Perspectives on the California Youth Authority

I feel the article is misinforming to readers. I am an inmate of the California Department of Corrections house in the California Youth Authority at DeWitt Nelson Training Center in Stockton, Calif. I have been here for over two years.At DeWitt Nelson, there are approximately 525-plus wards/inmates. The setting is like that of an open college campus. There are only eight rooms that would be considered solitary confinement cells. The rest of the institution consists of open dorms. There are eight living units which house 60 to 70 wards each. Each living unit has a phone, refrigerator, microwave, TVs, weights, washer, dryer, etc. Staff members do not dress in paramilitary style, wearing military fatigues, heavy boots, and puncture-proof vests. They either wear a normal, security-style uniform or civilian clothes. The only protection they carry is a can of mace and a beeper. And, no, we do not have watch towers. Rehabilitation programs offered at DeWitt include high schools classes, job training, drug rehabilitation, anger/stress counseling, and work furlough. Yes, DeWitt is surrounded by a wire fence. We do have minor fights. On rare occasion wards and staff members harass each other. When it happens, the person is moved from the institution. Melvyn L. Rossi, Stockton, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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