Transcript from: "Patterns of Delinquency"
One of a series by Joy Reese Shaw
Herald Staff Writer

"Patterns of Delinquency" by Joy Reese Shaw


It was after midnight.

The telephone jangled raucously in the cottage of David Walters, supernatant of Florida School for Boys.

It's message was not a new one: Runaway.

Runaways.....from home, from school, from detention, from city to city and state to state....are a major national headache in the field of juvenile delinquency. A
Uraguayan psychiatrist is researching the subject in Marianna and feels he's found a major answer.

Not only the cause....but the cure. They call it Souza's Soup.

The man is tall, lanky Dr. Luis D. Souza.....and his project is a continuation and follow-up of research made by the German psychiatrist, Dr. Sigfried Krunner, with whom
Dr. Souza worked for more than five years.

There are various causes of runaways Dr. Souza stressed, and some lie deeply imbedded in a child's past as well as his present. But one lies in starved brain cells, he
firmly feels.

The runaway problem.....third nationally only to that of burglary and larceny.....is not so simple a matter as a Tom Sawyer type adventure.

In Florida alone last year 4,048 children ran away from home. In Dade, there were 179 local runaways. These are only those which cleared through the juvenile courts of
the state.

A total of 1,025 left the state, of these 726 ran to another county. The rest ran away within their counties. Why?

The boy whose runaway jangled over the phone at Marianna was a Dade County youth, now 17. It was his third runaway from the state school.

Committed for breaking and entering and theft , the boy had been found living in a car parked near a south Dade canal. His parents were divorced and his mother's
yearly income was listed as approximately $1,000.00

A note in his record from Dade social worker outlined the difficulty being encountered in trying to council with the migrant mother. It said, in substance: "The closest we
came to meeting her was when she called and indicated she'd be watching TV through the front display window of an appliance store in Homestead."

In June, Bill had run away from Marianna, taken a state truck and gone to Panama City. He abandoned the truck and stole a 25 foot cabin cruiser. In October, he
returned hungry and bedraggled and turned himself in. He'd caught up with his mother for awhile in Arizona, he said.

On March 29, he ran away again.....took another car in Panama City. The Sheriff picked him up. Yet on March 26, only three days earlier, he'd been called in at
Marianna for a report preparatory to release and going home.

Why did he run away the second time? Was he trying to fowl up his record, knowing otherwise he'd be released? Was he afraid to go? If so, then why the third time?

Whatever the cause Supt. Walters observed quietly: "Bills a real nice kid. That's the tragedy of it."

Bill is a piker at running away compared with some other kids. One 17-year old youth at Marianna had run away from home more than 50 times since he was five years

"He ran away in sun or rain, summer or winter. It made no difference," Dr Souza smiled. He ran away at Marianna too. Dr. Souza's diagnosis: Mental impairment with
emotional conversation hysteria.

In examining one child who had repeated his grade several times and was troubled with bad dreams, Dr. Souza found the optic nerve affected.....and the same oxygen

Dr. Souza gives to boys whose behavior indicates they need help, a neurological examination, laboratory studies and electro-encephalograph.

He establishes normal oxygen capacity transmission at 9.5. When he finds it less than 7.5 he puts the youth under treatment.

One of Dr. Souza's proudest successes is now his office boy and plans to join the Air Force.

He once had a seizure so severe we had to put him in a straight-jacket for 12 house," the doctor said. "His improvement has been 100 percent in
memory....ambition....behavior....in every way.

One of Dr. Sousa's patients is a boy whose grandfather was a murderer. and whose father was a murderer. His father had diabetes....an equally significant factor in Dr.
Souza's studies.

He grew up without inhibitions with uncontrollable impulses, particularly over the sex sphere. Sometimes he dad hysterical outbursts with loss of consciousness for 30 or
so hours. The last crises lasted 22, " Dr. Souza reported.

"He was a moody, sulky, irritable.....behaved as a child when he didn't get his way."

His case history noted: "No doubt familiar factors play a striking role in Johnny's condition....mild disorder of personality, evidently hereditary in origin with deficient
guidance since childhood.

Many complicated factors enter the problem of the runaway and other misbehavior. But Souza feels the wavy erratic lines on the great white charts which roll through the
electro-uncephalograph machines at Marianna trace out one answer.

As he says in the heavy accent of his heritage: "Sometimes I have, myself, a big surprise."

And someday he hopes to publish them.