As a member of a court-appointed panel examining the District's Youth Services Administration, I believe the editorial titled "Security Scandal at Oak Hill" {Aug. 12} does a tremendous disservice to the District, the youth at Oak Hill and the community surrounding that complex.

First, it is incorrect to suggest that 30 percent of the youth at Oak Hill on any one day were missing. Dr. Marty Beyer, a fellow panelist, stated in an Aug. 10 letter to The Post's ombudsman that "the 60 missing youth {cited in the editorial and earlier articles} had been detained or committed over the course of the past two years and were still listed as 'assigned and AWOL' because the police (upon apprehending some of the youth) had not returned them to Oak Hill" (emphasis added). In fact, some are known to be at D.C. Jail. How information is managed at Oak Hill and within the city's juvenile justice system is a far more immediate problem than security at the institution.

Second, the implication that most of the youth "escaping" from Oak Hill do so by breaching the institution's "on grounds" security system is simply not true. As Dr. Beyer further made clear in her letter, the majority of AWOL youth from Oak Hill fail to return from home visits. She noted that only a very small percentage of AWOL youth get through the "fence" at Oak Hill, and that number has not increased much over time. Thus, the more critical issues in stemming Oak Hill "escapes" are those concerning the institution's "home visit" policies rather than those related to its "on grounds" security.

The most damaging misconception emanating from The Post's recent articles and editorial is that the majority of the institution's residents are violent and dangerous youth. Recent studies of detained and committed youth at Oak Hill reveal that more youth are sent to Oak Hill for possessing or distributing (or intending to distribute) drugs than for any other offense. According to those studies, 12 percent of the committed youth at Oak Hill in 1986 were there for serious felonies (e.g., murder, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault), whereas 28 percent were there for minor offenses (e.g., larceny, shoplifting, breaking and entering and theft).

If the true mission of Oak Hill, as a juvenile corrections facility, is to turn youth away from criminal life styles and careers, then the real problems of Oak Hill will not be solved through purchasing sophisticated security systems, hiring additional security personnel or increasing the severity of punishment levied against youth attempting to "escape" the institution. Its real problems will begin to be addressed when an environment is created within that institution which does not in any way reinforce or quicken the further dehumanization of youth entering its gates.

ROBERT E. BROWN Member, Jerry M. Panel Washington