Polk County has joined the ranks of jurisdictions requiring another jail. Current criminal law could be summarized as assuming it is less expensive for taxpayers if they pay room and board for certain members of the counterculture, rather than the same plus the cost of public safety and legal services.

Is the highest and best use of a pothead the occupation of a concrete cell or something else? We can’t have forced labor camps, because that would be slavery. We can’t put prisoners in good jobs, because the law-abiding folks crowded out into unemployment would cry unfair. We can’t set up nurturing centers and the like, as that doesn’t seem to have done anything to solve the problem.

Maybe the answer has something to do with looking after our families and neighbors, and not dropping responsibility for the emotional development of the un-beautiful ones off on government.