The article examines certains aspects of the social control in Canadian society during the French régime in the xvmth century. Based on the finding that the number of cases that went before the king's court for certain types of crime was relatively small, the author concludes that social control was exercised more by the society itself than by its institutions. The justice apparatus had little control over the Canadian people as a whole, due to its lack of sufficient peace officers, the tremendous size of the country and its meagre and scattered population. It was the elite, as models anddefiners of the norms, and the family, as the principal instrument in the regulation of conduct, that played an important role in the social control of Canadian society. It was this system that enabled XViUth century Canada to maintain a very low rate of what we considered serious crimes.
It has become obvious in the past several years that the judicial statistics have certain limitations as far as reconstructing the evolution of crime under the Ancien Régime is concerned. The administrative inadequacies of the institutional justice of that era, its insufficient means of intervention, invite caution, but the existence of infra-judicial mechanisms for dealing with crime lead to the conclusion that only a fraction of the crimes ever came before the courts. Our research on trials for assault and battery heard in the jurisdiction of Montreal between 1700 and 1760 revealed several cases establishing the existence in New France, and confirming the observations of Alfred Somanfor France, of practices according to which the institution of proceedings by certain victims was often in order to start a process of negotiation with the aggressor or force him to come to an agreement out of court, which usually put an end to the procedures. Since there is rarely any explicit mention of agreements reached, even in the notarial archives, we arrived at the possibility that the dropping of legal proceedings indicated an infra-judicial settlement of the case. This led us to analyse the decrease in the number of trials for assault and battery in Montreal after 1730. It was not because of the usual explanation, that it was a sign of a “decrease in crime”, but rather due to a strengthening of the infra-judicial system, particularly in the rural areas, where there was less recourse to the authority of the royal court to settle minor infractions.
Common jails “produce” more punishment than either penitentiaries or reformatories for juvenile delinquents. Students of incarceration, however, have hitherto overlooked the significance of what could be called “petty” or minor punishment. Montreal's penal archives (1845-1913) have been systematically analyzed so as to permit a preliminary theory of such petty punishment institutions, their junction in the general penal economy and their evolution over time.
Today's social status of children is the result of social, economic and cultural changes that have characterized western societies all through the 19th century. The establishment of this particular status came during a movement of general differentiation that affects all the practices of delinquents. The present analysis solely concerns the United States and in particular examines the emergence of three institutions intended exclusively for child care : reform school or refuge, family placement and compulsory school attendance.
Reform schools for juvenile delinquents have shown remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of changing public policy about how children who break the law should be treated. This paper is a case study of one Canadian reform school which has survived four serious population crises since 1909 : the Boy's Farm and Training School in Shawbridge, Quebec. In describing the first population crisis from 1921 to 1930, it focuses on the strategies adopted by the Boy's Farm's influential board of directors. In describing the three later population crises, it focuses on the struggle between the Boy's Farm and the Montreal Social Welfare Court over the commitment of older boys and emotionaly disturbed boys.