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What ails the jail system, healthcare

December 31, 2006

Re "Why L.A. jail cells have revolving doors," Dec. 26

The Times is absolutely correct in its view of a criminal justice system that has been unable to keep up with itself. Resources have been spent on the front end with little consideration for what happens to the rest of the system. As a result, we have inadequate court facilities, an insufficient number of judicial officers, too few county jail cells and probation officers to supervise offenders and a woefully inadequate number of community organizations involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. The system lacks the ability to impose a consequence or action for willful violations of court orders.

For far too long this system has been focused on custody as its primary solution. Until the system gets to the cause of criminal behavior and imposes the correct response, the unwanted behavior will be repeated over and over. It is time for California to properly invest taxpayer dollars in programs that work. If it doesn't, more time and resources will be wasted on the recycling component of criminal justice.

ROBERT B. TAYLOR

Chief probation officer

Los Angeles County

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Re "Healthcare suffers at L.A. jails," Dec. 24

I am shocked and angered by the deaths of 14 inmates since 1999 because of the negligence of some staff members at Los Angeles County jails. It certainly has made me reconsider going into a life of crime. Then again, after having read several previous Times articles on the significantly higher numbers of patient deaths because of medical negligence at private and public hospitals, perhaps I'd have a better chance of surviving a health crisis in jail.

LAWRENCE BERK

Ventura

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