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The System Hasn't Changed in 24 Years

May 19, 1996

Both Ed Humes and Dennis McLellan are to be commended for focusing on the outrageous fortune of L.A.'s juvenile delinquents ("Shock Therapy," May 2).

It saddened me to learn that nothing has changed in juvenile court since I made several appearances there in 1972. As an out-of-control Echo Park teenager, I racked up five arrests that year, yet the system continually turned me back on the street with no punishment until at last, following car theft charges, a judge assigned me a year's probation.

That was the turning point: a benevolent probation officer, whose name I can no longer recall, taught me that I was unique, important and valuable, and that even if my parents weren't giving me the affection and acknowledgment I so badly needed, I could still do great things with my life. There ought to be more probation officers like the one who rescued me from a life of crime and perhaps an early death.

JORDAN ELGRABLY

Los Angeles

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