What real justice looks like


From: Sarah Ventura


If we truly want freedom, liberty, and justice for all, then we have to get real about which actions will actually help us achieve that.

If you want to keep our juveniles local and not cut them off from family, school or any supports they have in our community, but “keeping them local” means keeping them in a local jail, then you’re either being ignorant or dishonest. 

Which of our kids will spend the most time in our new juvenile detention centers? Will it be our middle-class or upper-class kids? Our kids whose biggest childhood trauma is the death of their beloved pet?
If you’re “committed to expanding local community resources whenever you can, but find it an ongoing challenge to compete for resources,” as our county commissioners claim, yet you support raising our taxes to fund this new jail, then you’re either being ignorant or dishonest. 

If resources are limited, then it is fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible to increase our property taxes or increase our sales taxes to build a building that is inherently harsh, that is designed to separate people, that is staffed with people who have the legal right to commit violence and take away people’s rights, and that contributes to mass incarceration. 

Building a new jail complies with the law. However, if a law is unjust, we have an obligation to disobey that law and create a more just law. The laws that have created mass incarceration over the last four decades are profoundly unjust as detailed in Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow,” or Carl Hart’s book, “Drug Use for Grown-Ups.”

I own property in Winona. Raise my property taxes by 10 percent over the next 25 years and put that money where it will be useful. Fund the elimination of poverty. Fund education. Fund infrastructure. Fund arts programs. Fund entrepreneurship. Fund childcare. Fund healthcare. Fund sports. Fund green energy. Fund jobs. 

I want to see us invest big money into real solutions that address root problems to keep people out of jail. 

Anything else is just cheap talk.


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