According to the prisonpolicy.org, the United States spends an incredible $182 billion each year on the incarceration business, of which this money includes public corrections agencies, judicial and legal institutions, policing, and so on and so forth. So too, it can be stated, that beyond the billions that are spent on America's fractured crime and justice system, there are the lives lost, destroyed, and impaired from all those arrested, jailed and incarcerated, along with the negative impact upon their family members and friends, as well as how the criminal justice system as enacted so often impairs the good humanity of those that are part and parcel of this criminal justice incarceration industry.
The biggest reason why there are so many people that are arrested and incarcerated in America, day after day after day, has everything to do with the gross inequality that is America. That is say, that when societies are divided into the very small elite of "haves" while also have a meaningful and disturbingly high amount of an underclass labeled as the "have not's" this thus creates the ideal conditions for crime to exist and persist because those that have nothing, and have no future to ever become something, are not going to be, more cases than not, good and productive citizens of the state.
The thing is, as virtually every school child knows, is that fairness and equality actually matters, so that school games that are played in which, the winner has already been predetermined or the rules are structured in such a way, that only the same chosen few will win, are seen for what they are, unfair and inimical to the very principles of what America is supposed to be, yet this is America in the real world, writ large.
In point of fact, the reason so much money and so many resources are spent in the criminal justice field in America, is that rather than creating the conditions in which each child in America, has the fair opportunity to be housed in a safe neighborhood, and to be schooled at an institution of learning that actually engages and teaches these children; they are instead, often living in impoverished conclaves, of unsafe housing, and schools that are unequal and inferior in every aspect, so that these children in these communities are essentially marked for an inferior life of compromising conditions, from their inception into this world.
America is the land of the richest of the rich, and of which those that have nothing, clearly see that this country divides itself into the very privileged who have everything and are found guilty of nothing; as opposed to those, that are left with virtually none of the tools that would allow them to have even the semblance or the opportunity of a decent life, let alone a superior life, on which they are thereby designated, targeted, and marked for persecution, exploitation, as well as to be lesser objects of either shame or pity, or both, with essentially no possibility or hope of successful escape.
Those that have nothing are not often going to be good citizens, because they know that the richest country the world has ever seen, has provided them with a very raw deal, and rather than this country ameliorating such by spending the money, industry, and time in creating the infrastructure to actually make this a country of fair opportunity for all, it would rather spend that money, instead, on an endless cycle of crime and punishment, failing to acknowledge that the only ethical way out is to provide the appropriate resources so that each of its citizens will be treated with common decency and love, rather than with shaming and total disrespect.