I love to vote for increased funding of schools. Shivers, however, are running up and down my back as I turn in my mail-in ballot with a vote FOR increasing jail funding. The jail has been overcrowded for a long time, right? The technology needs updating, right? The function of the building keeps society safe, right? Sure. No doubt about it.

I’m reluctant to vote for it because we’ve all heard or know a person that ended up there for a lousy reason. It’s because of the homeless who end up there after getting tossed from cardboard dumpsters into recycling dump trucks. I resent the idea that building stronger, bigger cages promotes a safer society. We need to spend money on homeless shelters and mental health clinics; we need to drop cases of cash into our schools; we need to get a handle on what crimes require cages and for how long.

If we really want (a lasting) justice, we need deeper thoughts about who ends up in our jails, how long they should be spending there, what circumstances led them there, and most importantly, how our mill levies can be invested to avoid dividing justice from liberty and hope.

Matthieu Oppedahl