West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls

Acts of the Legislature

Chapter 8

An Act providing for the establishment of the West Virginia industrial home for girls.

[Passed February 18, 1897. In effect ninety days after passage. Approved February 19, 1897.]

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia.

1. There is hereby established a State institution to be known as "The West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls." Said institution shall be under the control of a board of directors, to consist of three men and three women.

The governor shall, on or after the tenth day of March, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint the said board of directors. The first board of directors shall be divided into three classes, each class to consist of one man and one woman. The term of service of those in the first class shall be two years, of those in the second class four years and of those in the third class six years. In every second year after the appointment of the first board of directors, the governor shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint two directors instead of those whose terms will expire in that year, and the term of service of such two directors shall begin on the first day of April of the year of their appointment and continue six years.

The governor may, in like manner fill any vacancy that may occur in the board, and any one appointed a director by him during the recess of the senate, shall serve until the next session of the senate thereafter. Not more than two directors, and not more than one of any class, shall be residents of the county in which the institution is located. The members of said board of directors shall constitute a body corporate under the style of "The West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls," and as such shall sue and be sued and may have a commonseal.

2. The board of directors shall biennially choose one of their number president of the board, and in his absence shall choose a president pro tempore. A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum, but the board may, in its discretion, designate business of a nature by it to be specified, which may be transacted by a stated number of the directors less than a quorum.

3. The board of directors shall make such by-laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, relative to the management, government, instruction, discipline, training, employment and disposition of the girls in the home, not contrary to law, that they may deem proper; and shall appoint such officers, agents and servants as they may deem necessary to transact the business and carry on the operation of said home, and designate their duties and fix their compensation; but all the officers, agents and servants for the internal management shall be women. The board shall adopt rules governing the transportation of minors to and from said home.

4. The board of directors shall make an annual report to the governor of all their transactions, of the number of minors received by them in said Home, the disposition which shall be made of such minors, by instructing or employing them therein, or by binding them out as apprentices; of the receipts and expenditures of the board, and generally all such facts and particulars as may tend to exhibit the effect, whether beneficial or otherwise, of said home.

5. Girls eligible to be received into said home are those who are from seven to eighteen years of age, and who may be committed by any justice of the peace of this State, on complaint and due proof made to him by the parent, guardian or next friend of such girl, that by reason of incorrigible or vicious conduct, such girl has rendered her control beyond the power of such parent, guardian or next friend, and made it manifestly best that such girl should be placed in said home; or by any criminal, circuit or intermediate court of this State. Girls may be so committed for vagrancy up to eighteen years of age, or where parents, guardians or next friends agree and contract with the board of directors for their support and maintenance, or girls up to fifteen years of age, who may be found in houses of ill fame or assignation houses, upon conviction thereof before any justice of the peace, mayor of a town or city; or girls convicted by any of the courts of this State of felony or misdemeaner, punishable by imprisonment, the judge in his discretion, instead of confining such girl in the county jail or sending her to the penitentiary, may transfer such girl so convicted to said home, from any county of this State, provided there is room there for such girl. Every girl committed to said home shall remain there until she is twenty-one years of age, unless sooner discharged by the board of directors.

6. It shall be the duty of the justice of the peace, mayor or other authority, when committing any girl to said home, in addition to the commitment, to annex the name and residences of the witnesses examined, and the substance of the testimony given on which the adjudication was founded, as well as name and residence of the girl, the names of her parents, and their residence, if known. Any girl who may be found incorrigible, or pregnant, or otherwise an improper subject for admission to said institution, may be returned by the board of directors to the court, justice or other authority by whom she was committed, and thereupon such court justice or other authority shall have power to pass such sentence as would have been legal in the first instance, as if such girl had not been sent to said home.

7. In all cases coming before a justice, mayor or other authority, they shall appoint a guardian ad litem for such girl, who shall be some disinterested person, discreet and careful, and who shall see that no injustice is done the girl; and he shall have the right to demand a trial for his ward by a jury of twelve men to ascertain the truth of the charges against the girl, and said jury shall be selected, and trial conducted, as other trials are conducted by justices in criminal cases before them. Or, said justice or court may, without a jury, try such a girl, if no jury is demanded by her guardian or next friend.

8. The said industrial home shall be exclusively charged with the reformation and care of girls, but white and colored shall be held separate as far as practicable.

9. The board of directors shall have power to bind out such girls committed to their care as apprentices to the time said girls shall arrive at twenty-one years of age, to learn some proper trade, business or calling, on such terms as will be advantageous to such girls: but such girls so bound out, are to be bound only to those whose characters are above reproach, and within the State. The indentures by which any girl may be so bound shall state for what period she is bound, her age, what trade, art or business she is to follow, and that the master shall see that for at least five months in each year said apprentice shall be sent to the free schools of the State, and shall be bound to furnish the school books requisite to learn the usual branches taught; the amount to be paid said child for each year, if any thing above the maintenance of said child, and for what year or years, and the master shall bind himself with good security to pay the amount agreed upon; which sum of money, if any, contracted to be paid, shall be reserved, to be paid said girl, or girls, so bound, when their apprenticeship shall case, with interest; and said board shall not bind out any girl under the provisions of this act, unless the master bind himself to comply with the conditions thereof, and whatever salary said master shall give, shall be paid to the board of directors; and it shall be the duty of said board to collect the same according to the tenor or effect of such contract, and turn the same over to the girl when she arrives at twenty-one years of age, or sooner if she marries, when the same shall be turned over to her.

10. For cruel or inhuman treatment by such master of such apprentice, the circuit court of the county in which such master or apprentice may reside, or any justice of the peace of any such county, shall have jurisdiction to try the same, and upon conviction of such master for cruel or inhuman treatment of such child, such master shall be fined not less than ten nor more than one hundred dollars, and may in addition thereto be confined in jail not to exceed ninety days.

11. No master can remove such child out of the county where she has been bound by such board, except on the written permit of such board; and any person who shall aid or assist any girl who is an inmate of said institution, to escape therefrom, or who shall aid or assist any girl who has been committed to said institution, or who is a subject thereof, to escape from any other home or other place where she has been placed by the officers of the said institution, or who shall aid or assist any such girl to leave this State, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than five nor more than twenty-five dollars, and any justice of the county wherein such offense is committed shall have jurisdiction thereof.

12. The circuit court of the county shall in a summary way be open to hear any complaint of such master against his apprentice, or to said apprentice against the master, and shall make such order in relation thereto as it shall deem fair and right, j

Any apprentice who shall desert the service of such master shall receive no pay, (if the pay exceed the maintenance), while such desertion continues, and any one who shall knowingly harbor such apprentice, shall be liable to said master three dollars for every day such harboring or concealing such apprentice exists, to be recovered before any court having jurisdiction.

15. As soon as may be after their appointment, and this act shall take effect, the board of directors shall select a site in this State for said home, and procure a good title therefor. Said board is hereby authorized to receive donations, subscriptions and gifts for said home, and are authorized and empowered to enforce the collection of any such donations, gifts and subscriptions in any court having jurisdiction. As soon as practicable after the location of said home, the board of directors shall cause to be erected such buildings as may be necessary, but the expenditure therefor shall not exceed the amount appropriated by this act.

16. The sum of six thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, payable out of the revenues of the present fiscal year, and the sum of four thousand dollars is likewise appropriated out of the revenues of the next fiscal year for the purposes of this act.

17. The directors of said home shall be paid the same compensation as is allowed the directors of The West Virginia Reform School, which shall be paid to them in the same manner as the compensation is paid to the directors of said reform school.

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