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IMPROVEMENT IN BANKRUPTCY ADMINISTRATION
In the bankruptcy administration, progress continues to be made in eliminating the confusion which formerly existed in some quarters between reimbursement of expenses and compensation of referees and ending the appropriation of unused expense moneys in the indemnity funds as additions to compensation. In recent years the district courts of 43 districts have adopted with variations of detail a model rule in reference to the referees' indemnity funds which clearly distinguishes between expenses and compensation, and prescribes procedures to keep them separate. In districts which have not adopted a formal rule, the distinction is now almost universally understood, and it is believed that the appropriation of expense money for added compensation is now almost, if not altogether, a thing of the past.
Also progress continues to be made toward the objective expressed in the Chandler Act of limiting the number of referees in bankruptcy as far as possible, “with a view to employment of referees on a fulltime basis.” The difficulties of travel during the war, restricting the radius of accessibility of referees, have naturally retarded the trend in this direction. On the other hand, the recent decline in the number has of bankruptcy cases making the position of referee unremunerative, been a favoring factor. Largely by the painless method of omitting to fill vacancies when they occured and transferring the work of referees whose terms have ceased, to other referees in the district who were in a position to handle it, the courts have reduced the number of referees receiving new references from 490 when the Chandler Act was enacted, in 1938, to 354 as of January 1, last, a decrease of something over 27 percent.
Mr. RABAUT. Am I to take from your statement that there are quite a number of referees on the pay roll that we really do not need?
Mr. CHANDLER. So far as the Government is concerned, the Government is not prejudiced by that, because referees are paid only for the actual service that they render, and they are paid out of the fees paid by the parties to the litigation. No appropriated funds are used to pay fees of referees.
PROGRESS IN FEDERAL PROBATION
Perhaps the single most significant development in Federal probation in recent years has been the increasing emphasis upon presentence investigations and reports for the assistance of the judges in determining the sentence of convicted persons. The new Rules of Criminal Procedure recommended to the Supreme Court by its advisory committee provide that there shall be such an investigation and report by the probation service of the court in every case “unless the court otherwise directs.' There were 19,802 such investigations made by the Federal Probation Service in 1944, a number well over half of the 34,848 persons who were convicted in the Federal courts in the 84 districts in the States (exclusive of the District of Columbia, which does not come under the Federal probation system.)
Mr. RABAUT. In how many places are they frowning upon it entirely?
Mr. CHANDLER. I don't think there is a single district in which presentence investigation can now be said to be frowned upon. There is
one exception, the district of Utah, where Judge Johnson does not consider a probation officer is necessary, and there is no officer there.
Mr. RABAUT. I ask questions from time to time about how this is being received, and how that is being received, because there has been a tendency to frown upon anything new. And I want to compliment you in this regard, that you have really led the way in getting some recognition for some new activities in the Federal courts, tending to great good and greater justice.
Mr. CHANDLER. It will not surprise the committee that the number of juvenile delinquents brought into the Federal courts has increased substantially during the war. The number in 1944 was 3,526 as compared with 2,248 in 1943, an increase of 56.9 percent. A report recently received from the northern district of Illinois in Chicago indicates that the number of juvenile cases handled in that office in 1944 was 79.4 percent in excess of the number the year before. As the report points out, "Juveniles are less predictable in their behavior and need closer supervision than adult offenders.” Also they are at a critical stage in their development when the right influence brought to bear can do much more than it can later. So the probation officers are urged to give special attention to juveniles in their charge, and they would give much more if the case load permitted.
During the year 1944 the number of persons under supervision by the Federal probation officers was 37,073 probationers, 6,070 parolees, and 6,898 prisoners on conditional release. The proportions reported as violators during the year were 3.5 percent of the probationers, 5.1 percent of the parolees, and 7.9 percent of the prisoners on conditional release. That is about as you would expect them. By and large the persons placed on probation give more promise of rehabilitation.
Recently a study has been made by the Administrative Office of the cost of Federal probation in 1944. As nearly as can be determined from the records of expenditures in the Office, this cost (exclusive of any part of the cost of the Administrative Office), totaled $1,321,993. Divided among 30,629 persons, which was the monthly average of all classes of persons under supervision, probationers, parolees, and prisoners on conditional release, it gives a cost per person of $43.16 annually and 11.8 cents daily. The cost of institutional treatment for the same period, according to a computation of the Bureau of Prisons, was $2,123 annually, which gives $5.81 daily. Probation manifestly is not a form of treatment that will fit all cases. But for cases to which it is adapted, the economy as well as the social value of it is clear.
Also on the credit side of probation are the labor power and earnings of the probationers. From reports necessarily incomplete, it appears that in 1944, an average of 14,362 probationers reported earnings each month and that the total of such earnings for the year was $24,953,366, more than 13 percent above the amount in 1943.
Mr. KERR. Have you got a record of how many of those probationers commit crime again?
Mr. CHANDLER. We have not been able to get that record. I have told you that during the term of their probation only about 3 percent violate it.
(Discussion off the record.)
Also the probationers have done their part in the armed services, As of the time of the annual report for 1944, 6,464 probationers had been inducted, an increase of 44 percent over the previous year. Of these, only 37 or fifty-seven hundredths of 1 percent are known to have been dishonorably discharged, and 6 have been decorated for exceptionally meritorious conduct.
Mr. STEFAN. What was that total?
These are only a few of the principal developments in the work of the courts in the past year. Their activities, like everything else, have taken color from the war. The courts have striven to meet the strains which the war has brought, in a way to give maximum support to the war efforts and at the same time to maintain the integrity of the judicial process. This will continue to be their aim.
Mr. RABAUT. We are always interested in past statistics, but we are dealing with appropriations for the fiscal year 1946 now. What is your idea of the work load for 1946? How would you gage it now, from your present load?
Mr. CHANDLER. It is extraordinarily difficult, Mr. Chairman, to look ahead. At the present time the volume of work of the courts is going up.
Mr. RABAUT. As you indicate by this chart.
Mr. CHANDLER. The civil cases are rising, the criminal cases are rising. If the war should end in 1946, obviously the particular factors related to it would not operate. On the other hand, we should have the post-war conditions, and what the effect will be upon the work of the courts it is difficult to say. I should say that, conservatively, the work of the courts is likely to be somewhat greater in 1946
Mr. RABAUT. I notice we have Mr. Bennett here, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons. What is he going to do here this morning? PROBATION SYSTEM, UNITED STATES COURTS
(See p. 79) Mr. CHANDLER. The appropriation that we should like to take up now is the appropriation for the probation service.
Mr. RABAUT. On page 59?
Mr. RABAUT. All right; we will now take up the current appropriation for the probation system, United States courts. We will put page 59 in the record at this point. (The matter referred to is as follows:)
Relation of estimate to current appropriations 1945 appropriation in annual act
$1, 137, 400 Supplemental appropriation for 1945. Total appropriations for 1945--
1, 137, 400
Relation of estimate to current appropriations—Continued
Deduct items carried in 1945 not required in 1946:
Estimated cost of additional compensation, Public Law 49,
78th Cong Reporter-probation clerk to be paid from the appropriation
“Salaries of court reporters, United States courts'
Add items requested in 1946 not provided for in 1945:
Difference between part-year and full-year cost of within-grade
promotions authorized in 1945. Amount required to finance the greater part of the within-grade
promotions to be effective in 1946 Additional personnel.. Reclassifications.--.
14, 700 77, 880 95, 620
Total estimate for 1946.--.
1, 173, 000 Mr. RABAUT. I note here the total estimate for 1946 is $1,173,000. Who is going to justify that?
Mr. CHANDLER. Judge Biggs will make the first statement but perhaps it might be well to call attention
Mr. RABAUT. No; this will all be in the record, this page of the justifications. Judge Biggs will tell us about it, and we will then ask questions about it.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN BIGGS, JR., UNITED STATES CIRCUIT
JUDGE, THIRD CIRCUIT
Judge Biggs. I think I can do this very briefly, Mr. Chairman.
The present salary range of probation officers is from $2,300 to $3,700 per annum, and this is out of line with many similar services. The entering salary of a probation officer is $2,300 at the present time, and if we contrast that with some of the other comparable services, such as civil-service examiners, examiners in the Alcohol Tax Unit, Internal Revenue agents, naturalization examiners, and like services, you will find that many start at $2,900 a year, and some of them are higher; for example, the F. B. I. entering salary is $3,200. None start at $2,300.
Now, we need an increase for reclassification of probation officers, which amounts to $95,620 so far as present persons in the service are concerned.
Mr. KERR. Is that under civil service?
Judge Biggs. No; that is not under civil service; that is entirely under the administrative office. We would like to be able to classify them in three grades: junior probation officer, with a grade of P-2I might say that we use the civil-service classification by analogy$2,600; senior probation officer and chief probation officer, P-3, with an entering salary of $3,200; and a chief probation officer of an office which has a great deal of administrative work to do and a great many other duties, P-4, at $3,800.
Mr. RABAUT. How many chiefs would you figure there would be needed?
Judge Biggs. I haven't figured the exact number, Mr. Rabaut. Mr. RABAUT. Will you supply it for the record at this point?
(The information requested is as follows:)
Analysis of estimate for reclassification of positions in the probation system
Judge Biggs. It is proposed to reclassify 14 chief probation officers from P-3 to P-4, and 63 chief probation officers and senior probation officers from P-2 to P-3.
In addition to the probation officers we have certain salary scales of clerks in the probation office. They at the present time, on the analogy to civil service, are rated CAF-2 at $1,440; CAF-3 at $1,660; and CAF-4 at $1,800.' We would like to have additional appropriations for those persons so that they may have the salaries raised and have them classified CAF-3, at $1,620; ČAF-4, at $1,800; and CAF-5, at $2,000.
Let me return briefly to the probation officers. The fact of the matter is that this is a very important service at the present time in the opinion of the committee of which I am chairman, and of the senior circuit judges of the United States courts, and it is being rather badly crippled by the fact that the salaries of probation officers are not comparable to salaries paid in like service in the Federal Government, and they are very much below the probation salaries paid by the State courts in the very communities where these men do their work.
There has been a good deal of discussion about salaries among the probation officers themselves; the chief probation officers are beginning to lose employees who are going into private industry, acting as personnel officers for some of the big corporations, and there is a drain out of the Federal system into the State systems where higher salaries are paid.