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Brutal Programs Do More Harm Than Good

Reading the description of American juvenile justice facilities in the article ``Life in Juvenile Jails: Still Nasty, Brutish, and Dangerous,'' Oct. 6, was very disturbing.

The ``get tough'' policies have failed dismally and yet in recent weeks politicians have continued to campaign for the increased use of brutish programs. History has proven that small, intensive programs with an emphasis on education and reform significantly reduce recidivism. How then can America afford to keep electing those who cling to head-shaving boot camps and merciless juvenile jails? And beyond that, how can we continue to feign sorrow over increased juvenile violence and high recidivism rates for juvenile offenders? Juveniles incarcerated under these harsh circumstances will most certainly emerge just as ``nasty, brutish, and dangerous'' as the facility that housed them. Mary I. McFetridge North Pole, Alaska

Learning at home

My wife and I have home-schooled for three years now and with great success (``The Family Room is the Classroom,'' Oct. 11). One needs to understand that ``Home School'' does not mean ``School at Home.'' It means learning to think for yourself instead of being told ``what'' to think. What I have accomplished by home schooling is to reinstate primitive education and its lost element of thinking, which is the only true learning. The freedom and safety to act and to think within the security of the home can be matched nowhere else. Boris K. Eubanks Fairfield, Calif.

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