There's been a lot of talk recently about Seattle's need for a municipal jail. But not everything has been said on the subject that could be said. For example, no one has suggested that the new jail could be designed with futuristic sweeping curved lines, stand 600 feet up, be painted orange, and revolve, and so be a lovely tourist attraction and Seattle icon. Even though a new jail would create many new jobs and require new housing and supporting retail, no one has said there should be a street car going there. No one has come up with a good slogan, like "Invest In Your Future -- Invest In Prisons."
I'm going to say those things and more. I'm going to tell you what no one else at Real Change wants you to hear: We need this new jail!
Real Change doesn't want you to know that jailing people is Seattle's last hope to have a surviving economy and clean empty streets. Real Change doesn't want you to know that scapegoating the poor for the problems of the middle class pays.
Now, right away, I'm sure that some of you liberal losers are thinking, "Wouldn't it be cheaper to build more traditional shelters, rather than spend all that money on constructing and maintaining a jail complex?" On the surface, that sounds sensible. The city is paying, right now, just about $10 per person per day for shelter and transitional housing, while just the maintenance cost of a new jail is expected to be more than $110 per person per day. But when you scratch deeper it sounds like mairzy doats and dozy doats. Scratch deeper than that, and it takes your arm off.
What did I just tell you in the first paragraph? This is Seattle's chance to create a whole new thriving industry! We've been Jet City. We've been Amazon Central. We've been Latteville. Now we can be Jail Town, USA!
There are only two things we have to do to guarantee our preeminence as the world's greatest jailers, and we are well our way to accomplishing both of them.
First, we need lots more misdemeanants. This is being arranged. Our mayor is finding new ways to enforce bad laws. Using methods that were pioneered in the Deep South during Reconstruction, Mayor Nickels has been finding innovative ways to make the inescapable conditions of homelessness illegal. Meanwhile, our president and Congress have done us the favor of ensuring that we will have an ever-increasing number of homeless people to convict. It has been estimated that by the end of 2012 every formerly housed single man, woman, and child in Seattle who does not have a high-level government job will have been foreclosed upon, or be a barista.
We need to make more drugs and herbs illegal. I recommend aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen; that will make it more illegal than ever to hurt. We need to expand the no-smoking ordinance to prohibit smoking anywhere within 25 feet of a hard surface, and we need to enforce it with jail time, and add a three-strikes provision.
Second, we need funding for it. We need funding to build it, funding to keep it going, and extra funding to line the pockets of the lobbyists for it, to make it worth their while.
We can do this too, Seattle! We just have to think big! We have to become the experts on jailing that the world comes to see and learn from! We have to make Seattle synonymous not with gray skies, but with gray bars.
Let's get Rem Koolhaas to design it. Let's build a world-class park around it, and charge for tours. Let's build a new college to train incarceration professionals and to teach politicians how to write laws that can't fail to be broken.
Century 21 has been used. Let's call it Century 22, and dazzle America and the rest of the World with our vision, our innovation, and the experience we will have achieved.