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Two views of juvie hall

August 30, 2007

Re "Visitors to juvenile hall feel stuck too," Aug. 27

I almost had to laugh at the article recounting the discomfort, long waits and searches of adult relatives and families visiting youthful offenders in juvenile hall.

First, the youths incarcerated in juvenile hall are either serious offenders or habitual criminals. Most other youths are traditionally released to their families at police stations with charges pending.

And why are these offenders incarcerated? Because of the poor control, influence and education provided by their families and parents. They are to blame as much as the offenders themselves.

Perhaps, should these young offenders get out once again, the family pressure will be so great to behave that another visit to juvenile hall won't ever be necessary.

Alan V. Weinberg

Woodland Hills

The writer is a retired Los Angeles police officer.

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It is pretty clear that the Los Angeles County Probation Department doesn't care about the families of kids it incarcerates -- which means that the department doesn't care about the kids. A department spokesman states: "I think we're very accommodating, frankly, as best as we can be and maintain our safety and security." The man doesn't have a clue about what accommodation means, leaving hundreds of family members sitting out exposed to the elements for hours waiting to visit their children.

How many plastic lawn chairs and canvas awnings (for rain and shade) could you buy at Home Depot for $62,000, the price of one Vapor Tracer drug detector? I'll wager they have several of those toys.

However, the real problem is with the juvenile justice system itself. It's a monstrosity defined by a "lock 'em up" mentality instead of rehabilitation. The spokesman claims that the juvenile population has toughened over the years. Well, I suspect that the department has been a big part of the toughening-up process.

Dale Jennings

Boulevard, Calif.

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