I recently retired from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office with 28 years of service.

Fourteen years of that was either working at juvenile court or in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, which I think makes me qualified to comment on Senate Bill 324 to keep 17-year-olds out of adult jails and place them in a juvenile justice system.

If you think a 17-year-old is still a juvenile, I challenge you to spend one day at juvenile court watching children from ages 12 to 16 answering to crimes of battery, robbery, burglary and other acts of violence.

Go to the prison, get cursed at, spit on and punched and have feces and urine thrown on you.

To commit a crime and to go to jail is a rite of passage and considered an honor in some cases.

The lack of parenting, total disrespect for authority, rules, laws and a sense of entitlement even at that young are a large part of the problem.

I take umbrage to Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Neustrom’s recent column, “Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system makes us safer.”

Tony Tirante

retired EBR deputy

Baton Rouge