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.