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In the recent article concerning the treatment of juvenile offenders, a judge refers to a 15-year-old as a "serial shoplifter." I take from that reference that this case was not the first time she had been charged with the same crime ("Juveniles in Maryland's justice system are routinely strip-searched and shackled," March 13).

Clearly, the other time(s) she was charged did not result in meaningful punishment. This time she was ordered to spend a weekend in juvenile detention. Part of the procedure for this sentence involves handcuffs, shackles and a strip search.

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The complaint is that this is treating juveniles as criminals. I'm sorry, but she is a criminal. The mere scolding she apparently got in the previous case(s) obviously didn't make any impression on her. This time maybe the punishment will get her attention.

Harsh, maybe. But if it gets the kid's attention and she realizes that there are consequences for her actions, maybe it will be the last time she'll see a judge from the defendant's table.

Clay Seeley, Owings Mills

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