Every Sunday on my way back and forth from church, I see the imposing addition to the Loudon County Justice Center. Every Sunday I say I am going to write this letter to the editor, and I put it off. Not today.

The expansion makes me sad. Our failure as a community led to the need. I trust our county leaders because I know from experience they have a tough job. While I may disagree on many issues, I know many of our leaders personally. I know each one is making the best decisions they feel in their heart for Loudon County.

You see, every dollar spent on incarceration is a dollar not spent on public education, community parks or a pothole.

The justice center expansion represents a failure of us all, especially myself. We failed to recognize and act on warning signs we saw in fellow citizens and children many years before their first jail sentence.

I hope you take the time to look at that behemoth and then hug your kids a little longer, teach them community standards and praise them more when they do good. If we all work, maybe we can have that facility stay less full.

David Twiggs

Lenoir City