Bigger, better jails

My hometown newspaper announced how, in 2017, voters approved for funding for “Bigger, Better Jails.”  Ah.  Typical American approach.  If something isn’t working, just make it bigger and better.  While you’re at it, do it faster too. 

How about increasing the availability of mental health services?  How about addressing poverty, one of the root causes of crime?  What about addressing the epidemics of depression and anxiety?  Nah, it’s much easier to cage people. 

The irony of the words “better” and “jail” being next to each other doesn’t escape me.  This is something that most of us are aware of on a deep level.  But that awareness is only brought to mind by feeling stuck or unhappy with life. 

I’m going to suggest it’s because we’re not living free. Even if you’re living in a cushy home, mortgaged to the hilt – paid for by a job you hate. Sending our kids off to college to become deeply in debt for a college degree of questionable value. Or anytime we are enslaved to destructive habits, negative self talk, we are in jail.  We try to improve our imprisonment with numbing or distracting behavior. Or more stuff.  Bigger, better jails. 

It’s still a jail.