The Post's steady drumbeat for more jails and prisons in the District {"Relief for the D.C. Jail,'' editorial, Nov. 13} is misinformed and destructive. With the District's incarceration rate the highest in the nation -- now at 2,400 per 100,000 -- and with no appreciable effect on lowering crime or violence in the city, one might hope to hear something different from otherwise thoughtful editorial writers.

The District provides a living laboratory experiment as to the futility of jailing as the cornerstone of anti-crime policy. There is every indication that locking up young black males in the obscene numbers we now are is itself a major contributor to increased violence in the community as thousands of prison alumni pour into the streets yearly, bringing with them all the sequelae of prison experience, a deeper sense of alienation and a greater potential for violence. Jailing has, in fact, become a bizarre rite of passage for as many as a third to a half of young black men in the District.

The question of alternatives jumps out at the reader in The Post's own words, ''At times, the D.C. Jail has been so crowded that prisoners returning from work release details have had to wait outside the facility for hours before they could get back in.'' If, in fact, some inmates are so benign as to be able to be out of jail all day at work, and so compliant as to stand outside the jail for hours waiting for a space to open, why all the folderol about the need for more maximum security cells?

Would that there were more city officials who don't, as The Post so indelicately puts it, say ''thank you'' to those who would introduce more jails to the District. Best wishes in their efforts to, ''foul up matters by lodging objections." JEROME G. MILLER President National Center on Institutions and Alternatives Washington