the assembly period for the different officers to select the boys whom they felt to be deserving of this form of punishment and the floggings were administered at once. As many as 50 or 75 boys would be punished at one of these wholesale floggings, it was stated.

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