Letter Best: Is bigger better?

March 16, 2014 

I'm thinking in reference to the newly built county jail in Pasco. This structure was built in the hopes of making a safer community. The citizens in good faith did what they thought was the right thing to do, but as I walked through these austere, tiny, locked cubicles, an unsettling thought occurred to me, "Is bigger really better?" If a big jail is the end result of a young person's childhood did we as a community really make things better? Wouldn't it have been wiser to have invested resources into a young person's life instead so that the end result could have been attendance at a tech school, the community college, a job?

The local Head Start program has cut its numbers because of lack of funds, even though these precious formative years are a huge predictor of a student's success in school, and a student's success in school is a later predictor of success in life. If students are not successful in school and become disruptive the schools have the right to expel them. From there, many of these kids just drop out.

Knowing all this makes me think that maybe a bigger jail in a community might just represent how many young people were let down. Something to think about before we start packing the jail.

ANNA BOPP, Richland

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